University Research Services

University Research Services
University Research Services

Early Researcher Awards (ERA)

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The funds are to be used over a period of 5 years to fund eligible expenses for a research team of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians.

Each award to a leading researcher is a maximum of $100,000 and must be matched by an additional $50,000 from the researcher’s institution and/or a partner organization. In addition, up to $40,000 will be provided by the Ministry to the institution for indirect costs. It is important to note that Early Researcher Award (ERA) is not alternative funding, it is complementary to existing funding.


The $100,000 from the ERA and the $50,000 matching contribution will cover the following expenses for undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians carrying out the research in Ontario at an eligible institution:
  • salaries and benefits
  • essential and reasonable travel and expenses related to conferences, workshops or seminars
  • essential and reasonable travel and expenses related directly to offsite research activities
  • the amount paid to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows must be in keeping with the levels established by other award programs. Salaries must be commensurate with institutional remuneration scales. Undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians must be based in Ontario.


Eligible applicants are those who:
  • are a full-time faculty member or principal investigator at an eligible research institution
  • have started their academic career on or after January 1, 2014 *
  • have completed their first Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Medical Doctor or terminal degree on or after January 1, 2009 *
  • have not already held an Early Researcher Award
  • are not a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair

* The dates are subject to extension in case of eligible interruptions. By eligible interruptions, the program means the times that the applicant could not be able to pursue active research, such as parental leave, continued education, and required training (i.e. required medical training and fellowships). Research Associate positions and post-doctoral fellowships are not deemed as eligible interruptions.  Applicants must provide details in Section 8d of the application to document eligible interruptions.  Failure to provide information will result in the application being deemed ineligible.


To be competitive, researchers are encouraged to be actively involved in conducting research that has been supported by peer-reviewed funding and to demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors.  Applicants must demonstrate strategic value to Ontario (i.e. economic, social, cultural benefits, knowledge transfer, and/or ability to enhance Ontario's profile in the global academic community.
Three Letters of Reference are required; 2 from arms' length sources.  Reference letters MUST be sent to University Research Services for submission to the Ministry.  Please view the sample templates in the Useful Links section below to assist with soliciting reference letters and information on submitting the letters to our office.

Ontario Early Researcher Awards (ERA) 2019:


Step 1: Notify University Research Services of your intent to apply to Round 15 of the Early Researcher Award Program prior to June 26, 2019 by completing our internal Eligibility Pre-Screening Form to assist our unit in gauging eligibility and coordinating the application process.
Step 2: Upon completion of our review of your Pre-Screening Form, our office will distribute internal guidelines and templates to assist with the application process (we will aim to circulate materials prior to July 5, 2019).
Please note: The formatting requirements outlined by the Ministry are strictly adhered to, and failure to follow the formatting instructions may result in the application being deemed ineligible.  The Ministry guidelines (see Useful Links below) outline the formatting requirements for preparing your application and appendices (see Preparing Your Application in the Ministry Guidelines).  A customized CV is required with specific formatting requirements, which are laid out in the Preparing Your Application section as well.  The CV is attached to your application as Appendix C.

Useful Links: