Special Programs

Tri-agency offers special programs which are administered by the SSHRC on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC. The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) provides strategic oversight for those programs and approves awards. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) provides administration.

Support for researchers

New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF)

The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) program funds international, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking and high-risk research. Its three streams support ground-breaking research: Exploration, Transformation and International.

Exploration stream: generates opportunities for Canadians to conduct innovative high-risk / high-reward interdisciplinary research.

Transformation stream: provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research.

International stream: enhances opportunities for Canadian researchers to partner on international projects.

In addition, NFRF’s special calls support research that targets emerging areas and aligns with the fund’s overall objectives. The theme and timing of special calls are determined and approved by the Canada Research Coordinating Committee.


Support for institutions

Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)

The CFREF program supports competitively selected Canadian postsecondary institutions to become world-leading research centers and that they can achieve global success in research areas that create long-term social and economic advantages for Canada. It is intended to build on the capacity of world-class postsecondary institutions in Canada to recruit leading researchers, secure promising partnerships, and advance breakthrough discoveries.

Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF)

As part of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, CBRF is designed to strengthen research systems and the talent pipeline. It supports high-risk, applied research, training and talent development, as part of a suite of foundational investments to establish a resilient, robust domestic biomanufacturing sector in Canada. This fund contributes to the pipeline of new technologies and supports the translation of academic research into applications and commercial products.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program (CERC)

The CERC program awards Canadian universities award values of either $8 million or $4 million over eight years to support world‑renowned researchers and their teams to establish ambitious research programs at Canadian universities.

Canada Research Chairs Program

The Canada Research Chairs Program invests up to $311 million per year to help Canadian postsecondary institutions attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Click here for more information on McGill CRCs and how to apply.

Canada 150 Research Chairs Program

This C150 program provides Canadian institutions with a one-time investment to attract top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers to Canada. The program is now closed.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Institutional Capacity-Building Grant

The EDI Institutional Capacity-Building Grant program will help Canadian postsecondary institutions advance equity, diversity and inclusion policies, plans and training.

Research Support Fund

The Research Support Fund program helps Canadian postsecondary institutions cover the costs associated with managing their research enterprise, helping them to maintain a world-class research environment.

Canada Research Continuity Emergency Fund (CRCEF)

The CRCEF was announced on May 15, 2020, as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The temporary program has been established to help sustain the research enterprise at Canadian universities and health research institutions that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that the program will help reduce negative impacts of the pandemic and ensure that the benefits of significant investments to date in universities and health research institutions are protected.


For help with institution-wide and large-scale funding, please contact us.

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