CFI Innovation Fund


While the official CFI call for proposals has not been issued, it is expected to closely resemble the call for IF2023.  This page will be updated as information is available.


Program Overview

Through the Innovation Fund (IF), CFI invests in infrastructure, across the full spectrum of research, from the most fundamental to applied through to technology development. The Innovation Fund supports a broad range of research programs including those in natural, social and health sciences, engineering, humanities and the arts, as well as interdisciplinary research.

The CFI-IF program supports transformative infrastructure projects that advanced and shape the Canadian research landscape.  Past competitions have funded projects which:

  • Enable internationally competitive research or technology development.
  • Enhance and optimize the capacity of institutions and research communities to conduct the proposed research or technology development program(s).
  • Lead to social, health, environmental and/or economic benefits for Canadians.

The U of L has not been advised of its institutional envelope, but it is expected to be of similar magnitude to that in IF2023 ($3M).  The envelope is the maximum of the total value of funding that the U of L may request from CFI.  The CFI proportion of the project is normally 40% of the total project cost: it can be less than 40%, but not more. This roughly equates to submitting proposals of $7.5M in total combined project costs.

Note, while the U of L is allocated an institutional envelope, funding is not guaranteed.  The envelope is based on the average share of research funding the institution receives from the three federal granting agencies (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC).  The sum of all institutional envelopes is greater than the competition budget.  The national success rate for past competitions has hovered around 30-35%.

The U of L will allocate its CFI allocation competitively based on the following:

CFI assessment criteria:

  • the research or technology development;
  • the composition and expertise of the team;
  • the necessary and appropriateness of the infrastructure to enhance existing capacity; and
  • the well-defined plan to transfer the results of the research or technology development that will lead to benefits for Canadians.

Institutional considerations:

  • alignment with institutional priority areas;
  • degree to which the proposal builds on previous investments in the area; and
  • potential partnerships (across all sectors, where possible).

Expression of Interest

mandatory Expression of Interest (EOI) was due in February 2023. The EOI collected basic information on the applicant, the research project, and the proposed infrastructure and budget.  The EOIs were mandatory but were not adjudicated and not binding.  They were used for planning purposes.

Pitch your Proposal

To provide potential applicants with an opportunity to obtain constructive feedback on their projects prior to the submission of their letter of intent, ORIS will host "Pitch your Proposal" events in January 2024.  Applicants will have the opportunity to provide a brief overview of their proposal to senior leadership and receive feedback.  The pitch event is mandatory but will not impact the competitive internal review process.

Letters of Intent

Internal proposals are due March 1, 2024.  Proposals will be reviewed and ranked with decisions anticipated by the end of April 2024.  


U of L researchers who are participating in an Innovation Fund proposal being led by another institution where a contribution from the U of L's CFI envelope is being requested by the lead institution must submit a Notice of Intent by the internal deadline.  The requests will be reviewed at the same time as projects led by uLethbridge researchers.  Allocations are not guaranteed.

If you don't require access to the University's CFI allocation, we'd still like to know if you are collaborator on an Innovation Fund proposal. Please send an email to Penny Pickles ( to advise of the application.

Competition Timeline

Summer 2023

ORIS issued a call for Expressions of Interest in February 2023.  The EOIs were not adjudicated. Instead, they were used to gauge faculty interest in the Innovation Fund and identify areas of overlap between possible applications.

November 2023 to March 2024

The U of L will be using an excellence-based approach to select projects invited to prepare a full application. All Expressions of Interest are invited to prepare a Letter of Intent for adjudication.

Applicants will have an opportunity to “pitch” their proposal to senior leadership to gain constructive feedback on their proposals prior to submitting their Letter of Intent. Participation in the pitch presentation is mandatory.  The pitch competition will not impact the internal review process.

A recommended structure for the presentation is as follows:

  • Explain the problem: Don’t focus on your specific research question but rather set it in the broader context. What problem is my research contributing to solve?
  • Offer a solution: Discuss what makes your approach special or unique. How will your research contribute to the solution?
  • Indicate the benefits: Who or what will benefit from the results? How can the results be used to realize a larger impact in the future?

Key dates:

  • Pitch registration deadline: January 5, 2024
  • Pitch presentations:  week of January 22 to February 1, 2024

March to April 2024

The LOIs will be used to identify the projects that will be developed to submit a proposal to the IF competition. Projects should be aligned with the U of L’s research strengths; build on past investments in people, research, and infrastructure; and demonstrate world-leading research that will increase the U of L’s competitive advantage in the global research landscape.

Key dates:

  • March 1: LOI deadline  EXTENDED TO MARCH 14.
  • March-April: LOI adjudication
  • By end April: LOI decisions

Considerable time is allocated to developing the strongest submission(s) possible.  A kick-off meeting will be held between the units that will be involved in managing the CFI project at the proposal development stage. These meetings will often include the project leader(s), ORIS, Financial Services, Materials Management, IT, and Campus Development (if a construction or renovation component is present). 

Innovation Fund proposals will be reviewed by the GFC Research Planning Committee and Provost's Committee in September 2024.  The CFI allocation may be redistributed and/or projects eliminated in cases where an application is deemed by the Committee to be incomplete or unsatisfactory.

Key dates:

  • May 2024: Kick-off meetings for LOIs invited to prepare a full application.
  • July 2024: Draft 1 for ORIS review (Assessment Criteria and infrastructure budget)
  • September 2024: Draft 2 for GFC RCP review (assessment criteria, final budget (with quotes), and CAMS modules)
  • September 2024: GFC RCP review
  • September 2024: Draft NOI review
  • October 2024: NOI submission to CFI
  • November 2024: Draft 3 for ORIS review
  • February 2025: Final draft for ORIS review
*exact dates to be refined once CFI issues the call for proposals.

February to July 2025

We anticipate proposals will be due in February 2025 with results announced in fall 2025.

Internal Resources

External Resources