Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE)


The Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence (ORF-RE) provides research institutions with funding to support the operational costs of major projects of strategic value to the province.

The fund provides up to one-third of the total value of a project, with the remaining two-thirds coming from a combination of eligible private sector and institutional contributions.
The purpose of ORF-RE Round 12 is to accept applications from all research disciplines with priority research areas that support government initiatives. There are two application funding streams based on the Technology Readiness Level .

Stream 1: Basic and Applied Research

  • is open to all research disciplines
  • is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL)  of 1 or 2
  • funds projects from $500,000 to $2,000,000
  • funds projects up to a maximum of 5 years

Stream 2: Experimental Research

  • funds projects that demonstrate strong commercialization potential, where the innovation is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL)  of 3 or higher
  • requires collaboration with an Ontario-based company
  • funds projects from $300,000 to $2,000,000
  • funds projects up to a maximum of 4 years

Priority Research Areas that support Government Initiatives:
In this round of the program, the Ministry is accepting applications from all research disciplines with prioritized funding for the following areas of research:

Online information sessions

Register for a free online information session hosted by OMCU to learn more about ORF–RE Round 12 and how to complete your application. You can choose from 2 information sessions.

Event capacity is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve your spot today.

•   Registration for June 20, 2023 , 10:30 to 11:30 am ET (1 hour)
•   Registration for June 27, 2023 , 2:00 to 3:00 pm. ET (1 hour)

The application deadline for Round 12 is September 27, 2023.

Program guidelines, application forms for Stream 1 and Stream 2, and the mitigating risk form are now available for download from the OMCU Round 12 ORF-RE website .

  1. Peer Review Panels: The first stage of review is composed of multiple panels based on research discipline. The peer review panels score applicants on:
    • research excellence
    • commercialization potential (if applicable)
    • strategic value to Ontario
    • plan for achieving research impact
    • development of research talent
    • project management and governance

      Applicants will get a copy of the peer review panel’s comments.
  2. Research Security Review: The ministry has integrated research security assessments, developed in partnership with the Office of the Provincial Security Advisor (OPSA) at the Ministry of the Solicitor General, into all Ministry research funding programs. The panel recommended applications are forwarded to OPSA for research security related due diligence.
  3. Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board: ORFAB makes recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities based on the peer review panel recommendations.
  4. Minister Decision: The final funding decision rests with the Minister of Colleges and Universities. The Minister may approve applications, approve subject to terms and conditions, or decline applications at his/her sole discretion. Decisions are communicated by letter to the institution’s Vice President of Research or equivalent and the lead institutional contact provided on the application form. The ORF-RE program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program and funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Decisions are final and there is no appeal process, of decisions, and decisions regarding the eligibility of the application

(Based on Round 10 guidelines. Will be updated when Round 11 guidelines are made available.)

The ORF-RE grant can be used for the following:

  1. Direct costs
    • Salaries and benefits: claimed in proportion to the time spent working on the project
    • Other direct research costs: including, but not limited to, materials, fieldwork expenses, and dissemination of research.
    • Technology transfer/commercialization expenses (refer to Project Budget section in Ministry Guidelines)
    • Management and administration: up to 10% of total direct costs
    • Hospitality costs may be eligible where essential for networking purposes but must adhere to the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act – 2010
    • Facilities and equipment: up to 10% of total direct costs
  2. Indirect costs
    • Overhead costs associated with conducting the research project (max. 40% of direct costs)
  • Ineligible projects and cost include:
    • Clinical trials
    • Endowed research chairs or any other endowments
    • operating, facilities and/or equipment costs related to the operations of national research facilities (SNOLAB, high performance computing platforms, etc.) funded by CFI-MSI
    • Contract (fee for service) research
  • In addition, the ORF-RE grant is not to be used for the following:
    • Costs related to proposal development
    • Fees for use of equipment owned by the institution unless such fees are charged to all institutional users based on a published schedule
    • Costs related to existing facilities infrastructure improvements, not specifically related to the proposal and/or not included in the original application
    • Opportunity costs
    • Any items or services not directly related to the project costs associated with litigationAlcohol costs at hospitality events

July 4, 2023 or ASAP Email your intent to apply to Institutional Programs research projects advisor (jc290@queensu.ca). All interested applicants are required to meet with a Research Projects Advisor to discuss internal ORF-RE guidelines, the proposed research, the team, and partner contributions.
August 14, 2023 Internal deadline for completed budget (template will be provided).
August 21, 2023     Internal deadline to submit draft application, including letters of support and risk mitigation plan for review
September 6, 2023 Internal deadline for TRAQ DSS for hospital-based research
September 20, 2023 Internal deadline for TRAQ DSS for non-hospital-based 
September 22, 2023 Internal deadline for final application and risk 
September 27, 2023 External deadline – Institutional Programs will acquire Institutional signatures and submit applications ahead of this date.