2023 International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Additional Information

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The co-principal investigators (co-PIs) in each project team must represent a minimum of three countries and be eligible to receive funds from at least two Consortium Partners. At least one co-PI must be eligible to apply to the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) program. By default, the NFRF-eligible co-PI will be the nominated co-principal investigator (NPI) and will be responsible for initiating the application in the Convergence Portal.

Nominated co-principal investigator

The NPI is responsible for:

  • directing the project and coordinating proposed research activities, in conjunction with the co-PIs;
  • initiating the notice of intent to apply (NOI) and full application and submitting them through the research administrator at their institution;
  • assuming administrative and financial responsibility for the NFRF grant; and
  • receiving all related correspondence from the research funding agencies related to the NFRF grant.

The NPI must be considered an independent researcher at their primary affiliation. A primary affiliation is defined as the primary organization at which an individual is employed, appointed or conducts 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:
    • commences by the full application deadline;
    • allows the individual to pursue the proposed research project, engage in independent research activities for the entire duration of the funding, supervise trainees (if applicable, as per the institution’s policy), and publish the research results; and
    • obliges the individual to comply with institutional policies on the conduct of research, supervision of trainees (if applicable) and employment conditions of staff who are paid using tri-agency funding.

Individuals who are full- or part-time students, postdoctoral fellows or research associates are not eligible to apply as NPIs, regardless of whether they also meet the definition of an independent researcher.

The NPI’s primary affiliation must be with a Canadian institution currently holding full institutional eligibility with one of the federal research funding agencies. See the list of eligible institutions for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) or Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (the agencies).

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 applicants’ institutions to initiate this process, as appropriate.

Co-principal investigators and co-applicants

Co-PIs share responsibility with the NPI for directing the proposed project. The research activities of co-PIs who are not eligible to receive funding from a Consortium Partner may be supported by NFRF funds.

Co-applicants contribute to executing the research project. NFRF funds may also be used to support their research activities, if they are ineligible to receive support from a Consortium Partner.

Co-PIs from a country whose research funding organization is a Consortium Partner must meet the eligibility criteria of that Partner. The rules that follow apply only to those members of the project team who are not eligible to receive funds from or be supported by a Consortium Partner.

Co-PIs and co-applicants whose research activities will be supported by NFRF funds can be practitioners, policy-makers, educators, decision-makers, healthcare administrators, Indigenous Elders, Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, patients, community leaders, individuals working for a charity, and a range of other individuals. Researchers and professors must be considered independent researchers to be eligible as an NFRF-supported co-PI or a co-applicant.

The NFRF-supported co-PIs’ and co-applicants’ affiliation may be with a Canadian postsecondary institution, a Canadian institution or organization that does not have full institutional eligibility with one of the three federal funding agencies, or an international institution outside of Canada. However, it may not be a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. For all team members, eligible expenses are limited to those related to the execution of the project that are not within the mandate of the individual’s organization of employment.

As per the tri-agency policy on the use of funds for federal government employees applying to funding agency programs, a federal government employee who is formally affiliated with a Canadian academic institution as an adjunct professor is eligible to be a collaborator. In cases where students registered at the academic institution and formally supervised by the adjunct professor will be participating in the research project, the adjunct professor is eligible to be a co-applicant. In such cases, the use of funds is limited to salaries or stipends and travel costs for the students under the adjunct professor’s supervision. Adjunct professors are also eligible to be co-PIs or co-applicants in exceptional cases where their planned contributions to the project do not fall within the mandate of their federal organization and will not be performed within their employer’s facilities or with their employer’s resources.

Individuals whose primary affiliation is with an Indigenous government are eligible to be NFRF-supported co-PIs, co-applicants or collaborators.

Individuals indirectly employed by a federal, provincial or municipal government (e.g., employees in police services, education or health care) are eligible to be co-applicants.

Students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates are not eligible to participate as an NFRF-supported co-PI or co-applicant.


Collaborators contribute to executing research activities. Their research activities are generally not eligible to be supported by NFRF funds.

Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible institution. Any individual who will contribute to the project is eligible to be a collaborator.

Collaborators may include individuals affiliated with a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. They may also be affiliated with a Canadian or international organization.

Any individual whose contributions to the project will be supervised by the NPI, co-PI, co-applicant and/or another collaborator cannot be considered a collaborator.

Early career researcher

For the NFRF-supported members of the research team, an early career researcher (ECR) is a researcher within five years from the start date of their first research-related appointment, minus the length of any eligible delays in research (e.g., illness, maternity, parental leave) as of the first of the month in which the competition is launched (January 1, 2023 for this competition), where:

  • “research-related appointments” are defined as those where an individual has the autonomy to conduct research independently;
  • all eligible leaves (e.g., maternity, parental, medical, bereavement) are credited at twice the amount of time taken; and
  • professional leaves (e.g., training, sabbatical, administrative) are not credited.

Research interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., closures) are recognized as, and may be counted as, an eligible delay (credited at twice the amount of time) beginning March 1, 2020.

If a first academic appointment was a part-time appointment/position, years of experience are counted at 50%, until the researcher’s appointment to a full-time academic position.

All applications are encouraged to meaningfully integrate ECRs into the project team.

Value and duration

The maximum budget for the direct costs of the research project is CA$400,000 per year, for up to three years. Awards are for three-year grants and are eligible for an automatic one-year extension. Grantees will have four years to complete their projects and spend grant funds. Applicants may, in addition, request up to 25% of the value of the direct costs of research to cover indirect costs and include this in their total funding request, for a maximum grant value of CA$500,000 per year. Indirect costs funding must be used only to pay for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website. The indirect costs component of each NFRF award is included in the award value; it is not in addition to it.

Regulations, policies and related information

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, in accordance with both community standards and best practices, data arising from their research (see also the tri-agency policies and guidelines on Research Data Management).

Recipients of funding must comply with SSHRC’s Intellectual Property and Copyright policy.

Use of grant funds

The information below explains to grant holders and research administrators the regulations governing use of NFRF grant funds. These 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 these policies for grants are noted below. If unsure about the eligibility of a particular expense, contact the NFRF team. Rules for the indirect costs portion of the grant can be found on the Research Support Fund website.

Compensation-related expenses

Research expenses

Grant funds must be used to support research activities related to the project. For co-PIs and co-applicants who are not academic researchers, eligible expenses are limited to those related to the project activities that are not within the mandate of the individual’s organization of employment.


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 of part-time salary plus NFRF grant salary support cannot exceed that for a full-time faculty member at the institution, when calculated on an annual or 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 toward course load reduction, for replacement of faculty to support faculty members’ involvement in the research project (up to $9,000 per course load reduction per semester per faculty, or the equivalent of 0.1 full-time-equivalent positions); and
  • college student salaries, including nondiscretionary benefits or stipends, to support students’ involvement in the research project.

Termination of a grant

The research funding agencies will terminate a grant when the grantee no longer holds an eligible position at an eligible institution, unless the grant is transferred to an eligible co-PI or co-applicant. It is at the agencies’ sole discretion to allow such a transfer. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about grant transfers.

Steering Committee

The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic direction and oversight for the NFRF and serves as the high-level steering committee for the fund. As a tri-agency program, program oversight is delegated to the NFRF Steering Committee, which includes the presidents of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC, and the deputy ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Health Canada. The NFRF Steering Committee makes decisions regarding which applications to fund based on the review panel’s recommendations. It also ensures 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.

Communication of results

Applicants will be informed of competition results via the Convergence Portal. In addition to the notice of decision, all applicants will be provided a summary of the evaluation of their application (ratings by criterion). For more details about the review process, see the Review Process.

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