Ontario Research Fund: Small Infrastructure
The Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure helps attract, retain and develop leading researchers at publicly funded universities and research hospitals through the purchase and renewal of leading-edge technology and equipment.
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Applications for Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure funds should be submitted to the Ontario Research Fund on the second Friday of March, June and November, where applications are tied to Canada Foundation for Innovation decisions that immediately follow that deadline. Please consult with your institution’s Research Office regarding internal existing deadlines.
The Small Infrastructure Fund supports the capital costs of acquiring, developing, modernizing and leasing research infrastructure as defined by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Eligible costs for funding include:
- Scientific collections
- Computer software
- Purchase of extended warranties and/or service contracts
- Information databases
- Communications links
- Office space and installations essential for using, housing and servicing the infrastructure effectively
- Reasonable travel to a manufacturer, dealer or supplier to select research infrastructure
- Shipping or transporting the research infrastructure, including brokerage fees, excise taxes and duties
- Initial training for the main operator(s) of the research infrastructure
- The cost to retain professional/technical personnel, consultants and contractors directly involved in the design, engineering, manufacturing and installation or construction of the project
Final determination of an item’s eligibility rests with the Ontario Research Fund, which may make eligibility subject to terms, conditions and limits as set out in the agreement.
The Ontario Research Fund will contribute a maximum of 40 per cent toward the total eligible costs. The research institution is responsible for obtaining at least 60 per cent from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, any private funding partners, and its own resources.
Under no circumstances will the Small Infrastructure Fund contribute more than the amount contributed by the Canada Foundation for Innovation. If the project cost decreases after the date of the Canada Foundation for Innovation award, then the Small Infrastructure Fund contribution will decrease accordingly.
Specific-purpose funds received from Ontario government ministries or agencies cannot be used as a match for Ontario Research Fund support.
Eligible Partner Contributions
Only contributions to the eligible costs of projects described above can be counted as partner contributions.
The one exception is a donation of real property, if it is deemed essential to the infrastructure project.
A specific partner contribution that has already been used to leverage or match funds for another capital project at the institution will not be recognized as an eligible matching contribution to an Small Infrastructure Fund program.
In-kind contributions are defined as non-monetary resources that external partners provide to eligible projects.
Eligible in-kind contributions include the value of:
- Capital items that eligible external partners donate to the institution, such as equipment and facilities
- Certain non-capital eligible costs needed to bring the infrastructure into service, eg. professional services and training
- Title to real property to be transferred to the institution (unless ownership has been transferred to the institution at the time the application is submitted)
The Ontario Research Fund retains the right to determine eligibility of any in-kind contribution. The fund may make eligibility subject to terms, conditions and limits.
Assessing the Value of In-Kind Contributions
The Ontario Research Fund policy for assessing and documenting the value of in-kind contributions will be addressed in detail in the funding agreement. As a general rule, the Ontario Research Foundation will adopt the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s policy.
The Ontario Research Fund reserves the right to make the final determination of the eligibility and value of in-kind contributions, to disallow expenditures, and reduce the funds. To avoid a situation where in-kind contributions may later be deemed ineligible or incorrectly valued, institutions are advised to contact ministry staff early in the process to confirm the eligibility and valuation of an in-kind contribution.
Timelines for Eligible Contributions and Expenditures
The institution is responsible for ensuring that in-kind contributions from partners and cash expenditures incurred by the institution have taken place after the date of eligibility set for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund in the funding agreement.
The Ontario Research Fund does not claim any ownership or rights to any IP resulting from Small Infrastructure Fund funded projects. Such rights are to be determined by the lead institution in accordance with its current IP policy. In cases where a consortium of applicants exists, the policy, as dictated in the Inter-Institutional Agreement between the consortium members, will dictate the IP policy.
Applicants are expected to make mutually agreeable commercialization arrangements with their private sector partners, and to demonstrate how the economic benefits of the proposal extends beyond the private sector partners.
Information Sharing Between Canada Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Research Fund
Before submitting an application to Ontario Research Fund, institutions must complete and submit a form "Release of Information by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation,” available from the ministry. Institutions that have already submitted a form do not need to resubmit.
The release form ensures that institutions understand that:
- Applicants will be required to request that Canada Foundation for Innovation release to the ministry, on a confidential basis, all review material related to the project
- The proposal review carried out by the Canada Foundation for Innovation will be an important component of the Small Infrastructure Fund’s assessment
- Ministry staff may attend meetings with expert committees regarding their review of projects.
- It is necessary to streamline and harmonize the ongoing administration and monitoring of successful projects with the Canada Foundation for Innovation
- The Canada Foundation for Innovation will release to Small Infrastructure Fund, on a confidential basis, ongoing progress and financial information
- Ministry staff may attend financial monitoring/audit visits, as well as site visits to review project progress and impact.
Sharing of information with the ministry begins immediately.
Applications for Ontario Research Fund Funding
Small Infrastructure Fund application instructions and forms are available on the Ontario Research Fund website.
Eligible institutions may apply for Ontario Research Fund small infrastructure funding by submitting:
- A completed and signed Small Infrastructure Fund application form, together with one photocopy and one electronic copy
- A copy of the corresponding Leaders Opportunity Fund application to the Canada Foundation for Innovation, together with all supporting materials provided with the application.
The Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure application form and process also applies for the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Leaders Opportunity Fund ($1 million - $2 million) competition.
The ministry will review each application to the Ontario Research Fund and the corresponding Canada Foundation for Innovation application materials for accuracy, completeness and relevance to program objectives and selection criteria, as outlined below.
Proposals for small infrastructure grants must demonstrate:
- Quality: The proposed research or technology development is of high quality and originality, meets international standards, and will lead to innovation
- Expertise: Researchers must have the expertise and commitment to conduct the world-class research or technological development proposed
- Need: The infrastructure is essential and appropriate for the proposed activity. Major proposals will enhance or establish a unique and important institutional capacity in the proposed research or technology development
- Training: Creating or strengthening an environment that attracts high quality trainees and imparts the new high-level skills to high quality professionals for research and other careers
- Partnerships: Any required collaborations or partnerships are appropriate and already in place or under development
- Benefits: Research using the proposed infrastructure will have the potential to lead to social or economic benefits
The ministry will also review applications submitted to the Canada Foundation for Innovation to verify that the applicant’s management plans will ensure the optimal implementation, operation and functionality of the infrastructure, as well as its financial sustainability.
Proposal Evaluation Process
Small infrastructure funding proposals will be evaluated in the following manner:
- Application forms and supporting documents are received, recorded and assessed for completeness, accuracy and consistency with Ontario Research Fund program requirements.
- The Canada Foundation for Innovation board makes decisions on Leaders Opportunity Fund awards and advises both the institutions and the ministry.
- Proposals that have received Canada Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund awards are further reviewed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.
- The Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation notifies institutions on the proposals that have been selected to receive Ontario Research Fund support.
Ontario Research Fund Award
Only proposals that have been approved by the Canada Foundation for Innovation will be considered for an Ontario Research Fund – Small Infrastructure Fund award — but approval of a proposal by the Canada Foundation for Innovation does not necessarily ensure Small Infrastructure Fund support.
The final funding decision will rest with the Minister of Economic Development and Innovation. The minister may approve applications; approve subject to terms and conditions, or decline applications at his/her sole discretion.
Approved applicants will enter into a Grant Agreement with the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. The Grant Agreement stipulates terms and conditions governing the payment of the Ontario Research Fund grant, including:
- Project budget
- Project management
- Communications strategies
- Monitoring and reporting requirements, including annual progress reporting, audits and financial reports
- Milestone and performance measures
- Mode and schedule of payments
- Contract termination
Ownership and Control of Assets Funded by the Ontario Research Fund
Ownership and control of the assets acquired with the grant funds, including research equipment or buildings related to a funded Ontario Research Fund project, must remain with the institution for a period of five years after acquisition and installation in the case of equipment, or five years from the date of occupancy in the case of a building.
In the case of a project with a multi-institutional composition or consortium, the inter-institutional agreement should dictate the arrangements made with regard to the ownership, control and disposal of research equipment and other assets.
Research equipment and other assets must be located at an eligible research institution, unless it can be successfully shown that an alternate location provides the most effective placement of the equipment or other assets. Any change in location requires a notification to the Ontario Research Fund and may require its approval.
Disbursement of Funds
Approved projects will be paid through a request for disbursement process. The Small Infrastructure Fund support is subject to a 10 per cent holdback, which will be disbursed after the final Ontario Research Fund review of the project’s impact, finances and fulfillment of project objectives.
To ensure continuity, consistency and open communication between the applicant and the Small Infrastructure Fund, the institution’s project officer and the assigned Ontario Research Fund advisor will coordinate all project-related discussions.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation is committed to making timely decisions on all complete applications once submitted. Applicants will be provided confirmation that their application is complete within 22 business days of the application deadline. Applicants will be advised of the ministry’s decision within 66 business days of the ministry’s receipt of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) expert panel reports.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
The Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information and documentation provided to the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation may be shared with members of the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board, the Review Panels, expert reviewers and others for the purposes of administering the Ontario Research Fund program.
This program may be subject to change.
Grant disbursements are subject to the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation having an appropriation approved by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the fiscal year in which the disbursement is to be made.