Ontario Research Fund
Research Excellence
Round 6
September 2011
• The Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence
(ORF-RE) program promotes research excellence in
Ontario by supporting transformative, internationally
significant research
• The ORF-RE focuses on scientific excellence and
strong commercialization, and targets new leadingedge research initiatives
Comprehensive Research Investments Create Capacity
and a Strong Knowledge Base
MRI DIRECT DELIVERY builds capacity by providing
comprehensive research support in all research disciplines
PEOPLE: Research talent programs, a central part of the
knowledge creation ecosystem, support attraction/retention of
researchers throughout their career development
INFRASTRUCTURE: Ontario Research Fund –Research
Infrastructure (ORF-RI) supports modernization, development
and acquisition of new infrastructure (small/individual to
large/institutional) and is administered in concert with Canada
Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
OPERATIONS: Ontario Research Fund –Research Excellence
(ORF-RE) supports transformative, internationally significant
research projects
Fellowship Program (PDF)
·Early Researcher Awards (ERA)
ORF-RI: Small Infrastructure
Grants to Attract
and Retain Researchers
·ORF-RI: Large-Scale
Infrastructure Grants for
Transformative Research
Builds research teams (graduate students, PDFs)
led by established scientists (principal investigators and co-investigators)
INSTITUTE MODEL, funded by MRI to advance
translational and focused research in specific research areas
The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is an
internationally renowned hub for multi-disciplinary, multiinstitutional collaborations in translational cancer research
The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) facilitates multi-disciplinary,
multi-institutional research collaborations in neuroscience
Continue to raise Ontario’s
global reputation
in research community
is Ontario’s Flagship, Best-in-Class, Research Program
Supports scientific excellence that can be
developed into innovative goods and
services that will boost Ontario's economy
Provides talented researchers with the support
they need to undertake cutting-edge research
Designed to provide Ontario’s research
community with one window access for research
A key component of the province’s Innovation
Agenda, the ORF keeps Ontario researchers at
the leading-edge by supporting:
ORF Share of Funding by
Focus Areas
Other Disciplines
Digital media and ICT
Advanced Health
Bio-economy and clean
– the operational costs (direct and
indirect) of research through
– the capital costs of research through its
Since 2004, $1.17B committed towards 1,500
research projects in OIA focus areas,
leveraging $2.5B leveraged from partner
funding from institutions, federal government
and the private sector.
Research Operations With Commercialization Potential
Represents a unique opportunity for Ontario
researchers to conduct large scale,
transformational research with commercial
Provides research institutions $1M$4M for operating and indirect costs
Combines public research push with a
market pull by requiring partnerships
with industry. ORF-RE funding formula
requires partnership of:
ORF-RE one-third total project cost
Industry one-third of total project cost
Institutions one-third total project cost
To date, $556.6 million committed for 140
research projects through 5 ORF-RE
rounds, leveraging $1.1B in private sector
and institutional contributions. Results
include 5,450 highly qualified people and
625 industrial and institutional
Other Disciplines
Digital Media and ICT
Advanced Health
Bio-economy and Clean
Open to all disciplines, but focuses on
OIA focus areas
ORF-RE Share of Funding by Focus Areas
ORF-RE Application Requirements Are Designed to Promote
Commercialization of Scientific Excellence
Value of Science
Market Need
Business Community
Partnerships for
Know How
•Pathway to
Commercial, Health
Systems or other
•Strategic Value of
Research Results
Recommended in
Application Instructions
and Road Shows
ORF-RE Round 6
• ORF-RE Round 6 was posted on August 11, 2011
• Submission deadlines are:
– Notice of Intent (NoI): October 14, 2011
• Where applicable, NOIs that will be posted on our website
will enable institutions to identify opportunities for
collaboration prior to applying
– Applications: January 27, 2012
• As a general rule, the minimum support provided by the ORF-RE to
a project is $1 million and the maximum support provided is
$4 million
• Only in exceptional circumstances will requests over $4 million be
ORF-RE Round 6: Mandate
• ORF-RE Round 6 will focus on:
– Scientific excellence
– Strong commercialization
– Strategic value to Ontario (new knowledge, industrial
application or potential for economic or societal benefit)
– Attraction, retention and fostering of research talent
• Projects supported by the ORF-RE are expected to produce
results that may have an impact on Ontario’s economy and/or
society and raise its profile in the global scientific community
• The ORF-RE funding is open, on a competitive basis, to Ontario’s:
Publicly assisted universities
Colleges of applied arts and technology
Hospital research institutes
Not-for-profit research institutes affiliated with the above
Consortia of the above, with one institution as lead applicant, assuming
responsibility and accountability for the consortium
– Other Ontario not-for-profit research institutions at the discretion of the ORF
Advisory Board
Where an institution's eligibility to apply for ORF-RE funding may be in
question, such institutions must request and receive confirmation of
eligibility from the ORF Advisory Board
• RE will not support proposals seeking funding for:
Contract R&D where the private sector owns the IP
Clinical trials
Endowed research chairs
High performance computing platforms
Eligible Projects
While research proposals in all disciplines are eligible for ORF-RE
Round 6, the Ministry particularly encourages collaborative projects
across disciplines and institutions from the following focus areas:
Bio-economy and clean technologies
Advanced health technologies
Digital media and information & communications technologies
Sustainable communities (multidisciplinary research including but
not limited to the topic(s) of ageing, energy, health, environmental
sustainability, regional economic development and/or economic
prosperity for all).
Funding Formula
• ORF-RE supports total operating costs, including an indirect cost
component of up to 40% of a project’s direct costs
• Project funding is achieved through contributions of the Ministry,
institutions and private sector on a 1/3 basis:
– ORF: maximum of one-third of the total cost
– Private Sector/Institutions: one-third each
• The ORF Board may consider a “blended” funding formula in cases
of exceptional scientific merit where the institution and its private
sector partners, in combination, make up 2/3 of the required
• When constructing the budget please ensure the cash flow is close
to the spending profile i.e not divided equally over four years
Conditions Of Funding
• Institutions will be also required to have in
– Plan for youth outreach/mentorship activities
(Successful applicants may use up to 1% of the
ORF contribution to undertake annual youth
science and technology outreach activities)
– Commercialization plan outlining projects’
commercialization pathway
– Intellectual Property (IP) arrangement
ORF-RE Round 6: Selection Criteria
• In Round 6, the ORF-RE proposals will be judged on:
– Research quality
– Strategic value of the research
– Commercialization
– Development of research talent
– Project management
• To be considered for funding, all proposals must meet the
minimum threshold of excellence in the following criteria
– Quality of research
– Commercialization AND/OR Strategic Value to Ontario
Application Process
• Institutions submit Notices of Intent (NoI) by October 14, 2011
• NoIs are posted on the Ministry website to:
– Help institutions identify opportunities for collaboration
(where applicable)
– Allow Ministry staff to conduct early searches for external
• Institutions submit applications by January 27, 2012
• Applications must be received and/or postmarked no later than
January 27, 2012.
• Late and incomplete applications will not be accepted
Adjudication Process
• MRI staff review applications for completeness
• Applications are forwarded to external expert reviewers for
assessment of scientific merit and quality of research
• Applications and external reviews are forwarded to peer review
panels for a review against the full set of criteria
• Review panels make recommendations to the ORF Advisory
• ORF Advisory Board makes recommendations to the Minister
• MRI Minister makes final decisions
• Decisions are communicated to institutions by way of a letter to
the Vice-President, Research, Lead Institutional contact and the
Principal Investigator of the lead institution
Common Application Errors and Weaknesses
failure to meet scientific excellence criterion
failure to indicate how the proposal differs from the current state of the art
research in the field, within the Ontario context as well as nationally and
failure to indicate how the proposed research differs from research
previously funded by the Ontario government
proposed research lacks focus (numerous, unrelated or loosely related
failure to “make the case”, i.e. to explain the steps that led to the proposed
research concept
failure to demonstrate the strategic value of the research to Ontario
proposed research is not ground-breaking or innovative (e.g. small scale,
single experiment focused)
proposed research has weak commercialization potential and/or weak
research capacity building (HQP)
the budget appears inflated and/or expenses are not adequately justified
the management structure is poorly defined
the governance structure lacks autonomy
sustainability is questionable beyond government funding
• For more information on ORF-RE or other MRI
programs please visit our web-site at:
• Contacts:
– Lyn Doering (416) 326-1343
– Mima Vulovic (416) 212-7060
FAQ’s - Start-date for Eligible Expenditures
Q. What is the "Start-date" for eligible expenditures under the ORFRE program?
A. The "Start-date" for eligible expenditures of ORF-RE projects is
fixed as of the date of the Award Notification Letter. In
exceptional circumstances and depending on the merits of the
proposal and recommendation from the review panels, the ORF
Board may advise and direct Ministry staff to negotiate an earlier
“Start-date”. If an earlier “Start-date” is allowed it will not be any
earlier than the date of the call for proposals for that round of
competition. For ORF-RE Round 6, this date is August 11, 2011.
FAQ’s - Philanthropic and
Foundation Contributions
Q. Do philanthropic and foundation contributions qualify as private
sector contributions?
A. No, in Round 6 philanthropic and foundation contributions do not
qualify as private sector contributions. However, they may be
used as part of the institutional contribution. Please note that the
ORF Board may consider a “blended” funding formula in cases
of exceptional scientific merit where the institution and its private
sector partners, in combination, make up 2/3 of the required
FAQ’s - Matching of Federal
Program Funding
Will the ORF-RE match money received through federal government agencies
such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation Infrastructure Operating Fund
Yes, these grants will be matched by ORF-RE and considered as an
institutional contribution.
Would the industrial portion of an NSERC Collaborative Research and
Development (NSERC-CRD) grant be considered an eligible private sector
partner contribution for an ORF-RE project?
Yes, the industry portion of an NSERC CRD and an NSERC Industrial
Research Chair (NSERC- IRC) will be considered as an eligible private sector
contribution to an ORF-RE project. The NSERC portion will be considered as
an institutional contribution. This funding arrangement must be disclosed at
the time of application.
FAQ’s – Top Ups
Will the ORF allow awardees, who have received operating funding at a
reduced level in an ORF competition, to seek additional funding in order to
“top up” their existing grant in a later competition?
No. The Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence (ORF-RE) program
seeks to fund only new and transformative research projects, not incremental
To that effect applicants must provide a justification of the relevance of the
research proposed, both within the national/international context, and within
the context of previous Ontario government funding or ongoing Ontario
research initiatives.
In addition the research proposals should indicate the percentage of each
investigator’s time on a proposed project and identify whether a coinvestigator is also working on another project submitted to the ORF.
FAQ’s – Overhead Calculation
How do you calculate the maximum amount that can be taken from the ORF
contribution toward overhead (indirect costs)?
No more than 40% of the direct cost portion of the ORF contribution can be used
for indirect costs.
To determine the maximum amount that can be taken from the ORF contribution
toward overhead, please use the following formula:
Overhead amount = grant amount / 1.4 x 40%
For example, for a grant of $1,000,000, the maximum that can be taken for
overhead purposes is ($1,000,000 / 1.4) x 40% = $285,714.
Overall Project
Indirect costs =
40% of direct
ORF Funds
ORF Funds
Private sector
Private sector
FAQ’s – Peer Review Panels
Q. In the case of a proposal re-submission to a current or later round, do the
peer-review panels get to see the comments made on proposals from the
previous rounds and/or does the Ministry re-use the comments provided by
reviewers in the previous round?
A. No. Written comments provided by expert and Panel reviewers in one
round are not re-used from round to round. ORF-RE applications stand on
their own merits in each Round. Applicants who are re-submitting an
application to a later round may choose to refer to comments made by peerreview panels in a previous round, to demonstrate that concerns expressed
by the panel have been addressed in the new application. This may be
done in the application’s cover letter.
A Complex Program With Significant Industry
Industry is an integral
part of program
Applicants are
required to include
private sector
partners (PSP) in
their project
Program evaluation
criteria includes
‘strategic value to
Ontario’ and
experts are a part
of adjudication
MRI funding is
contingent on

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