The federal government is replacing the Networks of Centres of Excellence with a new five-year $275-million program targeted toward high-risk, disruptive research and innovation outcomes.
The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)
was announced by Science Minister Kirsty Ducan Dec. 6. The new funding program was recommended by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee that was formed in 2017 to develop greater harmonization, integration and coordination of research-programs and policies between the Tri-Council research funding agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
The NFRF's first tranche of funding will support approximately 75 two-year "Exploration" grants of $250,000 each.
Notices of Intent to apply are due Jan. 11, 2019
. The Exploration grant is being managed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support early career principal investigators using unconventional interdisciplinary research approaches or ideas for high-risk and high-reward investigations not otherwise supportable from normal Tri-Council or CFI grants. The awards are not restricted to any particular disciplinary focus.
Larger funding opportunities are expected to be announced under the NFRF's "Transformation" and "International" competitions.
The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) were launched in 1988 to fund large collaborations of Canadian researchers with renewable 5-7 year grants, typically ranging from $15 million to more than $30 million. Networks funded under the 30-year-old NCE program included AllerGen, ArcticNet, AUTO 21, Canadian Frailty Network, Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations, Canadian Institute for Telecommunications Research, Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, MEOPAR, Micronet, Canadian Stroke Network, Stem Cell Network and the Ultra Deep Mining Network.