New Frontiers in Research Fund—Exploration: Submission Guide for the Letter of Intent to Apply

Table of Contents

This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the information provided in the Funding Opportunity.

Your Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI) must be received by 8:00 p.m. (eastern) on the deadline date.

Your institution may have earlier internal deadlines. Check with your research administrator regarding internal deadlines for your institution. The research administrator at your institution is responsible for submitting your application.

All team members, including nominated principal investigators (NPIs), co-principal investigators and co-applicants should inform the research administrator at their institution (if applicable) of their involvement in the application.

You must have submitted a notice of intent to apply (NOI) by the deadline to be eligible to create and submit an LOI.

You must complete the LOI using the Convergence Portal. The Convergence Portal is only supported on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. Follow the instructions provided within the Convergence Portal to proceed through completion of the LOI. The information required to complete the LOI is outlined below.

The NPI must complete all sections of the LOI and submit it. Other team members (co-principal investigators and co-applicants) must complete their profile, as applicable. They are able to see the other sections of the LOI but do not have edit access.

It is the responsibility of the NPI to verify the page lengths and formatting of any uploaded attachments. Should a submitted application contain one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.


At the application stage, external reviewers will conduct a double-blind review. As the external reviewers will have access to the attachments submitted at the LOI stage, the NPI must ensure that no self-identifying information for the team members is included in the following:

  • description of the proposed research project;
  • explanation of high risk; and
  • potential for high reward.

You may include your own articles in the literature references. When referring to prior research, use non-identifying nouns (e.g., article was published; research was conducted on, etc.). Do not provide links to your personal sites (personal website, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). You can include self-identifying information in the interdisciplinarity/fit to program attachment.

The following information is required to complete an LOI:

  1. Completed profiles for any additional members of the research team

    Complete profiles include (see the NOI guide for more detail):

    1. completed eligibility profile
    2. fields of research and keywords
    3. completed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) self-identification questionnaire

    Note: Once an LOI has been submitted by the research administrator, the NPI, co-principal investigator and/or co-applicants may not remove themselves from the project to join a different project within the Exploration stream.

  2. LOI content

    This includes all information submitted in the NOI, as well as:

    1. any changes to the list of collaborators (additions or deletions)—collaborators do not need to create an account in Convergence Portal;
    2. any changes to suggested reviewers (minimum of five) and reviewer exclusions (if applicable);
    3. supporting documents—each of these documents is uploaded as a separate attachment following the instructions for attachments, with page limits as noted:
      1. description of the proposed research project (maximum one page)

        Provide a short overview of the research project. Ensure you use language that can be understood by a multidisciplinary committee. This should be more technical than the summary of the proposal provided at the NOI stage and address the following points:

        • the overall goal and objectives of the proposed research;
        • the challenge(s) or issue(s) to be addressed; and
        • the potential benefit(s)/outcome(s) that could result from the project, if successful.
      2. explanation of high risk (maximum one page)

        Describe the high risk nature of the project. Provide a rationale for why it should be considered high risk. Refer to the High Risk selection criterion and the evaluation matrix.

      3. potential for high reward (maximum one page)

        Describe the potential outcomes of the project. Provide a rationale for why they should be considered high reward. Refer to the High Reward selection criterion and the evaluation matrix.

      4. interdisciplinarity / fit to program (maximum one page)

        Describe the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research and explain why this approach is needed and/or the added value of this interdisciplinary approach. Provide a rationale for how the project meets program requirements and expectations (i.e., fit to program). Refer to the Interdisciplinarity selection criterion and the evaluation matrix.

      5. literature references (maximum one page)

    Note: Attachments required for the LOI stage cannot be updated at the application stage. A new literature references attachment will need to be uploaded at the application stage.

Review your LOI to ensure that it is complete. From the Finalize Application section, follow the prompts to submit it. After you accept the Terms and Conditions, the status of your submission will change to Received by Administrator.

If you want to make any changes at this point, you may request that your research grants office (research administrator) return it to you.

Once your research administrator has approved and submitted your LOI, the application status will be changed to Received by Agency. No changes can be made at that time.

When you receive an LOI submitted by an NPI at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. Before being able to forward the application, the administrator, on behalf of the institution, will be required to confirm that:

  • the NPI meets the definition of early career researcher, if applicable (see the FAQs for more details);
  • the co-principal investigator meets the definition of early career researcher, if applicable (see the FAQs for more details);
  • the participants meet the eligibility requirements; and
  • the proposed research project meets eligibility requirements.

Note: If the NPI's primary affiliation is not on SSHRC's list of eligible institutions, the institution may be required to sign the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with SSHRC, for this program only, prior to receiving agency funds. Agency staff will contact the institutions of successful applicants after the notices of decision have been released to initiate this process, as appropriate.

By forwarding the application, the research administrator, on behalf of the institution, will again be certifying that the NPI:

  • is (or will be) affiliated with the institution or organization;
  • has the necessary time and resources to carry out the activity; and
  • will email of any changes during the tenure of the grant, including changes in the composition of the partnership, such as the addition of new co-principal investigators, co-applicants, collaborators, etc.
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