2020 Exploration: Full Application Guide
Note: Applicants and research administrators are encouraged to attend one of the August 25, 2020, webinars to learn about the Exploration application process. Webinars are recorded and made available to research grants offices after the session.
This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the information provided in the 2020 Exploration Competition overview.
Your application 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 application.
All team members, including nominated principal investigators (NPIs), co-principal investigators (co-PIs) and co-applicants, should inform the research administrator at their institution (if applicable) of their involvement in the application.
Completing the application
You must complete your application using the Convergence Portal. The Portal is only supported on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox.
Follow the instructions provided in the Portal to complete your application. The information needed to complete an application is outlined below.
The NPI must complete all sections of the full application and submit the application via their institution’s research administrator. Any new team members (co-PIs and co-applicants) must each complete their own profile in the Portal before the NPI submits the application. Team members will be able to see all sections of the application, but will not have edit access.
NPIs must verify the page lengths and formatting of any uploaded attachments to the application. 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contain one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.
The Exploration stream review process includes a double-blind external review, with external reviewers not being given information that could identify the research team, and vice versa. To ensure anonymity, do not include any identifying information about the team members (including name, previous work, research group, institution, organization, etc.) in the following sections:
- gender-based analysis plus (GBA+);
- research proposal; and
- budget justification.
You may include your own articles in the literature references attachment. When referring to prior research, use non-identifying statements (e.g., “article was published,” “research was conducted on”). Do not provide links to personal sites (e.g., websites, blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts).
You can include information about yourself, your lab group and institution, and your team members, their lab groups and institutions in the biographical information about the team. If a team member’s self-identification (gender, Indigenous identity, disability or racial background) is relevant to the research project, you may include that self-identity information in the biographical information only with their consent. Otherwise, self-identification information about any team member should not appear anywhere in the application.
In the application’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) section, you may include information that reveals team members’ affiliations, including departments, lab groups, etc.
All relevant information from the NOI will be prepopulated in the full application. You must include the following content to complete an application. Complete sections a to d within the Convergence Portal.
- Proposed budget
Enter the planned amount of funds to be spent in each category (direct and indirect costs) for each year of the project. Contact your research administrator for direction on how much to request for indirect costs.
- Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)
Indicate whether GBA+ or sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) are appropriate considerations for the project, and whether they have been integrated into the proposed research. If the team believes no aspect of the research may benefit from GBA+/SGBA, provide a rationale for this. These fields must be completed before your application can be submitted.
- Certifications, licences and permits
Answer the questions as they relate to the proposed research project. Consult the Requirements for Certain Types of Research for more information or clarification, if needed. With the exception of research taking place outdoors, which may require submission of an Impact Assessment at the time of application (follow the instructions in the Portal), no forms or certifications are required at the time of application. If you are awarded a grant, the necessary certification requirements must be met in accordance with the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions.
- Equity, diversity and inclusion
Applications must not include any self-identitying information about members of the research team in the EDI section. Focus on the team’s commitment to EDI, not on its EDI profile. See NFRF’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research guide for more details.
In this section, provide the following:
- information about the team’s specific challenges related to EDI;
- the best practices that will be applied for each of the following elements, and a brief explanation of how each practice applies to the team’s specific context, how it will be implemented, the expected impacts, and how the impacts will be measured:
- team composition and recruitment processes;
- training and development opportunities; and
Information that reveals team members’ affiliations (including departments, lab groups, etc.) may be included in this section, if relevant.
- Supporting documents
Upload each document as a separate attachment, with page limits as noted, following the instructions for attachments:
- Research proposal (maximum four pages)
Describe the proposed research project, providing a rationale for how it meets program expectations. Specifically, address why the research should be considered high risk and high reward. Also highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research, explaining why an interdisciplinary approach is needed and/or the added value it brings. (The use of headers is suggested.)
Provide a concise overview of the research objectives, relating the proposal to current and relevant research, prior art or knowledge. Briefly describe the research methodology and design, work plan and timeline. Discuss the approaches to Indigenous research, if appropriate (see SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research), and explain how the methodological design was informed by GBA+/SGBA, if appropriate.
The Exploration stream review process involves a double-blind external review, with external reviewers not being given information that could identify the research team, and vice versa. To ensure anonymity, do not include any identifying information about the team members (names, research groups, departments, institutions, etc.). When referring to prior research, use non-identifying statements (e.g., “article was published,” “research was conducted on”). Do not provide links to personal sites (e.g., websites, blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn accounts).
- Biographical information about the research team (maximum two pages)
Provide a brief overview of the research team’s knowledge, background and expertise, from the perspective of how they will contribute to the project. Identify the anticipated contributions of each team member (NPI, co-PI, co-applicants and collaborators, as applicable) and explain how their contributions will be coordinated and integrated.
Information about yourself, your lab group and institution, and your team members, their lab groups and institutions can be included in this section. If a team member’s self-identification (gender, Indigenous identity, disability or racial background) is relevant to the research project, that self-identitying information may be included here, although only with their consent.
- Budget justification (maximum one page)
Provide a breakdown and explanation of the direct costs of the research project. Provide sufficient information to allow reviewers to assess the appropriateness of the requested resources. If necessary, you can also use this section to describe other resources, including funding, materials or equipment, that will contribute to the project. Cofunding is not expected for this funding opportunity. A breakdown of the indirect costs of research is not required and should not be included.
To ensure anonymity, this section must not include any identifying information about the team members.
- Literature references (maximum five pages)
Provide a list of literature references cited in the application.
- Research proposal (maximum four pages)
To view PDF documents, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (downloadable free of charge). If you have the latest version of Adobe Reader and still cannot view contents, download a copy of the PDF and open it in your Adobe software.
Submitting an application
Review your application to ensure that it is complete.
From the Finalize Application section, follow the prompts to submit your application.
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.
Submitting the application as the research administrator
When you receive an application submitted by an NPI at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. By submitting it, you are confirming that:
- the participants meet the eligibility requirements; and
- the proposed research project meets the eligibility requirements.
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 if there are 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.
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, before 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.
If you have questions:
- about the NFRF program, contact NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca; or
- about the Convergence Portal, contact the Online Services Helpdesk at email@example.com or 613-995-4273.
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