2023 Exploration: Full application guide


This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the information provided in the 2023 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 research 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.

Applicants and research administrators are encouraged to attend one of the webinars to learn about the Exploration application process. Webinars are recorded and made available to research grants offices after the initial session.

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 research team members (co-PIs and co-applicants) must each complete their own profile in the Portal before the NPI submits the application. Research team members, excluding the NPI, 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 attachments uploaded to the application. If a submitted application contains one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.

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 e within the Convergence Portal.

  1. 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.

  2. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research design (EDI in research design)

    Indicate if EDI considerations are applicable to the research design of the project, and whether they have been integrated into the methodological approaches as described in the research proposal. If the team believes no EDI considerations are applicable to the research design, provide a rationale for this in this section. You must complete these fields before your application can be submitted.

  3. 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 submitting an Impact Assessment Form (Appendix A) as part of your 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.

  4. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice (EDI in research practice)

    Applications must not include any self-identifying information about the research team, including in the EDI in research practice section, but you may include information that reveals their affiliations, including departments, lab groups, etc. 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 details.

    Applicants may draw on institutional EDI policies and practices where these exist, but this information must be tailored to the particular context of the fields and teams involved in the project. Applicants should concisely describe concrete EDI practices specific to the project.

    In this section, provide

    1. information about the team’s (including trainees’) specific circumstances related to EDI, including identification of structural biases that could affect members of underrepresented groups (character limit: 2,500);
    2. the best practices that will be applied for each of the following (character limit: 250):
      • team composition and recruitment processes;
      • training and development opportunities; and
      • inclusion

      For each practice, briefly explain 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 (character limit: 2,500).

  5. Supporting documents

    Upload each document as a separate attachment, with page limits as noted, following the instructions for attachments:

    1. Research proposal (maximum four pages if written in English; maximum 4.8 pages if in French)

      Applicants may structure their Research proposal as they see fit, but must address all elements of the merit criteria. Applying headings is not mandatory, but is suggested. In your attachment:

      • describe the proposed research project, providing a rationale for how it meets program expectations;
      • address, specifically, why the research should be considered high-risk and high-reward;
      • highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research, explaining why an interdisciplinary approach is needed and/or the added value it brings;
      • provide a concise overview of the research objectives, relating the proposal to current and relevant research, prior art or knowledge;
      • briefly describe the research team expertise, methodology and design, work plan and timeline and, if appropriate:
    2. Biographical information about the research team (maximum two pages if written in English; maximum 2.4 pages if written in French)

      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, collaborators and other team members, as applicable) and explain how their contributions will be coordinated and integrated.

      Information about yourself, your lab group and institution, as well as your research 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-identifying information may be included here, but only with their consent.

    3. Budget justification (maximum one page if written in English; maximum 1.2 pages if written in French)

      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. Securing other sources of funding is not expected for this funding opportunity. A breakdown of the indirect costs of research is not required and should not be included.

    4. Literature references (maximum five pages if written in English; maximum six pages if written in French)

      Provide a list of literature references cited in the application.

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.

Review your application to ensure it is accurate and 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 ask your research administrator to 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 and your application will not be returned to you.

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:

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