New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation 2024
Award amount and duration:
To reflect the expertise required to deliver on the ambitious and interdisciplinary nature of the project, proposals must be submitted by teams. Teams must include a nominated principal investigator (NPI) and may include co-principal investigators (co-PIs), co-applicants (co-apps) and/or collaborators. Individuals who are not academic researchers are eligible for all roles except NPI. At the notice of intent to apply (NOI) stage, a minimum of five confirmed members (NPI, co-PIs and co-apps, but not collaborators) is required. Additional members can be added at each stage of the competition process and throughout the term of the grant. All core members of the team are expected to be confirmed when the letter of intent to apply (LOI) is submitted.
The NPI and team members can be from any discipline(s). The NPI should be the most appropriate Canadian researcher to lead an interdisciplinary project of this scale, which requires integration and coordination beyond usual disciplinary perspectives. Team members may be from any sector to ensure that all required sectors and disciplines are represented in the team and to provide an integrated interdisciplinary—and, if applicable, intersectoral—approach to the project. The focus should be on assembling a coherent team of experts to execute the project rather than on establishing a network.
National, international and cross-sector (private, public or other) collaborations are encouraged, as needed, to ensure that the most appropriate individuals and/or organizations are involved and that team composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion. To support collaborations, funds from Transformation grants can be transferred to any organization within Canada or internationally except for-profit companies or federal, provincial or municipal governments.
Teams must include confirmed members who are Early Career Researchers (ECRs). ECRs for this competition are defined as individuals who have five years or less experience since their first academic appointment as of August 1, 2023, with the exception of career interruptions (e.g. illness, maternity, parental, research interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic) that occurred after their appointment. Part-time positions are also taken into consideration. For eligible leaves, the five-year window is extended by an amount equal to twice the time interruption taken. In the case of a first academic appointment having been a part-time appointment/position, the years of experience following it are counted at 50% until the time of an appointment to a full-time academic position. Additional details are available in the FAQs.
Participant in another application: To ensure that teams awarded a Transformation grant have sufficient time to dedicate to the project, award holders may serve as an NPI or co-PI on only one Transformation grant. An individual’s status as an applicant or grantee of other NFRF competitions (Exploration or International) does not affect their eligibility for the Transformation stream.
See the competition link above for more information on the eligibility of team members.
The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) will invest $144 million over six years to support large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge with the potential to realize real and lasting change. The challenge may be fundamental, leading to a scientific breakthrough, or applied, with a social, economic, environmental or health impact. Projects are expected to be world-leading, drawing on global research expertise, when relevant. Transformation stream grants will support projects that:
- tackle a well-defined problem or challenge;
- propose a novel world-leading approach that is different from the current state-of-the-art approaches to the issue;
- are interdisciplinary, bringing different perspectives to the defined problem; and
- have the potential to be transformative, defined as the potential to create a significant and real change or impact—a noticeable leap or tangible breakthrough rather than an incremental advance.
Optional funder webinar
- Activity: NFRF informational webinar on competition and NOI process for applicants
- webinar materials in the "Resources" section below
Date: August 31, 2023 (French) 8:00 – 10:00 am; (English) 11:00 am – 1:00 pm MST
Optional internal information session
- Activity: internal informational webinar on competition for applicants
- Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: September 28, 2023 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Optional Test Your Concept sessions
- Activity: Transformation Test Your Concept sessions for prospective applicants
- Register by emailing email@example.com by 9:00 am on Friday, September 22
Dates: TYC#1 Friday October 6, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
TYC#2 Wednesday October 11, 2023, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Mandatory Notice of Intent (NOI)
- Activity: Submit Notice of Intent to RSO via Convergence Portal; no RMS is required for NOI
- Note: to create the NOI in the portal, under the Funding Opportunities tab click the Create Application link next to the funding opportunity name “New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation”. RSO will review and submit to funder before the deadline of October 24, 2023.
Deadline: By 9am October 19, 2023
Letter of Intent (LOI)
- Activity: Register for optional SUPPORT review of LOI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Confirmed registrants must submit draft LOI for SUPPPORT review by 9am Nov. 27
Deadline: By 9am November 15, 2023
Date: October 31, 2023
- Activity: Finalize team member eligibility (co-PIs, co-apps); submit eligibility forms to RSO at email@example.com
Deadline: By 9am December 13, 2023
- Activity: Submit Letter of Intent to RSO via Convergence Portal for optional detailed review
- Note: feedback will be provided and LOIs can be returned in the portal for revisions, if necessary
Deadline: By 9am December 13, 2023
- Activity: Submit Letter of Intent to RSO via Convergence Portal; approvals within RMS
- RSO will review and submit to funder before the deadline of January 10, 2024
Deadline: By 9am January 2, 2024
Please note the LOI and full application stages will run through RMS, and approvals will be obtained electronically at these two stages. RMS approvals are not required for the NOI.
For projects involving Indigenous Research, support with the development of your grant application is available internally through the Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST). Applicants can reach out by email to IRST at IRST@ucalgary.ca in advance of the RSO internal deadline. For more information about IRST, please visit the IRST webpage.
Support for community partnerships and knowledge mobilization:
For assistance in identifying international partners, contact the International Research Team at UCIresearch@ucalgary.ca.
The Knowledge Engagement team in Research Services can consult on community partnerships, partnership principles, and knowledge mobilization plans. Applicants can reach out by email to Knowledge Engagement at Knowledge.Engagement@ucalgary.ca in advance of the RSO internal deadline. For more information about KE, please visit the KE webpage.
NFRF EDI webinar (September 17, 2021) recordings
•English language: https://youtu.be/VsERx7SIW5g
•French language: https://youtu.be/9KQdRh0Hfxs
RSO internal deadline
Pre-application program deadline
RSO detailed review deadline
RSO final internal review deadline
Program application deadline
NOTE: Consult your Faculty Associate Dean (Research) (ADR) regarding Faculty-specific deadlines and submission processes.
Principal Investigators: Complete a Research Management System (RMS) record, including a copy of your complete application, and submit this for approvals in RMS.
Approvals: The University of Calgary requires that all funding applications be approved prior to submission. Approval requires signatures via either RMS or the RFAA Trainee form, in the following order:
- Principal Investigator
- Department Head
- Faculty ADR/Dean
- Research Services (on behalf of the Vice-President Research)
Read the Meaning of Grant Signatures policy to understand what your approval means. Please see the agency guidelines for details about which signatures are required on your application, as it may differ from internal requirements.
Late submissions: Late submissions will only be accepted in cases of medical or family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances. If you submit your RMS record to Research Services after the internal deadline has passed, you must secure additional approvals. Please read: Late Applications Process.
Transformation grants are valued at between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000 per year (including indirect costs) for up to six years. The maximum budget for direct costs is therefore $3,200,000 per year.
NFRF held informational webinars on the Transformation competition and NOI process on August 31, 2023. Presentations and links to recordings of the webinars are available in the “Resources” section above.
Research Services will be offering an internal information session and Test Your Concept sessions for Transformation on the below dates:
Info session: September 28, 2023, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
TYC #1: October 6, 2023, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
TYC #2: October 11, 2023, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
The information session will offer an overview of the NFRF Transformation 2024 funding opportunity, and advice and tips for developing a proposal based on the experience of past applicants; Test Your Concept sessions offer applicants an opportunity to receive constructive feedback from an internal multidisciplinary panel. Register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Wednesday, September 27 for the information session, and by 9:00 am Thursday, September 28 for the TYC sessions.
For UCalgary researchers participating on applications elsewhere: If you have been asked by the submitting institutions to confirm we are aware of your involvement, please notify Research Services via email to email@example.com. At the full application stage, completion of the Pre-Award record in RMS (follow the instructions under Submission Process below) is required. Once all approvals are obtained in RMS, our Director will email the RSO of the lead institution to confirm.
As the LOI and full application will run through RMS, we encourage applicants to view the step sheets available at the RMS Training page.
For training or technical support, you can contact RMS at: firstname.lastname@example.org and 403.210.9309.
The following five criteria will be used to evaluate proposals submitted to the Transformation competition:
- Equity, diversity and inclusion, and Early Career Researchers (EDI)
- High Risk
- High Reward
NOIs are used for administrative purposes only, and will not be evaluated. Different criteria weightings are used at the LOI and full application stages. The elements considered under each criterion are outlined in the evaluation matrices.
Note: “high risk” in the context of Transformation refers to the novelty of the proposed approach to the challenge, with emphasis on world-leading, “first of its kind” projects. “High reward” in the context of this program refers to projects with potential for a significant breakthrough, proposing research that may challenge paradigms but is built on sound principles with a high likelihood that the significant impact will be realized. As such, Transformation proposals must address a well-defined problem or challenge, propose a novel world-leading approach that is different from the current state-of-the-art approaches to the issue, and have a high potential to be transformative. Applicants should carefully review their definitions and the Transformation evaluation matrices.
New Frontiers in Research Fund