University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF)

University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF)

The 2023/2024 Guidelines have been updated for the current competition.  

****If you are having issues submitting the ULRF using the Internal Grant Application Form via the Bridge, try selecting "no" when asked if you are a PI on an external grant.  We have had issues with this field in the current competition****





24 months from start of award

Application Deadline*

November 1, 2023, 4:00 p.m. MDT

Notice of Decision

February 2024

Start date

March 1, 2024

ORIS Contact

* If a deadline falls on a weekend or a public holiday observed in Alberta, the deadline will be 4:00pm the MDT the next business day

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Stream (SoTL): GUIDELINES FOR THE SoTL FORTHCOMING

For 2023/2024, the ULRF will have a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Stream (SoTL) administered by the Teaching Centre. Applicants cannot apply to both the main ULRF and SoTL streams in the same competition year. The three main objectives of this stream include:

  • To improve student learning by finding better, more engaging ways to teach.
  • To conduct scholarly examination of what take place inside the classroom, asking questions and collecting evidence on the effectiveness of different methods of teaching.
  • To make the results of this analysis readily available to other scholars, inviting their comment and review, and contributing to knowledge on student learning.


The University of Lethbridge Research Fund (ULRF) is an internal source of funds administered by the Office of Research & Innovation Services (ORIS) directed toward the support of research activities in any discipline. The objective of the ULRF is to help researchers secure external funding, by providing seed money for new projects and to launch a program of research. The ULRF is not intended to provide on-going support through repeated applications or to supplement an on-going program of research. Additionally, the ULRF now supports partnership development activities and costs associated with Indigenous partnerships.

Awards to a single applicant or team of applicants are limited to a maximum of $15,000.


All University of Lethbridge members, as defined in the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association Collective Agreement, who hold continuing appointments with research duties as part of their appointment may be eligible to apply. Other University of Lethbridge members may be eligible to apply, pending approval by the Dean in consultation with the Department Chair where Departments exist. Applicants may only be named on one ULRF application per competition. Applicants cannot hold more than one ULRF at a time. Applicants also cannot hold more than one award simultaneously from internal funding sources, such as the UL SSHRC Explore and Exchange, for the same project. Applicants are permitted, however, to hold a University of Lethbridge Travel Fund (ULTF) award concurrently with the ULRF.


  • August – September: Launch of current competition.
  • November 1, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.: Application deadline.
  • November – December: Applications are reviewed by members of the Multidisciplinary Review Committee.
  • January – February: Applications are ranked by the Multidisciplinary Review Committee and recommendations for funding are finalized. 
  • February: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • March 1: Start date of successful ULRF applications.

Use of Funds:

It is the responsibility of the applicant(s) to adequately justify the expenditures included in the application. Funds can be requested in line with the following criteria:

  • A grant may be directed toward costs to hire research assistants (students at any level, Postdoctoral Fellows, Associates, etc.) in accordance with UofL policy;
  • A grant may be used to pay for travel directly related to research, including travel by research assistants in the performance of their assigned duties;
  • No more than 10% of the total project budget may be used for professional development activities;
  • No more than 10% of the total budget may be directed to dissemination of research results, including conference attendance. Use of ULRF awards for conference costs will be restricted to expenses that are not eligible under the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund (e.g. costs associated with publication or poster production for presentations);
  • Other items necessary for research may be considered for funding at the discretion of the Multidisciplinary Review Committee;
  • Normally, the purchase of journals, books, computers, software, and major equipment will not be considered; and
  • Research projects requesting retroactive funding prior to the application deadline or requesting funding for teaching development will not be considered.

How to Apply:

General Guidelines:

Submissions for the current competition are due by 4:00 p.m. on November 1, 2023. Late submissions will not be accepted and incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible.

An application consists of a document attached to the Internal Grant Application Form found under the Research Services tab in the BRIDGE system. The attachment must be prepared in accordance with the instructions found here.   

NOTE: Do not complete the online form until your attachment is complete and ready to be uploaded, as you cannot save the online form for completion at a later date.

Complete applications require the following components:

  • Completion of the online application form available through the BRIDGE using the Internal Grant Application Form; and
  • The upload of the following elements as a single attachment:
    • Abstract and Key Words (max 1 page);
    • Research Proposal (max 5 pages);
    • References (max 2 pages); 
    • CV (max 5 pages);
    • Budget with justification (max 2 pages); and
    • Reviewer information (optional) (max 1 page).

Application Attachment Instructions:

Applicants must complete the online Internal Grant Application Form available through the BRIDGE and include the required attachment. For the attachment, use font size of 12 point, black type. Maximum of six lines per inch. No condensed/narrow fonts, type, or spacing. Insert a margin of 2 cm (3/4 inch) minimum around the page.

The application should be clear and concise and justify the use of all funding and provide all requested information.

  1. Abstract and Key Words (max 1 page):  Provide a succinct project description written so that a non-expert in the field of study can understand the proposed research, the scope and objectives of the project. Also outline the potential significance of the study to the University, discipline, researcher, students, and/or society at large. Key words: At the end of your Abstract, provide a list of up to 10 key words which describe your research project. These words can include: themes; areas of research or creative activity; objectives; methods/approaches; study populations/experimental systems; and outcomes, among others. The Key Words will assist the Multidisciplinary Review Committee in gauging their level of expertise in reviewing your proposal. 
  2. Research Proposal (max 5 pages): Organize the detailed narrative under the following headlines:
    • Background: Define the problem clearly and concisely, providing any background information essential to understanding the importance of the work. 
    • Theoretical Framework, Methodology and Proposed Outcomes: Outline the theoretical framework governing the work proposed, the methodologies to be undertaken and the proposed outcomes. For collaborative applications with multiple applicants, indicate the unique role that each applicant brings to ensuring the proposed outcomes. Describe how the anticipated outcomes will serve to contribute to each applicant’s program of research. Indicate if the proposed research falls in a new or existing research program.
    • Significance and Dissemination: Include statements of the potential significance, future use, relevance or application of the results. Explain how the proposed project is situated within the PI’s larger research plan, including plans to continue the research with external funding. Explain how the results will be disseminated.
  3. References (max 2 pages): Include references, where appropriate, to similar or related work. Indicate if the field is largely untouched.
  4. Publications and Prior Research (max 5 pages): Provide an Academic CV (any format) including only recent (last six years) and/or relevant publications, and prior research activity. An applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered an Emerging Scholar if not obvious from the CV documents and provide justification. 
  5. Budget and Justification (max 2 pages): Applicants must provide a breakdown of the expenses equalling the total amount requested. Applicants must provide information on other sources of funding for the project if the proposed costs exceed the maximum provided by this fund. Provide a concise justification for each budget item under the headlines below, where applicable. 
  6. Reviewer Information (optional) (max 1 page): If desired, applicants can include an additional page with the names of suggested (internal) reviewers, and any reviewers who should be excluded due to Conflict of Interest.

Eligible Expenses:

  • Research Assistants: Research assistant costs must include each employee’s title and type of work to be performed, the estimated number of hours/months to be worked, and the rate of pay per hour/month plus benefits.
  • Contract Personnel: Costs associated with hiring external experts (i.e. designers, editors, technicians, etc.) are eligible, but must include cost breakdown such as hourly rate and anticipated scope of contract.
  • Materials and Supplies: Requests for materials and supplies must clearly indicate their purpose in the proposed activities.
  • Equipment:  A descriptive statement of each item of equipment must be included in the justification of the budget.  Applicants are reminded that all equipment purchased with research grants remains the property of the UofL in accordance with university policy. Applications for computer equipment will need to provide a particularly strong justification, establishing the specific need of the item for the proposed research.
  • Travel: Travel costs must include the purpose of the travel for each destination, mode of travel, cost of meals and lodging, and the number of days of the travel.
  • No more than 10% of the project budget may be used for professional development activities.
  • No more than 10% of the budget may be directed to dissemination of research results, including conference attendance.  Use of ULRF awards for conference costs will be restricted to expenses that are not eligible under the University of Lethbridge Travel Fund (e.g. costs associated with publication or poster production for presentations).

Conditions of the Award:

  1. Use of Funds: Expenditures may be made only for those cost elements identified in the application or as limited in the Request for New Fund Form. Special conditions may include human participant research or animal welfare approval, expenditure limitations, etc. Minor transfers of funds from one budget category to another are permitted. Expenditures included in the application budget may be eligible if incurred between the application deadline and the Notice of Decision of the ULRF Competition if prior approval is granted by ORIS. Major transfers or the use of funds for a previously unspecified expense or a new budget item requires approval by ORIS. 
  2. Term: The term of an award is twenty-four (24) months or less, in accordance with the applicant's request. Requests for extensions should be submitted to ORIS thirty (30) days prior to the end date.
  3. Reports: A final report on the work funded by the ULRF must be submitted within six months of the termination date. Subsequent applications can be considered only after receipt of satisfactory final reports and/or progress reports for previous or existing grants.
  4. Equipment & Library Acquisitions: Equipment or library materials acquired with grant funds remain as property of the UofL in accordance with university policy.
  5. Research Assistants: Research assistants employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement with support staff.

Evaluation Process and Criteria:

The following priorities apply to all applicants:

  • Grants are awarded on the basis of merit. In most instances, ULRF applications will be reviewed by two Reviewers who are members of the Multidisciplinary Review Committee. Due to limits on funding availability, appeals will not be considered.
  • Proposals involving student participation are given priority. If student participation is not possible, it is strongly suggested that a brief justification be provided.

The ULRF awards will be allocated between Emerging and Established Scholars, according to tri-agency definitions. The number of each type of applicant to be funded will be considered annually based upon the number of applications, budget allocation to the competition, and the quality of submitted applications. 

Emerging Scholar: An emerging scholar is someone who has not yet had the opportunity to establish an extensive record of research achievement, but is in the process of building one. Applicants identifying themselves as an Emerging Scholar must demonstrate that they have not applied successfully as the Principal Investigator or Project Director for a research grant offered through Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

In addition, Emerging Scholars must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Have completed their highest degree no more than six years before the competition deadline (the Committee will consider only the date of completion of the first doctorate).
  2. Have held a tenured or tenure-track university appointment for less than six years.
  3. Have held a university appointment, but never a tenure-track position (in the case of institutions that offer tenure-track positions).
  4. Have had their careers significantly interrupted or delayed for health or family reasons within the past six years.

Established scholar: Someone who has established—or who, since the completion of his or her highest degree, has had the opportunity to establish—a record of research achievement.

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Assessment of the Application (pass/fail): This is an overall rating for the proposal package.
  2. Quality and Originality of Proposal (40%) including the clarity of purpose/objectives; potential significance of proposed research; suitability of research methods/strategies; relationship/importance to research program; and suitability of proposed timetable.
  3. Research/Scholarly/Creative Achievements of Applicant (40%) including significance of previous work and level of research activity, taking into account the scholar's stage of career.
  4. Justification of Proposed Budget (20%).  It is the responsibility of the applicant(s) to provide adequate information and justification for activities and expenditures included in the application package. 

Please refer to the ULRF Score Sheet for the criteria used to evaluate applications.

The applications will be funded based on the ranking and the budget allotment for that funding year. It is expected that the number of fundable applications will exceed the amount of available funds for each competition. 

Conflict of Interest Guidelines* for Reviewer Selection:

conflict of interest occurs when a reviewer’s duties and responsibilities with regard to the review process are in conflict with that reviewer’s private, professional, business, or public interests. There may be a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest when the review committee member, external reviewer or observer:

  • May receive professional/personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
  • Has a professional/personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
  • Has a direct/indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.

A conflict of interest may exist when review committee members, external reviewers or observers:

  • Are a relative or close friend or have a personal relationship with the applicant(s);
  • Are in a position to gain or lose financially/materially from the funding of the application;
  • Have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant(s);
  • Are closely professionally affiliated with the applicants, as a result of having in the last six years:
    • Been a supervisor or a trainee of the applicant(s);
    • Currently supervise the applicant(s) (ie. Department Chair or Dean);
    • Collaborated, published or shared funding with the applicants, or have plans to do so in the immediate future; and/or
    • Feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application.

ORIS reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists.

* Adapted from the Government of Canada website



Agency Name: 
University of Lethbridge
Contact Name: 
ORIS Grant Facilitator Team (
Grant Amount: 
Grant Location: 
Internal Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Natural Science
Social Science
Fine Arts
Grant Eligibility: