Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
Stage 2—Frequently Asked Questions
On this page
- Information sharing
- Roles of hubs
- Selection process and criteria
- Envelopes and transfer of funds
- Reporting requirements
- Other considerations
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Stage 2 of the integrated Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (CBRF-BRIF). See the funding opportunity description for additional information about the objectives, proposal types, eligibility and more.
Are private for-profit institutions (industry) eligible to submit proposals?
Private for-profit institutions (industry) are not eligible to submit proposals for CBRF-BRIF funding. See the Eligibility section of the funding opportunity description for more details.
Are Stage 2 proposals limited to the pathogens listed in the Strategic objectives section of the funding opportunity description?
The Strategic objectives section of the funding opportunity description presents examples of pathogens with pandemic potential (e.g., respiratory and zoonotic diseases) as well as a list of organizations that have identified priority pathogens. These examples and resources do not represent an exhaustive list.
What are the requirements for partnered proposals?
Research and talent development components require partners, while infrastructure components do not. See the Proposals section of the funding opportunity description for more details. The selection of partners, whether they are from the private (industry), public or not-for-profit sectors, should be appropriate to and further the objectives of the proposal.
How should talent development components or research infrastructure components be linked to research proposals?
Proposals may contain one, two or three components. Where a proposal is submitted with only a talent development or research infrastructure component, each component must directly support one or more proposals containing a research component. In both the notice of intent and the full application, these proposals must identify the Application ID (AppID) of the supported proposals. Your AppID will be available on the Convergence Portal. AppIDs for proposals created by other administering organizations will not be available unless you are invited to participate in those proposals.
What are the expectations around existing infrastructure and new infrastructure requests?
New infrastructure requests should consider the context of existing infrastructure availability. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide adequate justification for requests. Activities relying on research infrastructure should consider:
- the local and international availability of the infrastructure (depending on the request);
- the necessity and complementarity of the infrastructure to the research activities; and
- the time required to acquire and commission the infrastructure, and the impact of the timeline on the research activities.
Can funding requests for Containment Level 3 (CL3) laboratories that were not successful in the BRIF—Biocontainment and large-animal facilities competition be resubmitted to the CBRF-BRIF Stage 2 competition?
Yes. Proposals for CL3 facility requests that were previously submitted to the BRIF— Biocontainment and large-animal facilities competition will be accepted. Given the sensitive nature of these proposals, we ask that institutions not include floor plans for proposals requesting infrastructure upgrades to high-containment facilities. Institutions are to seek the advice of their Human Pathogens and Toxins Act license holder or Biological Safety Officer before submitting a proposal to ensure that sensitive information is not included in proposals.
Will late NOIs or full applications be accepted?
No. Institutions who wish to apply for Stage 2 funding must submit NOIs and full applications by the respective deadlines. NOIs must be submitted by June 8, 2023, and full applications by September 7, 2023.
Will the NOIs be published?
Certain elements of the NOI will be published on the CBRF-BRIF web pages. These include the proposal title, director, administering organization, keywords, fields of research, and summary.
How will the National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships apply to Stage 2 applications?
As part of their full application, institutions will be required to submit, for each proposal, a Risk Assessment Form that includes a private sector partner organization. The new Risk Assessment Form is available online at:
A workshop on the application of the National Security Guidelines and completing the Risk Assessment Form will be held in advance of the full application deadline and will be advertised under Updates and information on the CBRF-BRIF web page.
Role of hubs
Is hub endorsement required at the NOI step?
While hub endorsement is not required for NOIs, institutions must advise the hub they anticipate will endorse their proposal of their intention to submit an NOI. Institutions are encouraged to work with hubs as early as possible to determine alignment with the vision, priorities and programs of research of the hubs. Hubs may have internal deadlines for expressions of interest, independent of the NOI and full application deadlines set by the CBRF-BRIF program.
Can proposals be endorsed by multiple hubs?
Each proposal can only be endorsed by a single hub. Applicants can highlight known links with other proposals, as appropriate.
Can grant funds be reallocated when projects do not meet identified milestones or priorities?
Stage 2 funding is provided to the successful administering organization. Research hubs are not authorized to reallocate funds or approve course-correction. Any course-correction of CBRF projects should be within the parameters of what was assessed and approved for funding. Amendments to BRIF projects require CFI approvals prior to their implementation.
Selection process and criteria
What happens if a proposal that supports another proposal is not funded?
Only components that receive a rating of “good” or above for all scientific and technical assessment criteria applicable to the component will be deemed meritorious. Proposals containing or supporting one or more meritorious research components will be forwarded to the Strategic Review Committee (SRC) for assessment. Meritorious infrastructure components supporting more than one research component will be forwarded to the SRC regardless of the meritorious nature of the research components it supports. This will allow the SRC to consider the longer-term strategic impact and capacity-building nature of large-scale research infrastructure. Consult the Detailed assessment criteria and Rating matrices for more information.
How is multidisciplinarity considered in the review process?
Institutions should consider a multidisciplinary approach, as appropriate, to strengthen the biomedical research and talent pipelines. Hubs are expected to ensure their portfolio of proposals includes multidisciplinary perspectives, including those in the social sciences and humanities, where appropriate. The review process will evaluate whether research proposals integrate expertise and insights across disciplines, as appropriate.
High risk is mentioned in the funding opportunity description. How will this be evaluated?
While high risk is not a specific evaluation criterion for CBRF-BRIF, as it is for the New Frontiers in Research Fund’s Transformation stream, proposals are expected to present innovative initiatives on a larger scale and of a higher risk than those typically supported through individual federal research funding programs.
Envelopes and transfer of funds
How will infrastructure envelopes be implemented?
Envelopes allow infrastructure requests totaling 2.5 times the competition budget ($277 million), with each hub being able to endorse half the competition budget ($138.5 million). To allow flexibility between the NOI and full application, a hub may exceed its envelope by up to 10% at the NOI step. To maximize impact and collaboration, hubs may reallocate a portion of their envelope toward a project that may benefit multiple hubs. See CBRF budget allocation and BRIF infrastructure envelopes for more information.
Can CBRF-BRIF funds be transferred to industry partners or for-profit companies to purchase equipment or offer honoraria for non-academic personnel?
CBRF funds will be transferred from SSHRC to eligible institutions. Institutions may then transfer funds to organizations within Canada, except for for-profit companies or federal, provincial or municipal governments. To assist you in developing a Transfer Agreement document, see the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA), Part 3, the section on Transfer of funds. A template outlining specific requirements for the transfer of funds to eligible and non-eligible institutions can be found in Appendix 2.
In addition, invoices, contracts or accountable advances are not considered to be grant transfers.
Applicant institutions should consult the program literature, relevant institutional policies and the TAGFA. Contact email@example.com with additional questions on the use of CBRF grant funds (for research and talent development components).
BRIF funds (for infrastructure components) can only be transferred to CFI-eligible institutions. Applicants should consult the CFI's Policy and Program Guide for additional information on eligible costs and contributions.
What financial and/or in-kind contributions are expected from partner organizations?
At Stage 2 of the CBRF-BRIF competition, partner organizations are expected to be actively involved in the development and execution of the project through intellectual (e.g., providing input and informing decision making), in-kind and financial contributions. There is no threshold for contributions. See in-kind contributions for more information.
Will qualified industry personnel be permitted to use the infrastructure purchased for eligible projects?
Industry personnel may use the infrastructure purchased for eligible projects if it is to support the proposed research activities. Institutions must follow their institutional policies on industry access to core infrastructure.
How will performance on research, talent development and infrastructure projects be reported during the funding period?
Recipients of CBRF funding (Stages 1 and 2) must report yearly on their use of funds. The framework for financial monitoring of administering institutions, and the requirements for reporting grant expenditures, are described in the TAGFA. A mid-term progress report and final report will be collected and used by SSHRC; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; and Health Canada to assess the success of the program to support Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy. Institutions receiving funds for infrastructure projects under the BRIF will be required to submit financial reports, as defined in the award agreement, as well as annual project progress reports for the five years after research infrastructure becomes operational, as per the CFI’s oversight mechanisms as described in its policy and program guide.
What are the restrictions on the use of materials such as STEM cells?
The Tri-agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research sets out the responsibilities and corresponding policies for researchers, institutions and the federal research funding agencies, that together help support and promote a positive research environment. The framework specifies the responsibilities of researchers with respect to research integrity, applying for funding, financial management, and requirements for conducting certain types of research (Section 2.4). For information specifically on the use of stem cells, consult Chapter 12, Section F of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.
Are applications that propose clinical research eligible for CBRF-BRIF funding?
The objective of the CBRF-BRIF program is to fund applied research and talent development projects, and not clinical trials. Any research study involving human participants that evaluates the safety and/or effects of one or more interventions on health outcomes is considered a clinical trial, regardless of sample size. Such studies are not eligible for CBRF-BRIF funding.
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