Ontario Agri-food Research Initiative
Learn more about funding supports for the 2023-2028 Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative and find out how to apply.
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The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) is now accepting applications for the following streams:
- applied research (application deadline: January 11, 2024)
- pilot and demonstration (application deadline: January 11, 2024)
- commercialization (application deadline: January 11, 2024)
- Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub (continuous intake)
The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) provides funding for agri-food research and innovation projects in Ontario, which is a key pillar of the Grow Ontario Strategy. The OAFRI program strives to create an application process that adheres to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization. The goals of the initiative are to:
- fund demand-driven research and innovation activities in the agri-food sector
- support the sector’s resiliency and facilitate sustainable growth
- improve knowledge or technology to address business challenges
- expand market opportunities locally and globally
The initiative is jointly funded by the Governments of Canada and Ontario under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP), a 5-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
Funding streams and how to apply
OAFRI has 4 funding streams to support research and innovation projects aimed at providing solutions for Ontario’s agri-food sector (such as new knowledge, technologies, products or practices).
The 4 streams are categorized based on technology readiness levels (TRLs). Use the TRL as a reference to determine the appropriate OAFRI stream for your application. The 4 streams are:
- applied research
- pilot and demonstration
- knowledge translation and transfer (KTT)
For all streams, your application must align with at least one of the research priorities outlined in the specific stream intake guidelines.
Applied research projects use the process of scientific investigation (including lab work and experiments) to find solutions to existing problems. In the TRL, these projects are in the research and development stage. They focus on generating new knowledge and experimental proof-of-concept in a laboratory or simulated environment (early stage TRL up to level 5).
Intake is open. The deadline to submit is January 11, 2024.
Read the applied research guidelines for more details, including how to apply. Applications are submitted through the research management system (RMS). If you need help with the RMS, contact RMS@ontario.ca.
Pilot and demonstration
Pilot and demonstration projects are undertaken after lab work or theoretical applied research on proof-of-concept has been completed. The goal of the pilot and demonstration stream is to fund projects that focus on the development of a model or prototype of new technology (complete TRL 6). The pilot project is the step between applied research and full-scale commercial application. The latter allows researchers to assess if their findings are generalizable to the real world. These projects aim to complete TRL 6 (prototype development).
Intake is open. The deadline to submit is January 11, 2024.
Read the pilot and demonstration guidelines for more details and how to apply.
Commercialization stream funding is focused on scaling innovative technologies, products and services to the real world or commercial environment. It ensures technologies and best practices are suitable for commercial use and ready to be widely used.
This stream will fund activities which may include:
- market validation - conducting market research to determine the size and quality of market opportunity for a new and promising technology, product or service
- product development - creating prototypes, performing field trials, removing any barriers to a market launch or private sector adoption and optimizing a minimum viable product that best meets the needs of customers (will advance technologies through TRL 7-9)
In addition to the OAFRI funding streams, a new Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub will provide business supports that enable more solutions and technologies to be brought to market by providing mentoring and advisory services in agri-food business acceleration, growth planning and investment readiness. Supports will also be provided to businesses across the agri-food supply chain with respect to innovation adoption.
Intake is open. The deadline to submit is January 11, 2024. However, intake for the Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub is open on a continuous basis.
For more information and to submit an application, visit the Bioenterprise website.
Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT)
KTT stream is focused on activities designed to drive the transformation of research knowledge into use, including:
- brokering between researchers and research users
These projects mobilize new knowledge from research and development activities that are different from the regular extension activities (sharing knowledge that is known and used in practice before).
Intake is currently closed for the KTT stream. Please refer to upcoming intake dates for more information.
To be eligible for funding, the lead applicant must:
- be located in Ontario
- demonstrate their capacity to perform quality research and innovation activities
- be part of:
- a university or college
- a research organization, institute or foundation
- an industry organization or business
- a non-government organization
- a municipal or indigenous government or government agency
Who is not eligible
Ineligible applicants include:
- Federal and provincial government researchers. These researchers may collaborate on a research project with another eligible lead applicant.
- Researchers outside the province of Ontario. Researchers from other provinces may collaborate on a research project if the lead applicant for the project is in Ontario.
- Researchers with an outstanding progress report for another research project funded by OMAFRA. Outstanding reports must be submitted to be eligible to receive funding under this initiative.
Upcoming intake dates
|Pilot and demonstration|
Virtual information session
We will hold a virtual information session (webinar) on November 14, 2023, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Staff from OMAFRA and Bioenterprise will:
- provide an overview of the program
- explain the streams and priorities
- answer your questions about the application process and research priorities
Register to attend this session and get webinar details.
For more information about this initiative, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.