Strategic Opportunities Fund


Value Varies depending on the request
Duration Not to exceed 12 months
Key Dates
  Bridge Funding Infrastructure Research Dissemination Matching Funds
Deadline May 15 and September 15 First of each month
Results By June 1 and October 1 Within 2 weeks
Contact Penny Pickles (

PLEASE NOTE – Effective June 1, 2017, applicants to this award are required to complete a UNIWeb system CV. ORIS administers many internal funding competitions that have seen increasing application pressures.  To streamline the adjudication process, we are asking applicants to standardize the CVs attached to internal applications.  Affected competitions are: the University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF), University of Lethbridge SSHRC Awards (ULSA), the Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF), and the Community of Research Excellence Development Opportunities (CREDO).   For more information on completing this requirement, please contact Penny Pickles at 

The Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF) supports activities that develop, increase, or strengthen research excellence at the University of Lethbridge.  Due to the large number of applications and limited funds, the fund cannot support all requests. Awards are not automatic or guaranteed.


Full-time University of Lethbridge faculty are eligible to apply.  All members, as defined in the U of L Faculty Association Handbook, who have research duties as part of their appointment may be eligible. Instructors who have research duties as part of their appointment may be considered on a case by case basis.  Applicants may submit only one Strategic Research Fund request per competition and are limited to 1 award every three years, excluding any requests for matching funds.

Normally, applicants cannot hold more than one award from internal funding sources such as CREDO, Internal SSHRC, Strategic Opportunities Fund, or ULRF at the same time.  Applicants are allowed to hold a University of Lethbridge Travel Fund award concurrently with internal research funding. In instances where the applicant holds internal funds, but is also requesting funds from the Strategic Opportunities Fund, the applicant must outline how the request differs from projects already funded from internal sources.


The Strategic Opportunities Fund is a flexible program designed to provide support for a wide range of activities, provided the activities align with the goals outlined in the Strategic Research Plan.  Requests for which other internal funds are available will not be considered. For example, requests for research support should be directed to the University of Lethbridge Research Fund. The exception to this is: bridge funding requests where external reviews have recommended additional research to strengthen an application (reviews should be submitted with the application) or requests to access NSERC or SSHRC residual funds. 

Requests should be considered one-time contributions and are non-renewable.

Activities eligible for funding under the Strategic Research Fund are as follows:

  1. Bridge funding.  To support researchers that wish to improve and resubmit applications that were unsuccessful in a preceding external funding competition.   
    • Bridge funding will not be provided for an expired internal award.
    • Funding may also be provided in instances where an external research grant has expired but where the renewal of funding or a new award is pending. 
    • Bridge funding is intended primarily for research personnel whose salaries were paid by the lapsed grant.   
  2. Infrastructure.  To optimize research infrastructure by upgrading existing equipment and systems or adding complementary small components or pieces.
    • Operational costs and CFI funded equipment eligible for IOF funding are ineligible expenses.
  3. Research Dissemination. To support researchers disseminate their research findings. 
    • Eligible expenses include the costs related to the following: page charges for articles published, including costs associated with ensuring open access to the findings (e.g., costs of publishing in an open access journal or making a journal article open access); costs of preparing a research manuscript for publication; or translation costs associated with dissemination of findings.
    • Note: if you are seeking funds to offset the travel costs of attending a professional meeting or conference, please submit an application to the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund.
  4. Matching funds for external grants. Applications must be led by U of L researchers.  If the project lead is not at the U of L, requests may be considered only if the application guidelines have a required or expected institutional matching component.  The proposed research program must align with the U of L's research priorities.
    • Matching funds will not be provided for an internal award.
    • If you are seeking matching funds for a conference grant, please submit a request using the Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization Fund form (available here).
  5. NSERC or SSHRC Residual Fund requests. In instances where an NSERC or SSHRC research grant has an unspent balanced at the end of the term of the award, NSERC and SSHRC policy allows unspent funds to be retained by the university.  These unspent funds are transferred to the University's General Research Fund, which is administered by the Vice-President (Research).  Financial Services will request that the appropriate Council permit all unspent funds to be transferred to the University's General Research Fund.  Approval from the Council may take up to six months and, in the interim, all accounts and funds will remain frozen.  If you are seeking access to the residual funds in your NSERC or SSHRC research grant, please note the following:
    • the request to access residual funds must be submitted within 6 months of the end date of the research grant. For example, for research grants ending on March 31, the request should be submitted in the following September SOF competition. 
    • Approval is not automatic. Instead, you must demonstrate that unforeseen circumstances existed that prevented the project from being completed within the approved time frame and justify the need for all or some of the funds remaining.

Note: If you are requesting funds to support a workshop, conference, or other on-campus events (that is not linked to a matching funds request) please submit an application to the Outreach and Knowledge Mobilization Fund.


It is the responsibility of the applicant to adequately justify the expenditures included in the application.  All expenses must be essential for the activities being proposed and adhere to the "Use of Grant Funds" guidelines outlined by the Tri-Council (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR).  Eligible expenses may include:

  • Personnel costs, in accordance with university policy;
  • Travel expenses directly related to research, including travel by research assistants in the performance of their assigned duties;
  • Specialized research supplies and equipment. (normally, the purchase of journals, books, computers, and software will not be considered);
  • Other items necessary for research may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Vice- President (Research).

Generally, funds will not be granted for non-specialized computer hardware or software, office supplies and equipment, training or completing degree requirements, professional development activities, course releases, or expenses related to disseminating research results, including conference attendance.  Research projects requesting retroactive funding prior to the application deadline or requesting funding for teaching development will not be considered.

Although no maximum size of grant is identified, applicants are advised to keep their budgets reasonable.  


For applicants seeking Bridge Funding, or support Infrastructure or Research Dissemination costs, there are two competitions per year, with intake deadlines of May 15 and September 15.

For applicants requesting matching funds for external grants, applications will be accepted year round. Applications must be received by the first of the month (or the next working day if the 1st falls on a weekend or holiday).

Interested applicants must complete the Strategic Opportunities Fund application form (link to form is available at the bottom of the page).  Requests for funding must be submitted to the Office of the Vice-President (Research) using by May 15 or September 15 to be considered. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the next working day.  Late or incomplete forms will not be considered. Funding will not be provided retroactively.


  • Term. Grants term will be for one year from the date the award is approved. Any funds remaining at the end of the term of the grant will be returned to the source. Extensions will not be granted.
  • Use of Funds. Grant funds may be used only for the project and purposes described in the application, subject to any special conditions given in the Request for New Fund form. Special conditions may include human subject research or animal welfare approval. Funds will be managed in accordance with the standard terms/conditions for Tri-Council funding. Minor transfer of funds from one budget category within the grant fund  to another may be permitted. Major transfers (greater than 10% of the total grant award) or the use of funds for a previously unspecified expenditure requires prior approval by the Office of Vice-President (Research).
  • Reports. A final report on the activity funded by the Strategic Research Fund must be submitted within six months of the termination date. Subsequent applications will be considered only after receipt of a final report for previous or existing grants.
  • Equipment and Library Acquisitions. Equipment or library materials acquired with grant funds remain as property of the University of Lethbridge in accordance with university policy.
  • Personnel. Personnel employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement with support staff.


The adjudication committee is the Vice-President (Research) and Associate Vice-President (Research) with input from the Office of Research and Innovation Services.  

The adjudication committee will review all requests and may decide to provide full, partial or no funding, based on considerations to the following questions:

  • Are there other sources of funding available to support the request?
  • Has the applicant secured other sources of funding or attempted to secure additional funds?
  • What are the potential benefits to the advancement of the U of L's Strategic Research Plan?
  • Has the applicant received funding from the Strategic Research Fund previously?
  • What is the overall merit of the request?

Final funding decisions rest with the Vice-President (Research).  Due to limits on funding availability, appeals will not be considered.


Agency Name: 
University of Lethbridge
Contact Name: 
Penny Pickles
Grant Amount: 
Grant Location: 
Internal Deadline: 
Monday, September 17, 2018
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Grant Eligibility: