2024 Transformation: How to Submit a Letter of Intent to Apply


This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the 2024 Transformation Competition overview.

Your letter of intent to apply (LOI) must be received by 8:00 p.m. (eastern) on the deadline date.

The research administrator at your institution is responsible for submitting your LOI. Your institution may have earlier internal deadlines. Check with your research administrator regarding internal deadlines for your institution.

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 LOI.

You must have submitted a notice of intent to apply (NOI) by the deadline to be eligible to create and submit an LOI.

You must complete the LOI using the Convergence Portal. The portal is supported only on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. The portal may appear to function in other browsers, but technical problems can occur, such as information being improperly captured in the system without the user being aware. Use of an unsupported browser is strongly discouraged. Follow the instructions provided in the Convergence Portal to complete and submit your LOI. The information required to complete the LOI is outlined below.

The NPI must complete all sections of the LOI in the Convergence Portal and submit it via their institution’s research administrator. The co-PIs and co-applicants must each complete their own profile before the NPI submits the LOI to their research administrator. Team members will be able to see all sections of the LOI but will not have edit access.

It is the responsibility of the NPI to verify the page lengths and formatting of any uploaded attachments. 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contain one or more attachments that do not comply with the page length or formatting standard, the application may be withdrawn from the competition.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 following information is required to complete an LOI:

  1. Profiles for any additional members of the research team

    Complete profiles include (see the NOI guide for more detail):

    1. completed eligibility profile
    2. fields of research and keywords
    3. equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) self-identification

    After co-PIs and co-applicants have completed their profile, they will be listed in the Participants screen with a status of “Eligible.” While a participant’s status may show as “Accepted” in the List of Invitations, a status of “Pending eligibility” in the Participants screen indicates that they have not completed their profile.

    Note: While additional members may be added, those identified at the NOI stage are expected to remain part of the project team.

  2. Letter of intent to apply content

    This includes all information submitted in the NOI (updated as necessary), as well as:

    1. Any changes to the list of collaborators (additions or deletions)

      Collaborators do not need to create an account in the Convergence Portal.

    2. Suggested reviewers (minimum of 20) and reviewer exclusions (if applicable)

      Provide a list of suggested reviewers who may be contacted to review your proposal at the application stage. These individuals should have the required expertise to review and comment on the proposal and should 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. At least 10 reviewers must be from outside Canada.

      Indicate any individuals who should not be asked to review the proposal.

    3. Budget table

      Enter the planned amount of funds to be spent in each category (direct and indirect costs) for each year of the project. Please contact your research administrator for direction regarding how much to request for indirect costs.

    4. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research design (EDI-RD) (referred to as GBA+ in previous Transformation competitions)

      Indicate whether EDI considerations are appropriate for the project and whether they have been integrated into the proposed research. If the team believes no EDI considerations are applicable to the research design, provide a rationale for this. These fields must be completed before your application can be submitted. This section must adhere to the requirements for double-anonymous review.

    5. Equity, diversity and inclusion in research practice (EDI-RP) (referred to as EDI in previous Transformation competitions)

      Applications must not include any self-identifying information about members of the research team in the EDI-RP section, but you may include information that reveals team members’ 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 more details.

      Applicants may draw on institutional EDI policies and practices where these exist, but they must be tailored to the particular context of the fields and teams involved. Applicants are encouraged to be specific and concise.

      In this section, provide the following:

      1. information about the team’s 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 elements (character limit: 250):
        1. team composition and recruitment processes;
        2. training and development opportunities; and
        3. inclusion

        For each, a brief explanation must be provided, including 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).

        Information that reveals team members’ affiliations (including departments, lab groups, etc.) may be included in this section, if relevant.

      3. Support of early career researchers (ECRs)

        Explain how ECRs will be included in the team and integrated in a meaningful way, including plans to support their leadership and development throughout the project.

      4. Supporting documents—each of these documents is uploaded as a separate attachment following the instructions for attachments, with page limits as noted:
        1. Research proposal (including diagrams and illustrations: maximum 10 pages if written in English; maximum 12 pages if written in French)

          The research proposal should address the points below. Ensure you use language that can be understood by a multidisciplinary committee. The allocation of space and the order are not prescribed. The use of headings is highly encouraged.

          • Novelty of approach

            Explain the approach and how it differs from other approaches taken to address the challenge. Provide a rationale why this approach is likely to succeed.

          • Interdisciplinarity

            Describe the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed approach.

            Explain who will bring the different disciplinary perspectives to the project and how they will be integrated.

          • Feasibility

            Provide a brief overview of the methodological plan. Indicate how EDI-RD considerations impacted the proposed plan (or provide a justification of why they were not considered).

            Indicate where or how the team will access any needed infrastructure (if applicable).

            Present a synopsis of the strength of the research team, demonstrating the expertise available on the team.

          • Anticipated transformation/change/impact

            Describe the anticipated impact of the proposed work and the significance of the change.

            Specify the likelihood that the impact will be realized and provide an explanation.

            Detail the short-term and long-term benefits that will be realized.

        2. References (unlimited)

          Applicants are strongly encouraged to include only the main references required to support the proposal.

Note: The following sections in Convergence Portal will be locked and cannot be modified at the full application stage:

  • Application Details
    • Application Title
    • Language of Application
    • Indigenous Research
    • Suggested reviewers and reviewer exclusions (if applicable)
  • Fields of Research
  • Keywords
  • Project Description
  • EDI-RD
  • EDI-RP
  • Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

Review your LOI to ensure that it is complete. From the Finalize Application section in the Convergence Portal, follow the prompts to submit the LOI. 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 it to you.

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

When you receive an LOI submitted by an NPI at your institution, you will be asked to approve the application and submit it. Before being able to forward the application, the administrator, on behalf of the institution, will be required to confirm that:

  • 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, 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.

By submitting the application, the research administrator, on behalf of the institution, will again be certifying that the NPI:

  • is (or will be) 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 or collaborators.

If you have questions:

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