Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund Stage 2—Notice of intent instructions
The Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), housed at SSHRC, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) will deliver the CBRF and the Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) through an integrated competition.
As part of the competition process, SSHRC will publish on its website the content of notices of intent (NOIs) received, to facilitate opportunities for potential collaboration or multi-institutional initiatives. By submitting your NOI, you consent to the posting of the proposal title, director, administering organization, keywords, fields of research, and summary. Refrain from including sensitive or proprietary information.
Institutions must submit their NOI, using the Convergence Portal, by 9:00 p.m. (eastern) on June 8, 2023. No extensions to the deadline will be provided.
NOIs that are incomplete or submitted after the deadline will be withdrawn from the competition. Instructions on how to access and use the Convergence Portal are provided below.
These instructions are intended to be used in conjunction with the information in the Canada Biomedical Research Fund and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (CBRF-BRIF) funding opportunity.
Questions concerning the application process can be sent to CBRF-FRBC@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca.
If you are experiencing technical problems (e.g., difficulty viewing or downloading electronic forms), contact: email@example.com.
On this page
- Using the Convergence Portal to create and submit your notice of intent
- Notice of intent information
- Submitting an notice of intent to apply as your institution’s representative
- Contact information
Using the Convergence Portal to create and submit your notice of intent
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.
Creating and submitting your notice of intent
The organizational research administrator (research grant officer [RGO] or equivalent) is responsible for creating, ensuring completeness of and submitting the NOI. For NOIs that include an infrastructure component, the research administrator should be an institutional representative authorized to submit NOIs on behalf of the institution. Organizational representatives authorized to submit NOIs are identified in the Institutional Agreement between the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the respective institution. This will be necessary to link infrastructure requests submitted through the Convergence Portal to the CFI's Awards Management System (CAMS). In addition to the ability to create and submit NOIs, the RGO will have both read and write privileges in the Convergence Portal, as well as the ability to invite participants who will take part in preparing the NOIs within the Convergence Portal.
To complete and submit your NOI, follow the instructions provided in the Convergence Portal. When you are ready to submit, review your NOI to ensure it is complete. From the “Finalize” section in the Convergence Portal, follow the prompts to submit your NOI. After you accept the Terms and Conditions, the status of your submission will change to “Received by Agency”. No changes can be made at that point.
Prior to submitting an NOI containing a research infrastructure component, research administrators must ensure their username (email address) is identical in the Convergence Portal and CAMS. Instructions to modify emails are below.
To change or update your email address in the Convergence Portal, select the User tab on the right side of your screen and select “Change email”.
To change or update your email address in CAMS, connect to CAMS and select the “My profile and preferences” tab on the right of your screen. Select the “Update contact information” tab and proceed to the email section of the page. In this section, you can add an additional email address and indicate if you want this new email address to be your new username and/or contact email address.
Note: If you have a role identified in an Institutional Agreement (IA), changing your username may require a new IA. Research administrators must have a valid CFI CAMS account to submit NOIs containing a research infrastructure component.
Notice of intent information
Below are the NOI sections applicants will be required to complete. All sections will be modifiable in the full application.
- Application details
- Proposal details
- Research hub
- Summary of proposal
- Research and talent development specific keywords
- Research infrastructure specific keywords
- Type of activity
- Fields of research
- Socioeconomic objectives
- Invite partner organizations and participants
- Partner organizations and participants
- Proposed budget
- Certifications, licences and permits
- Suggested reviewers
- Reviewer exclusions
1. Application details
Application title: The title must be short, descriptive and detailed enough to provide an overview of the proposal. Common abbreviations (e.g., DNA) can be used; uncommon or discipline-specific abbreviations, company and trade names should be avoided.
Language of application: Indicate which official language will be used.
2. Proposal details
Type of proposal: Indicate which category your proposal falls under. Each proposal can include one or more of the following components:
- Partnered, applied research in the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector to accelerate the translation of discoveries into products and services to strengthen the sector.
- Partnered talent development to provide skills and training needed to drive innovation and growth in Canada’s biomanufacturing industry.
- Research infrastructure to support Canada’s biosciences research needs.
Refer to the Proposals section of the CBRF-BRIF Stage 2 for more information.
Link to current proposals: If your proposal is exclusively for talent development or research infrastructure, provide the identification number (CBRF2-2023-XXXXX) of the application(s) your proposal will support. The supported proposals must include a research component.
3. Research hub
Indicate which research hub you anticipate will endorse your full application. Applicants are expected to advise the research hub of their intention to submit an NOI.
4. Summary of proposal
Provide a summary (maximum 2,000 characters), written in lay language, describing the proposal and how it supports the vision and program of the proposed research hub, by clearly describing elements, including:
- goal and objectives;
- overall design/methodology;
- gap(s) that will be addressed by the proposed initiative(s);
- anticipated outcomes and impact; and
- how this proposal will support the Strategy and the hub’s vision, priorities and program of research.
Note: You may not copy more than 2,000 characters from another document into a text box on the Convergence Portal. Refrain from including sensitive or proprietary information.
5. Research and talent development specific keywords
List between five and 15 keywords to describe the proposed research and/or talent development component(s). You will have the opportunity to update these keywords at the full application stage if necessary.
If the proposal is an independent research infrastructure component supporting multiple research proposals, indicate 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. You will have the opportunity to update these keywords at the full application stage if necessary.
Note: This section will not be visible if the type of proposal selected does not include a research infrastructure component.
7. Type of activity
Select the type of activity from the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC) that relates to the proposal.
8. Fields of research
Select the fields of research from the CRDC that relate to the proposal. You must provide at least three primary fields of research from different groups (disciplines). You may 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
Select the socioeconomic objectives from the CRDC that relate to the proposal. You must provide at least two primary socioeconomic objectives. You may 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 and participants definition
Partner organizations put their capabilities and strengths at the service of the administering organization and provide a significant contribution to grow Canada’s domestic biomanufacturing and life sciences sectors and ensure 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 may include:
- academic institutions, including universities, colleges, polytechnics and institutes
- other research organizations (including research hospitals)
- private sector
- public sector
- philanthropic / not-for-profit
Private sector partner organisations must be incorporated pursuant to the laws of Canada and must be doing business in Canada. International partnerships are permitted if they have commercial activities that take place in Canada, such as research and development or manufacturing related to the proposed 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 further 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 NOI stage, participants must include a director. Participants may also include a co-director and one or more team members (up to a maximum of 15 team members). All participants must be confirmed when the full application is submitted.
An individual may 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.
The team size and composition should be appropriate for the proposed activities. Participants can be from any discipline(s), including the social sciences and humanities, as appropriate, to strengthen the biomedical research and talent pipelines. The co-director and team members may be from national, international and cross-sector organizations (academic, not-for-profit, public, private or other) to ensure that the most suitable individuals and/or organizations are involved, and that team composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion.
Students, postdoctoral researchers and research associates are not eligible to participate as a director, co-director or team member.
The director will:
- be responsible for the leadership of the project and the coordination of proposed activities, in conjunction with the co-director (if applicable);
- complete the proposal in the Convergence Portal; and
- coordinate the financial administration of the grant.
The director must be affiliated with the grant administering organization. An affiliation is defined as an organization at which an individual is employed, appointed or conducts research.
Co-director and team members
A co-director (optional, maximum of one) 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 (optional, up to 15) can view the NOI and full application in the Convergence Portal and contribute to the execution of the project, and may access grant funds as per the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration and the CFI’s Policy and program guide (PPG).
The eligibility requirements for co-director and team members are the same:
- They can be practitioners, policy-makers, educators, decision-makers, health-care administrators, Indigenous Elders, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, patients, community leaders, individuals working for a charity, and a range of other individuals.
- Their affiliation may be a Canadian postsecondary institution, a Canadian institution or organization that does not have full institutional eligibility with one of the three granting agencies or the CFI, or an international institution outside Canada. However, it may not be a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department:
- An individual who is indirectly employed by a federal, provincial or municipal government (e.g., employees in police services, education or health care) is eligible to be a co-director or team member, with their eligible expenses limited to those related to the execution of the project that are not already covered in relation to the mandate of their organization of employment.
- A federal government employee who is formally affiliated with a Canadian academic institution as an adjunct professor is not eligible to be a co-director or team member unless they are supervising a student who is registered at the academic institution and who will be participating in activities related to the proposal. In such cases, the use of CBRF funds is limited to salaries or stipends and travel costs for the students under the adjunct professor’s supervision. An adjunct professor is eligible to be a co-director or team member in exceptional cases where their planned contributions to the project do not fall within the mandate of their federal organization and will not be performed within their employer’s facilities or with their employer’s resources.
- An individual whose primary affiliation is with an Indigenous government is eligible to be a co-director or team member, with their eligible expenses limited to those related to the execution of the project that are not already covered in relation to the mandate of the Indigenous government.
Inviting partner organizations and participants
Provide the list of anticipated partner organizations and participants. A formal agreement or memorandum of understanding need not be in place at the time of NOI submission. Additional partners may be added at the full application.
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 further instructions on creating a profile. Once their profile is created, they will be required to accept the terms and conditions of the application process.
Only CFI-eligible institutions can be involved as a partner in a Research infrastructure component (“Academic | I” or “Other research | I”). The director and co-director (if applicable) are required to use the same username (email) as in their CAMS account. If they are not already registered in CAMS, they are required to create a CAMS account. We encourage participants to use this opportunity to update their CAMS account, as applicable.
The status of your invitations for both partner organizations and participants will be displayed in this section.
Note: Those who already possess 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.
This information is required by TIPS to ensure potential reviewers are not in conflict of interest with either the administering organization or any partner organizations or participants involved in the proposal.
12. Proposed budget
Enter the estimated total amounts for the research and/or talent development budget(s), the total research infrastructure budget (minimum $1 million) and the amount requested from the CFI, as applicable. The amount requested from the CFI should be 60% or less of the total infrastructure budget. This information is for competition planning purposes. Though we expect the values provided in the NOI to be representative, the detailed budget provided in the full application form can deviate from the amount(s) listed here. As per CFI practices for large infrastructure competitions, infrastructure envelopes have been established for each hub.
Hubs are encouraged to include, as part their portfolio, NOIs for infrastructure already requested in the 2023 Innovation Fund competition, if the infrastructure is essential to and/or of high priority for advancing the hub’s priorities, vision and program of research. This applies to Innovation Fund requests both from the hub lead institution and any other eligible institutions. The final portfolio will be adjusted to respect the hub infrastructure envelopes when the 2023 Innovation Fund funding decisions are made. Hubs have been informed of this process. Visit the CFI website for more information.
Refer to the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration and the CFI's Policy and program guide for further details on principles and directives that govern post-award administration of grants.
Note: The total research infrastructure budget and amount requested from the CFI will not be visible if the type of proposal selected does not include a research infrastructure component. Similarly, the research and talent development budget(s) will not be visible if the proposal is an independent research infrastructure component.
13. Certifications, licences and permits
Consult 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 you are awarded a grant, the certification requirements must be met, in accordance with the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions and the Impact Assessment Act (2019). If your research project could have environmental impacts, your 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 may eventually 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; established and early career researchers; 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 must be from outside Canada. At least one must be from the private sector.
You must include reviewers who:
- are not from your own institution or the partner organizations;
- are not in a conflict of interest with the participants from your own or partner institutions;
- can provide an independent assessment of your proposal; and
- are capable of reviewing your proposal in the language in which it is written.
Note: You must not contact suggested reviewers in advance.
15. Reviewer exclusions
You may provide the names of up to 15 individuals who you think cannot provide an objective review of your proposal. Due to the emphasis on partnered research and commercialization of outcomes, you may 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. The Reviewer Exclusions section for each stage of the proposal is accessible under the Privacy Act.
Submitting a notice of intent to apply as your institution’s representative
Before submitting the NOI, the research administrator, on behalf of the institution, will be required to confirm that:
- the participants meet the eligibility requirements;
- the proposal meets eligibility requirements; and
- an authorized CFI institutional representative is submitting the proposal if a research infrastructure component is requested.
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, prior to receiving agency funds.
Only CFI eligible institutions can submit a research infrastructure component. To request eligibility, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Only Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions can be eligible to submit a research infrastructure component. The eligibility process may take several months.
If you have questions:
- about the application process, contact CBRF-FRBC@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca or BRIF-FIRSB@innovation.ca
- about the Convergence Portal, contact email@example.com
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