2020 Exploration: Notice of Intent to Apply Guide

Note: Applicants and research administrators are encouraged to attend one of the July 7, 2020 webinars to learn how to complete the notice of intent to apply and about the overall Exploration application process. Webinars are recorded and made available to your research grants office after the session.

Table of contents


This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the information provided in the 2020 Exploration Competition Overview.

Your Notice of Intent to Apply (NOI) must be received by the agency 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 NOI.

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

Read the 2020 Exploration Competition Overview to ensure your project fits this funding opportunity.

See the eligibility section to ensure you are eligible to apply as an NPIco-PI or co-applicant. Participants who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the application. If an NPI is considered to be ineligible, the application will be withdrawn from the competition. If removal of ineligible participants from the application results in research teams with fewer than two members, the application will also be withdrawn from the competition.

If you are the NPI, consult your research administrator at your institution’s research grants office (RGO) regarding internal deadlines. The research administrator at your institution is responsible for submitting your NOI by 8:00 p.m. (eastern) on the deadline date. Late NOIs will not be accepted. An NOI cannot be changed after the research administrator has submitted it.

You must complete the NOI using the Convergence Portal. The Portal is only supported on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. If you do not have a profile on the Convergence Portal or Research Portal, you will be prompted to create one the first time you access the Convergence Portal.

Follow the instructions provided in the Portal to complete the NOI. The information needed to complete an NOI is outlined below.

The NPI must complete all sections of the NOI in the Portal (no attachments are accepted at this stage) and submit it via their institution’s research administrator.

The co-PI, if applicable, and co-applicants must each complete their own profile before the NPI submits the NOI to their research administrator. Team members will be able to see all sections of the NOI, but will not have edit access.

The following information is required to complete an NOI:

Completed profiles for research team members

The research team must include at least two participants: the NPI and a co-PI and/or co-applicant. Additional team members (co-PI, co-applicants and/or collaborators) can be added at the full application stage. Teams can include a maximum of one co-PI and any number of co-applicants and collaborators. Each team member must include the following in their profile:

  1. Eligibility profile

    Include information about your participation in other Exploration applications or awards, as well as your affiliations and early career researcher status, and the eligibility of your institution.

  2. Equity, diversity and inclusion

    In setting up your profile, each participant must complete the equity, diversity and inclusion questionnaire once.

  3. Fields of research

    The fields of research here relate to your area of expertise and do not need to be directly related to the project. Select a minimum of two fields of research (maximum of five), of which at least one must be a primary area of research.

  4. Keywords

    List between two and 10 keywords that best describe your main areas of research.

Note: Once an NOI has been submitted by the research administrator, the NPI, co-PI and/or co-applicants cannot remove themselves from the project to join a different project in the Exploration stream.

Notice of Intent content

  1. Application title

    Provide a short, descriptive title that can be used for publication purposes. You can use common abbreviations (e.g., DNA), but avoid uncommon or discipline-specific abbreviations, as well as company and trade names.

  2. Language of the application

    Indicate which official language will be used for the NOI and full application.

  3. Indigenous research

    Indicate whether the project involves Indigenous research.

  4. Keywords

    List between five and 10 keywords to describe the proposed research.

  5. Up to five fields of research

    Select the fields of research from the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC) codes that relate to the proposed research. You must include at least two different disciplines as primary fields of research (as defined by a group-level classification based on the CRDC codes).

  6. Summary of the proposal (maximum 2,500 characters)

    Include the objectives of the proposed research project and a summary of the research approach. Highlight the novelty and expected significance of the work (i.e., the elements that make it high risk and high reward).

    If your application is successful, this summary will be used for promotional purposes outside the research community to inform the government, media and members of the public who request information about research funded by the NFRF program.

    The Exploration stream review process includes a double-blind external review, where the external reviewers are not provided information that identifies the research team, and vice versa. To ensure anonymity, do not include any identifying information about the team members (e.g., previous work, research groups, departments, institutions or organizations).

  7. Collaborators

    List collaborators on the project. Collaborators do not need to create an account in the Portal.

  8. Suggested reviewers (minimum of five) and reviewer exclusions (if applicable)

    List any reviewers team members suggest be contacted to review the proposal at the full application stage. Teams are encouraged to suggest a diverse cross-section of potential reviewers with appropriate expertise (Canadian and international, established and early career, women and those from other underrepresented groups, from academic and non-academic institutions) to review and comment on the proposal. These individuals must not be in a conflict of interest with any member of the team as defined by the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations.

    The team can also suggest individuals who should not be asked to review the proposal.

Review your NOI to ensure that it is complete.

From the Finalize Application section in the Convergence Portal, follow the prompts to submit the NOI.

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 administrator return the application to you.

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

When you receive an NOI submitted by an NPI at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. Before being able to submit the application, the research 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-PI 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 the 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 submitting the application, the research administrator, on behalf of the institution, will also be certifying that the NPI:

  • is affiliated with the institution or organization;
  • has the necessary time and resources to carry out the activity; and
  • will email NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca of any changes during the tenure of the grant, including changes in the composition of the partnership, such as the addition of new co-PIs, co-applicants, collaborators, etc.

If you have questions:

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