Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
Stage 2—Full application instructions

The Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), housed at SSHRC, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) deliver the CBRF and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) through an integrated competition.

As part of the competition process, SSHRC will publish on its website the content of awarded proposals. By submitting your full application, you consent to the posting of the proposal title, participants, partners, administering organization, research hub that supports the proposal, keywords, fields of research, and summary. Do not include sensitive or proprietary information.


Institutions must submit their full application, using the Convergence Portal, by 9:00 p.m. (eastern), September 7, 2023. No extensions will be provided.

Incomplete applications will be withdrawn from the competition. Instructions for accessing and using the Convergence Portal appear below.

Use these instructions in conjunction with the information in the Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (CBRF-BRIF) funding opportunity description.

Send any questions about the application process to

If you are experiencing technical problems (e.g., difficulty viewing or downloading electronic forms), contact

On this page

Using the Convergence Portal to create and submit your full application

Convergence Portal

The Convergence Portal supports only the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. The portal may appear to function in other browsers, but technical problems can occur, such as information being improperly captured in the system without the user being aware. Use of an unsupported browser is strongly discouraged.

Infrastructure component—full application

For full applications that include an infrastructure component, the research administrator should be an institutional representative authorized to submit full applications on behalf of the institution. This will allow infrastructure requests submitted through the Convergence Portal to be linked to the CFI Award Management System (CAMS). Organizational representatives authorized to submit full applications are identified in the Institutional Agreement between the CFI and the respective institution.

Before submitting a full application with an infrastructure component, research administrators must ensure their username (email address) is identical in the Convergence and CAMS portals.

To change or update your email address in the Convergence Portal, click the user tab at the right of your screen and select “Change Email”.

To change or update your email address in CAMS, connect to CAMS, click the “My profile and preferences” tab at the right side of your screen, then select “Update contact information.” In the email section of the page, add an additional email address, then indicate whether you want it to be your new username and/or contact email address.

Note: If you have a role on an institutional agreement with the CFI, changing your username may require a new institutional agreement. To submit full applications that include a research infrastructure component, research administrators must have a valid CAMS account.

Full application information

Applicants must complete the full application sections below. All relevant information from the notice of intent will have been prepopulated into the full application, and can be edited as needed.

  1. Application details
  2. Proposal details
  3. Research hub
  4. Summary proposal
  5. Research and talent development specific keywords
  6. Research infrastructure specific keywords
  7. Type of activity
  8. Fields of research
  9. Socioeconomic objectives
  10. Invite partner organizations and participants
  11. Partner organizations and participants
  12. Research and/or talent development component budget
  13. Certifications, licences and permits
  14. Suggested reviewers
  15. Reviewer exclusions
  16. Supporting documents

1. Application details

Application title: The title must be short, descriptive and detailed enough to provide an overview of the proposal. You can use common abbreviations (e.g., DNA), but avoid uncommon or discipline-specific abbreviations, and company and trade names.

Language of application: Indicate which official language will be used.

2. Proposal details

Type of proposal

Indicate under which category your proposal falls. Each proposal can include one or more of the following:

Link to current proposals: Each research infrastructure or talent development component must directly support one or more proposals that include a research component. If your proposal is exclusively for talent development or research infrastructure, provide the identification number (CBRF2-2023-XXXXX) of the application or applications your proposal will support.

3. Research hub

Indicate which research hub will receive your full application for endorsement. Once this information has been saved, your selected hub will be provided read access to your proposal. Hub endorsement will only occur once the full applications have been submitted.

Note: The endorsement will be considered complete once the selected hub forwards the application to the agency.

As per CFI practices for large infrastructure competitions, research hubs have been allocated infrastructure envelopes to support innovative infrastructure projects. We recognize that certain projects may benefit multiple hubs, but can only be endorsed by a single hub. Therefore, to facilitate the support of such projects, research hubs can allocate a portion of their envelope towards a project endorsed by another hub. Hubs must report to the CFI any reallocation of their envelopes. This approach encourages interhub collaboration and lets funding be directed towards projects with the greatest potential impact, advancing the research hubs’ visions and, ultimately, benefitting Canadians.

4. Summary of proposal

Provide a summary (maximum 2,000 characters), written in lay language, describing the proposal and how it supports the vision, priorities and program of research of the endorsing hub. Clearly describe:

If your proposal is successful, this summary will be used to inform the government, media and members of the public who request information about the research funded.

Note: You cannot copy more than 2,000 characters from another document into a text box on the Convergence Portal. Do not include sensitive or proprietary information.

5. Research and talent development specific keywords

List between five and 15 keywords to describe the research and/or talent development components.

If the proposal is an independent research infrastructure component supporting one or multiple research proposals, list the keywords applicable to the research components supported by this proposal.

6. Research infrastructure specific keywords

List between five and 15 keywords to describe the research infrastructure component of the proposal.

Note: This section is not visible if the type of proposal selected does not include a research infrastructure component.

7. Type of activity

From the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC), select the type of activity related to the proposal.

8. Fields of research

From the CRDC, select the fields of research related to the proposal. Provide at least three primary fields of research from different groups (disciplines). You can add up to a maximum of 17 secondary fields of research directly related to the proposal (for a maximum total of 20 fields of research).

The primary fields of research should be selected in order of priority and relevance to the proposal, beginning with the most relevant.

9. Socioeconomic objectives

From the CRDC, select the socioeconomic objectives related to the proposal. Provide at least two primary socioeconomic objectives. You can add up to a maximum of three socioeconomic objectives.

The socioeconomic objectives should be selected in order of priority and relevance to the proposal, beginning with the most relevant.

10. Invite partner organizations and participants


Partner organizations

Partner organizations put their capabilities and strengths at the service of the administering organization and provide a significant contribution to growing Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing and life sciences sectors and ensuring the country’s readiness for future pandemics or other health emergencies. They actively participate in the planning and delivery of the outcomes described in the proposal. National and cross-sector (industry, private, public and other) partnerships are encouraged, to ensure the organizations involved are appropriately diverse.

Partner organizations can include:

Private sector partner organizations must be incorporated pursuant to the laws of Canada and must be doing business in Canada. International partnerships are permitted if the organizations have commercial activities that take place in Canada, such as research and development or manufacturing related to the research, and if the funded activity will result in significant economic benefits to Canada.

Administering organizations should work only with trusted partners who reflect the highest standards of security and integrity in their activities, operations and equipment. See Research security for details.


To reflect the expertise required to deliver on the ambitious and multidisciplinary nature of the project, proposals submitted by the administering organization must be supported by its participants and partners. At the full application stage, participants must include a director and at least one team member. Participants can also, if applicable, include a co-director. All participants must have completed and finalized the enrolment workflow by the time the full application is submitted. Their contributions and expertise will be assessed from the Team biosketch. You can, as relevant, speak to the involvement of additional participants in other sections of the proposal.

An individual can serve as a director or co-director on only one CBRF-BRIF proposal. This does not preclude their involvement as a team member on other proposals.

Team size and composition should be appropriate to the activities. Participants can be from any disciplines, including in the social sciences and humanities, as appropriate, to strengthen the biomedical research and talent pipelines. The co-director and team members can be from national, international and cross-sector organizations (academic, not-for-profit, public, private or other), to ensure the most suitable individuals and/or organizations are involved and the team’s composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Students, postdoctoral researchers and research associates are not eligible to participate as a director, co-director or team member.

All participants must complete or update the subsections under “My information” in the Convergence Portal. These can be accessed from the navigation pane on the left side of the screen when viewing the application. Once the participant has entered the information, inform your research grants office (RGO). Your RGO must finalize this section for each participant, by selecting “Finalize”.


Director (mandatory)

The director will:

The director must be affiliated with the grant-administering organization. Affiliation is defined as an organization at which the individual is employed or appointed or conducts research.

Co-director and team members

A co-director (optional) shares leadership responsibility with the director and may share responsibility for completing the NOI and full application in the Convergence Portal. While the director and administering organization are accountable for coordinating the grant’s overall financial administration, a co-director may be responsible for financial aspects of the project, provided they are affiliated with an eligible institution.

Team members (up to 15) can view the NOI and full application in the Convergence Portal, contribute to the execution of the project, and access grant funds as per the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration (TAGFA) and the CFI’s Policy and program guide.

Eligibility requirements for co-directors and team members are identical:

Invite partner organizations and participants

Use this section to invite partner organizations and participants. A formal agreement or memorandum of understanding need not be in place at the time of the full application submission.

If a partner is involved in both a research infrastructure component and a research or talent development component, identify the partner only once, as “Academic | I” or “Other research | I,” to avoid duplication.

Those invited to participate in the proposal will receive an automated email from the Convergence Portal with instructions for creating a profile. Once their profile is created, they must accept the terms and conditions of the application process.

Only CFI eligible institutions can be involved as partners in a research infrastructure component (“Academic | I” or “Other research | I”). The director and co-director (if applicable) must use the same username (email) for their Convergence profile as for their CAMS account. If they are not already CAMS-registered users, they must create a CAMS account. We encourage participants to use this opportunity to update their CAMS account, as applicable. See the Infrastructure component—full application section of these instructions for how to modify your email in the Convergence Portal or CAMS.

The status of your invitations for both partner organizations and participants will display in this section.

If you are making substantial changes to the participants or partner organizations since you submitted your notice of intent, contact us as soon as possible to avoid conflicts of interest with potential reviewers.

Note: Those who already have a Convergence Portal profile must still accept the terms and conditions of the application process.

11. Partner organizations and participants

The names of partner organizations and participants who accepted your invitation and their status will appear in this section.

To prepare the full application for submission, the RGO, director or co-director, if applicable, must review the CV information for accuracy prior to submission. To access this information, click “Finalize Information” under the “Actions” column of the table displayed. This will open the participant’s “My Information” section. Once the review is complete, click “Finalize Information.”

This information is used by TIPS and the CFI as part of the merit review process (Selection criteria descriptions), to ensure potential reviewers are not in conflict of interest with the administering organization, participants or partner organizations involved in the proposal.

12. Research and/or talent development component budget

Enter the total direct and indirect amounts for the research and/or talent development components of your proposal, including funds requested from CBRF and cash and/or in-kind contributions from the administering and/or partner organizations, as applicable.

See the TAGFA for details on eligible expenses.

Note: If the proposal is an independent research infrastructure component, the research and talent development budget will not be visible. All financial information about the research infrastructure component will be captured in the supporting Research infrastructure detailed budget document.

13. Certifications, licences and permits

See Requirements for Certain Types of Research for more information or clarification. For research to be undertaken outdoors, you may need to submit an Impact Assessment Form (Appendix A) at the time of application (follow the instructions provided in the Convergence Portal).

If your institution is awarded a grant, it must meet all certification requirements, in accordance with the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions and the Impact Assessment Act (2019). If the project could have environmental impacts, the proposal may need to be posted for public consultation before funds are released. No other forms or certifications are required at the time of application.

14. Suggested reviewers

Provide a list of five to 10 suggested reviewers who can be contacted to review the proposal. Applicants are encouraged to suggest a diverse list of potential reviewers with appropriate expertise to review and comment on the proposal. Suggested reviewers should be a mix of Canadian and international experts from academic and research institutions, not-for-profit and philanthropic organizations, private sector enterprises, and the public sector; and established researchers and early career researchers (ECRs); and should include individuals from the four designated groups (women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and racialized individuals). These individuals should have the required expertise to review and comment on the proposal, and should not be in a conflict of interest, as defined by the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations. At least two of the suggested reviewers must be from outside Canada. At least one must be from the private sector.

You must include reviewers who:

Note: You must not contact suggested reviewers in advance.

15. Reviewer exclusions

Provide the names of up to 15 individuals you think cannot provide an objective review of your proposal. Due to the emphasis on partnered research and commercialization of outcomes, you can also exclude competing organizations whose members may have a direct conflict of interest in reviewing your proposal. TIPS and the CFI reserve the right to make the final selection of reviewers. You can access the reviewer exclusions section for each stage of the proposal under the Privacy Act.

16. Supporting documents

Include all relevant information in your proposal. Do not refer to URLs or other publications for supplemental information. Reviewers are not obligated to access URLs included in the supporting documents.

  1. Detailed description, one per component (PDF)
  2. Research and/or talent development component detailed budget, if applicable (PDF)
  3. Research infrastructure component detailed budget, if applicable (Excel format [.xlsx])
  4. Research infrastructure floor plans, if applicable (PDF)
  5. Scientific and technical summary (PDF)
  6. Strategic overview (PDF)
  7. Team biosketch (PDF)
  8. Partner contributions (PDF)
  9. Risk Assessment Form and Partner Organization Form (PDF)

Supporting documents must be uploaded to the Convergence Portal as PDF files, with the exception of the Research infrastructure component detailed budget, which must be uploaded as an Excel file (.xlsx). Prepare your attachments as follows:

Note: Research infrastructure floor plans and Research infrastructure component detailed budget are exempt from the above guidelines.

Program staff will undertake an internal review of all material submitted, to verify that submissions meet the program’s eligibility requirements and application guidelines. Applications that do not meet requirements may be withdrawn from the competition.

Note: The biomanufacturing focus of the competition increases the risk of proposals containing sensitive safety and security information. Institutions and applicants must ensure that the information provided in the proposal does not pose a security risk. If necessary, consult your institution’s Human Pathogens and Toxins Act licence holder or Biological Safety Officer. Under no circumstances should a proposal divulge:

Converting documents

Convert all attachments, with the exception of the Research infrastructure component detailed budget, to PDF before attaching them to the application. The conversion process varies, depending on your operating system and word processing software. If you have questions about converting your documents to PDF, contact your institution’s technical support staff.

If you do not have a PDF conversion program, you can download a free version of PrimoPDF. Macintosh users have a PDF conversion option in their Macintosh system “print” function.

Note: Preview all attachments uploaded to the Convergence Portal before submission, to ensure they have been uploaded correctly and their content is viewable. Corrupted or protected files that cannot be opened or viewed will not be accepted.

a. Component-specific—detailed description

Submit a detailed description (Word document, 60 Kb) for every component of your proposal. Each section’s complete package must be a maximum of 15 pages in English or 18 pages in French, including tables, charts, graphs, diagrams and illustrations. Use the following sections (suggested length for each is in brackets):

Section 1. Proposal

Describe the activities that will be enabled by the component, and how its objectives and design meet the hub’s vision, priorities and program of research.

Describe the extent to which partners will contribute to the development and execution of the activities, including their:

For research components, describe the proposal’s methodology, design, work plan and timelines, and the appropriateness and feasibility of the activities, including key challenges and how these will be overcome. Demonstrate the innovative aspects of the activities by positioning them within the current state of knowledge in the field, both in Canada and internationally; and comment on their scientific excellence and competitiveness.

For talent development components, include information on the number of highly qualified personnel who will be involved in the activities, and how the training and mentoring needs for each category of trainee will be met. Describe the opportunities that will be provided, as well as what professional skills will be taught and in what manner. Demonstrate how these are different from those attained through a regular training student experience.

For research infrastructure components, describe each requested item and justify why it is needed to conduct the activities. As necessary, reference the infrastructure item number (see Research infrastructure component detailed budget Excel template).

Note: For talent development and research infrastructure components, describe how they will efficiently support research component(s) proposed in this competition.

Section 2. Anticipated outcomes

Explain how the proposal is expected to generate significant benefits. This can include descriptions of the following, as applicable:

Section 3. Equity, diversity and inclusion, and early career researchers considerations

Institutions must take active and rigorous measures to prevent systemic barriers that can result in individuals from underrepresented groups and ECRs being excluded from participating in:

In this section:

Section 4. Management plans

Management plans should describe the project’s oversight structure (roles and expertise of members) and the appropriate methods and indicators for monitoring progress and assessing outcomes (short-, medium- and long-term), and mitigation plans. If applicable, describe the appropriate data management considerations for the project, including how data will be shared, collected, documented, protected and preserved.

For research infrastructure components, management plans should also clearly explain how the infrastructure will be optimally used, operated and maintained over its useful life, and demonstrate that the management team has the necessary training and core competencies to ensure the facility’s safe operations. Outline the operating and maintenance costs, as well as revenue sources, over the useful life of the infrastructure (including expected Infrastructure Operating Fund grant monies). Include plans for maintaining the current sources of funding, and securing and diversifying sources of funding, as well as contingency plans for potential funding shortfalls.

Section 5. Budget justification

Provide a breakdown and explanation of the costs submitted in this proposal.

The budget justification should include:

Contributions (including grants) from industry or other sectors that were received or made prior to the CBRF-BRIF competition launch towards specific projects with set objectives cannot be counted as incremental contributions. Open-ended agreements, such as ongoing service contracts with partners for which there are no specific research objectives identified (i.e., access to facilities), can be counted if the intent is to evolve the service contract into an official partnership of which the data will be used for research purposes linked to the activities.

For research and talent development components, the budget should be appropriate to undertake and complete the activities outlined.

For research infrastructure components, consider the existing research infrastructure capacity at your institution, partner organizations and beyond, and explain how the requested infrastructure is the best option to conduct the research activities. The CFI expects that new or additional research computing resources exceeding $100,000 will typically be housed, managed and operated by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada. If your proposal includes research computing infrastructure that would be housed, managed and operated by the institution, include compelling arguments for why doing so would be better than leveraging the resources offered by the Alliance to meet the activities’ computing needs. Prospective applicants should consult with the Alliance if they plan to request advanced research computing infrastructure.

Section 6. Literature references

Provide a list of literature references cited in the detailed description.

b. Research and/or talent development component detailed budget

Use the Research and/or talent development budget table template (Excel document, 20 Kb) and upload your completed table as a separate PDF document. Enter all planned expenditures for the research and/or talent development components for each category (direct costs and indirect costs) for each year.

See the TAGFA for details on eligible costs under each expense category.

Indirect costs of research are integrated into the CBRF program, which allows institutions to use up to 25% of the total grant to support eligible indirect costs of research.

c. Research infrastructure component detailed budget

Use the Research infrastructure component detailed budget template (Excel document, 145 Kb) to outline the costs of your requested infrastructure and the associated operational costs and funding sources. You must upload your completed template as a separate Excel (.xlsx) document.

The research infrastructure component detailed budget template contains six tabs (i.e., Overview of project funding, Cost of individual items, Partner contributions, Infrastructure utilization, Financial resources for O&M, and Help). Consult the last tab (Help) carefully for details on how to use the template. The template has imbedded validation rules to ensure eligibility and consistency across applications. Do not make changes to the template beyond what the instructions specify.

Note: The template is designed to be completed using Excel. Do not use other software. Doing so will invalidate the embedded validation rules, and information could be incorrectly included in the template without the user’s knowledge. Following the application deadline, the Excel document will be converted to a PDF and integrated with the full application PDF.

d. Research infrastructure floor plans, if applicable

If construction or renovation costs are requested, provide, as appropriate:

The floor plans must match the description of the space provided in the research infrastructure component detailed description. The research infrastructure floor plans document should only contain the information above and not any budget justification elements. For more information on eligible construction and renovation costs, consult the CFI’s Policy and Program Guide.

Do not include floor plans for containment level 3 and 4 facilities, or if providing floor plans would expose any security-sensitive information. If you have questions or concerns about including floor plans as part of your proposal, consult your institutional biosafety officer.

e. Scientific and technical summary

Use the scientific and technical summary template (Word document, 59 Kb). Provide:

The scientific and technical summary must not exceed two pages if written in English, or 2.4 pages if written in French.

f. Strategic overview

The strategic overview (Word document, 63 Kb), in combination with, among other information, the hub endorsement report (Word document, 63 Kb), supports the strategic review committee’s evaluation of the strategic selection criteria. The overview should provide a summary showing how your proposal complements the other proposals in this competition. Specific information, such as the application identification numbers of other proposals to which it refers, is not expected.

Use the strategic overview template. Explain how your proposal:

The strategic summary must not exceed two pages if written in English, or 2.4 pages if written in French.

g. Team biosketch

Use the team biosketch template (Word document, 59 Kb).

Applicants must protect the privacy and confidentiality of all participants. Do not provide information about the composition of the research team in a way that can reveal any member’s personal information (i.e., race, colour, place of origin, religion, immigrant or newcomer status, ethnic origin, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or age).

Provide an overview of the team by:

For the infrastructure component, describe the presence of the necessary expertise to make optimal use of the requested research infrastructure.

The team biosketch must not exceed five pages if written in English, or six pages if written in French.

h. Partner contributions

Use the partner contributions template (Word document, 59 Kb). Provide an overview of each partner involved, and explain:

The partner contributions document must not exceed five pages if written in English, or six pages if written in French.

i. Risk Assessment Form and Partner Organization Form

Complete the Risk Assessment Form if your proposal involves at least one private sector partner organization. In addition, for each private sector partner, complete a Partner Organization Form (Word document, 69 Kb). Merge all of these completed forms and submit them as one single document per proposal.

Submitting a full application

The organizational research administrator (research grants officer or equivalent) is responsible for ensuring the completeness of and submitting the full application.

Before submitting the full application, the research grants officer, on behalf of your institution, will be required to confirm that the:

Note: The endorsement will be considered complete once the selected hub forwards the application to the agency.


If your institution is not on SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions, it may be required to enter an Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with SSHRC before receiving agency funds.

Only CFI eligible institutions can submit a research infrastructure component. To request eligibility, contact Only Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and not-for-profit research institutions are eligible to submit a research infrastructure component. The eligibility process can take several months.

When you are ready to submit, review your full application to ensure it is complete. From the “Finalize and Submit” section in the Convergence Portal, follow the prompts to submit your full application. After you accept the Terms and Conditions, the status of your submission will change to “Received by administrator”. The “administrator” for this competition is the endorsing research hub selected in the Research Hub section. To make any changes at this point, you can ask that your research hub return the application to you. Once the endorsing research hub has approved and submitted your application, the application status will be changed to “Received by Agency”. No changes can be made after the submission.

Contact information

If you have questions about the:

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