2020 Horizon Global Platform Competition


Registration deadline Two weeks after the Horizon 2020 application deadline for an eligible call to which an application you were part of was submitted
Application deadline One month after the review results from a Horizon 2020 call are communicated to the project team
Value Maximum of C$125,000 per year (including indirect costs) per project
Duration Up to four years
Competition budget $10,000,000 over four years
Number of grants Number of awards depends on the amounts requested in successful applications; a minimum of 20 grants will be awarded
How to apply All applicants must submit a registration and application
For more information See Frequently Asked Questions or email NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca

It is important to read all material related to the competition to ensure that submissions are complete.

Please consult this section regularly for updates on the 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition, including information about webinars.

COVID-19 update

Some of the deadlines for the 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition have been extended in response to the European Union’s changes to deadlines. The deadlines listed in the table on the competition page are the current deadlines for the 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition. Note that these are the deadlines for submission to the agency by the research administrators; institutions may have earlier internal deadlines.


Registration stage

For applicants and research administrators:
Date Time Language
February 27 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join webinar

There are a limited number of attendee spots per session. Institutions are strongly encouraged to arrange group webinar sessions for their researchers. Links to join the webinar will be available approximately one hour before the scheduled start time. Webinars will be recorded and presentations will be made available following the session.

The objective of the International stream is to support international research collaborations and position Canada and Canadian researchers as strategic partners at the international level. This is achieved through two mechanisms. The first mechanism involves joint calls with international agencies on topics of international relevance. The second mechanism funds the participation of Canadian researchers on international research projects supported by major global platforms.

The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition falls under the second mechanism by providing funding for Canadian researchers who are partners on successful projects funded through eligible calls under Horizon 2020.

NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grants are valued at up to $125,000 per year (including indirect costs) for a maximum of four years. The duration of the grant must not exceed the duration of the Horizon 2020 grant.

The maximum budget for the direct costs related to the research project is $100,000 per year. Applicants must request a budget (value and duration) commensurate with the requirements for their participation in the international research project. Eligible expenses related to the direct costs of research are outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration with exceptions for this program noted in the Use of Grant Funds.

The objective of NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grants is to support Canadian researchers’ participation in international projects. Therefore, funds should be used primarily to support research activities and travel, and not for the acquisition of major infrastructure (more than $7,000) or maintenance of infrastructure. It is expected that Horizon 2020 grant funds will also be used to support the involvement of Canadian participants, insomuch as the costs are eligible (e.g., to support travel costs for trainees).

Applicants may also add up to 25% of the value of the direct costs of research to cover indirect costs and include this in the total funding request. This portion of the award must only be used to pay for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website.

A Canadian researcher or research team can submit only one application per funded Horizon 2020 project. It is important to note that the eligibility requirements for NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grants are not necessarily the same as for Horizon 2020.

It is expected that the Canadian researcher or research team will be an integral part of the larger Horizon 2020 research team that was awarded a grant. As such, and to demonstrate their importance to the project as a whole, the nominated principal investigator (NPI) and/or their primary affiliation, as defined below, must be a signing partner on the Consortium Agreement for the Horizon 2020 project.

Nominated Principal Investigator

The NPI:

  • completes and submits the registration and application, and submits it to the agencies;
  • assumes the administrative and financial responsibility for the grant; and
  • receives all related correspondence from the agencies.

The NPI must be considered an independent researcher at their primary affiliation—which is defined as the primary organization where the NPI is employed or appointed or where they conduct research.

An independent researcher is an individual who:

  • engages in research-related activities that are not under the direction of another individual; and
  • has an academic or research appointment that:
    • allows the individual to pursue the proposed research project, to engage in independent research activities for the entire duration of the funding, to supervise trainees (if applicable, as per their institution’s policy) and to publish the research results; and
    • obliges the individual to comply with institutional policies concerning the conduct of research, the supervision of trainees (if applicable) and the employment conditions of staff paid with tri-agency funding.

Students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and similar positions are not eligible to apply as NPIs.

The NPI’s primary affiliation must be with a Canadian institution that currently has full institutional eligibility with one of the agencies (see the lists of eligible institutions for CIHRNSERC or SSHRC).

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 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 needed.

Co-principal Investigators

Co-principal investigators (co-PIs) include all other Canadian researchers named on the same Horizon 2020 project who may access NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grant funds.

Co-PIs must be considered independent researchers at their primary affiliation—which is defined as the primary organization where the individual is employed or appointed or where they conduct research. Therefore, students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates are not eligible to apply as co-PIs.

The co-PIs’ primary affiliation must be with a Canadian institution that currently has full institutional eligibility with one of the federal research funding agencies (see the lists of eligible institutions for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC).

Subject Matter (Fit to Program)

Projects funded through the following Horizon 2020 calls are eligible for the NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform competition. The NFRF program selected these calls because they align with its objective to support research that is interdisciplinary, high risk, international and fast-breaking. The selected research and innovation calls have a deadline no earlier than January 2020 and fall into two categories:

  1. are specifically targeted by the European Union (EU) for international collaboration (as identified by the EU); or
  2. involve research topics that cross tri-agency disciplinary boundaries within the Societal Challenges pillar of Horizon 2020.

Applicants who feel a call with a start year of 2020 not listed below fits within one of the seven focus challenges under the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges section may submit a request for an exception. In their request they must explain how they plan to address the interdisciplinarity requirement and include cross-sectoral interactions in their project. Projects funded through earlier competitions of Horizon 2020 are not eligible for an exception.

Title Call Number Call deadline
Network and traffic management for future mobility MG-2-11-2020 2020-01-09
Understanding and mitigating the effects on public health of emerging non-regulated nanoparticle emissions issues and noise LC-MG-1-14-2020 2020-01-09
Emerging challenges for soil management SFS-21-2020 2020-01-22
Forest Fires risk reduction LC-CLA-15-2020 2020-02-13
Understanding the transition to a circular economy and its implications on the environment, economy and society CE-SC5-25-2020 2020-02-13
Scientific data exploitation SPACE-30-SCI-2020 2020-03-05
Curation of digital assets and advanced digitisation DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-12-2018-2020 2020-03-12
Inclusive and innovative practices for the integration of recently arrived migrants in local communities MIGRATION-04-2020 2020-03-12
The Common Foreign and Security Policy and the expanding scope of the EU's external engagement SU-GOVERNANCE-07-2020 2020-03-12
Transformative impact of disruptive technologies in public services DT-TRANSFORMATIONS-02-2018-2019-2020 2020-03-12
Hands-on citizen science and frugal innovation SwafS-27-2020 2020-04-23
Taking stock and re-examining the role of science communication SwafS-19-2018-2019-2020 2020-04-23
Advanced research methods and tools in support of transport/mobility researchers, planners and policy makers MG-4-8-2020 2020-04-28
Towards global environmental regulation of supersonic aviation LC-MG-1-15-2020 2020-04-28
Towards sustainable urban air mobility MG-3-6-2020 2020-04-28
Combined clean biofuel production and phytoremediation solutions from contaminated lands worldwide LC-SC3-RES-37-2020 2020-04-28
Addressing low vaccine uptake SC1-BHC-33-2020 2020-06-04
Digital diagnostics – developing tools for supporting clinical decisions by integrating various diagnostic data SC1-BHC-06-2020 2020-06-04
Micro- and nano-plastics in our environment: Understanding exposures and impacts on human health SC1-BHC-36-2020 2020-06-04
Accelerating the uptake of computer simulations for testing medicines and medical devices SC1-DTH-06-2020 2020-06-18
International cooperation in smart living environments for ageing people SC1-DTH-04-2020 2020-06-18
Personalised early risk prediction, prevention and intervention based on Artificial Intelligence and Big Data technologies SC1-DTH-02-2020 2020-06-18
Human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects for disaster-resilient societies SU-DRS01-2018-2019-2020 2020-08-27
Human factors, and social, societal, and organisational aspects to solve issues in fighting against crime and terrorism SU-FCT01-2018-2019-2020 2020-08-27
International cooperation with Canada on advanced biofuels and bioenergy LC-SC3-RES-36-2020 2020-09-01
Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) aspects of the Clean-Energy Transition LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020 2020-09-01
Improving road safety by effectively monitoring working patterns and overall fitness of drivers MG-2-12-2020 first stage: 2020-01-09;
second stage: 2020-09-08
Bio-based industries leading the way in turning carbon dioxide emissions into chemicals LC-FNR-13-2020 first stage: 2020-01-22;
second stage: 2020-09-08
Fisheries in the full ecosystem context BG-10-2020 first stage: 2020-01-22;
second stage: 2020-09-08
Plastics in the environment: understanding the sources, transport, distribution and impacts of plastics pollution CE-SC5-30-2020 first stage: 2020-02-12;
second stage: 2020-09-03
Polar climate: understanding the polar processes in a global context in the Arctic and Antarctic regions LC-CLA-17-2020 first stage: 2020-02-13;
second stage: 2020-09-03
Strengthening international collaboration: enhanced natural treatment solutions for water security and ecological quality in cities SC5-27-2020 first stage: 2020-02-13;
second stage: 2020-09-03
Supporting the implementation of GEOSS in the Arctic in collaboration with COPERNICUS LC-CLA-20-2020 first stage: 2020-02-13;
second stage: 2020-09-03
Understanding climate-water-energy-food nexus and streamlining water-related policies LC-CLA-14-2020 first stage: 2020-02-13;
second stage: 2020-09-13


Grant holders are expected to report on the use of grant funds during the grant period and on outcomes. NPIs of successful applications are informed of reporting requirements when they are notified of the award.

To apply for an NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grant, Canadian participants on eligible Horizon 2020 calls must submit their registration form by February 27, 2020, or within two weeks of the Horizon 2020 deadline for their call, whichever is later. This is a mandatory step in the application process.

Applicants must complete the registration form and application using the Convergence Portal, following the accompanying registration and application submission guides.

Registrations or applications that are received after the deadline or that are incomplete will be withdrawn from the competition. Please note that registrations and applications are submitted to the research administrator (research grants office [RGO] or equivalent) of the NPI’s primary affiliation. Research administrators are free to set their own internal deadlines. The RGO must submit the applications through the Convergence Portal before the applicable deadlines.

Date Milestone(s)
January 30, 2019 Opening of competition
January to September 2020 Registration deadlines (depend on deadlines for Horizon 2020 calls)
May 2020 to February 2021 Deadlines to submit NFRF applications (depend on notification of awards by Horizon 2020)
July 2020 to May 2021 Award results released
August 2020 to June 2021 Start date of award (conditional upon confirmation of signed grant agreement with Horizon 2020)


Working with our EU partners, we have developed an approach that builds off the Horizon 2020 review process. In this approach, applicants will be required to submit a NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform registration form within two weeks of the Horizon 2020 deadline. Once applicants receive the results of the Horizon 2020 competition, those who are successful will have one month to submit a NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform application package.

The application will then be reviewed and assessed as “fundable” or “not fundable.” Those that are deemed “fundable” for NFRF support will receive a conditional award. Upon receipt of confirmation that a grant agreement has been signed with Horizon 2020 for the project and a Consortium agreement signed with the partners, the condition will be met and the funds can be released.

It is not the intent of the NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform program to re-evaluate submissions for scientific merit, as this will already have been accomplished through the Horizon 2020 review process. Rather, eligibility for funding through the NFRF program will be assessed against three specific selection criteria (explained in the next section). The research project will not be reviewed in detail since it will be evaluated fully by the Horizon 2020 program. Research conducted in Canada and led by Canadian researchers, however, is expected to have integrated Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) considerations and to undertake activities related to Indigenous research according to guidelines, where appropriate, as described below. The agencies may ask for additional information from applicants regarding proposed research to ensure that it conforms to these expectations.


Indigenous Research

SSHRC’s Indigenous Research Statement of Principles and Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research were developed to ensure that the merit review of Indigenous research upholds SSHRC’s principles for merit review. Reviewers will use these guidelines in their assessments; applicants are also encouraged to use them in the development of their proposals and the preparation of their applications.

Gender-based Analysis Plus

GBA+ is used to assess the potential impact that identity factors, such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability, may have on the experience of the individual. These considerations must be integrated into the research design, when appropriate. The purpose of GBA+ is to promote rigorous research that is sensitive to sex and gender as well as many other identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability. Applicants and reviewers should refer to Status of Women Canada’s information on GBA+ as well as the Sex- and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) section of the CIHR website for definitions of sex, gender, SGBA and GBA+, as well as information on applying GBA+ and SGBA to the development and assessment of research proposals.

Selection Criteria

This section provides an overview of the three selection criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals submitted to the NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform opportunity.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Early Career Researchers

To ensure the greatest innovation and successful outcomes, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a core element of the NFRF program. In the context of the NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform, the EDI criterion also includes consideration of early career researchers (ECRs).

The applicant(s) must demonstrate a commitment to EDI by meaningfully engaging members of underrepresented groups, including the four designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities) on the project team (including other researchers and trainees). The meaningful integration of all members in the project team is required, with concrete measures put in place to support their integration and leadership development, where appropriate.

The NFRF Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research provides guidance on how to implement approaches that support EDI and information on how this criterion is assessed for submissions to all NFRF programs. While the guide does not specifically reference ECRs, the best practices can be extended to ensure that ECRs are provided equal opportunities and are meaningfully integrated into research projects.

About privacy and confidentiality

When completing the EDI sections of the NFRF application, applicants must protect the privacy and confidentiality of all team members. How an individual self-identifies is considered personal and confidential information, and should not be disclosed without that person’s consent.

Do not provide information about the composition of the research team in a way that can identify any of its team members’ personal information (e.g., Dr. X is a member of a visible minority).

Instead, give clear examples of concrete, specific initiatives and measures the team has taken to realize its EDI goals (see the examples provided in the best practices guide).

Including personal or self-identity information about any team member may result in your application being withdrawn from the competition.

High Reward

For NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform applications, the evaluation of the potential for high reward will consider the benefits to Canada, in terms of project outcomes and increasing recognition of Canadian expertise and talent on a world stage.


For NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform applications, the evaluation of feasibility will only consider the budget justification. The budget should be limited to research-related expenses for the Canadian participants and demonstrate leveraging of the Horizon 2020 project budget for the Canadian team (support of students and postdoctoral fellows, participation in meetings, access to infrastructure, travel, etc.)

Competition Stages

The registration will only be used for administrative purposes.

The NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform application will be reviewed and evaluated against each criterion by a review panel on a pass/fail basis. Applications that pass all three selection criteria will be considered “fundable.” If demand is higher than available funds, fundable applications could be selected according to strategic priorities and in consideration of the ranking of the proposals by Horizon 2020 for each call.

Internal Review

Any submissions that do not meet the program's eligibility requirements and application guidelines will be withdrawn from the competition.

Review Process

Each application will be assessed by the internal review panel. All panel members will have completed unconscious bias training prior to reviewing applications. In the event that demand exceeds the available budget, an alternative review process involving an external review panel may need to be implemented.

Members will have access to all information submitted and will assess the proposal according to the following selection criteria:

  • EDI and ECR (pass/fail)
  • high reward (pass/fail)
  • feasibility (pass/fail)

Applications must pass all three criteria in order to be deemed fundable. A recommendation as to which applications should be funded, conditional upon confirmation of funding through Horizon 2020, will then be submitted to the Steering Committee (see below).

A final confirmation of project funding by Horizon 2020 (i.e., signed Grant Agreement and Consortium Agreement) is required to satisfy the condition on the NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grant before funds can be transferred.

Steering Committee

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee is the Steering Committee for the NFRF program. The committee ensures that the evaluation process is rigorous, objective and transparent, in keeping with the standards of excellence expected by the agencies and consistent with the program’s objectives. The committee also makes decisions regarding which applications to fund based on the recommendations of the review panel.

Communication of Results

All applicants will be provided with the notice of decision and a summary of the evaluation of their application.

All applicants and grant holders must comply with the Regulations Governing Grant Applications and with the regulations set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Grant holders must also comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications (see Open Access overview for more information). Researchers are encouraged to manage data arising from their research in accordance with community standards and best practices (see also the Tri-Agency policies and guidelines on Research Data Management).

Recipients of SSHRC funding must comply with SSHRC's Policy on Intellectual Property and Copyright.

Use of Grant Funds

The information provided below explains to grant holders and research administrators the regulations governing the use of NFRF grant funds. They supersede all previous statements on grant regulations.

The NFRF program uses the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration as the general guidelines for eligibility of expenses and use of funds related to the direct costs of research. Exceptions to those policies for NFRF 2020 Horizon Global Platform grants are noted below. (Rules regarding the use of the indirect costs portion of the grant can be found on the Research Support Fund website.)

Compensation-Related Expenses in Eligible Canadian Colleges Only

The following are eligible salary expenses only for NPIs, co-PIs and co-applicants affiliated with an eligible Canadian college:

  • salary for research activities of a part-time faculty member holding a contract of less than three years with the institution (the total salary support [part-time salary plus NFRF grant salary support] cannot exceed that of a full-time faculty member, when calculated on an annual and hourly basis);
  • salaries and nondiscretionary benefits for technical and professional staff carrying out research and technology and/or for knowledge transfer personnel (salaries and nondiscretionary benefits for research administrators and business development personnel are not eligible);
  • limited costs for course load reduction for the replacement of faculty to support their involvement in funded research projects (up to $9,000 per course load reduction per semester per faculty, or the equivalent of a 0.1 full-time equivalent position); and
  • college student salaries, including nondiscretionary benefits or stipends, to support students’ involvement in research projects.

Residual Balances

All grants paid are deemed to have a primary holder, namely the NPI whose name appears on the award notice.

Any NFRF funds remaining at the end of the Authority to Use Funds period must be returned to SSHRC. When unspent funds are returned, the cheque, payable to the Receiver General, must be accompanied by a signed Form 300, indicating an unspent balance in the same amount as the refund.

Terms and Conditions

The agencies reserve the right to:

  • determine the eligibility of applications, based on the information provided;
  • interpret the regulations and policies governing its funding opportunities;
  • apply conditions to individual grants; and
  • alter, without advance notice, the terms and conditions of grant awards—any and all major changes in regulations will be announced promptly.

For more information, contact NFRF-FNFR@chairs-chaires.gc.ca.

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