CFI Innovation Fund: Internal Call for Letters of Intent (August 28 Internal Deadline)

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has released its call for proposals for the 2025 Innovation Fund (IF) with an external deadline of October 2, 2024.

Please note that Lakehead University’s Internal deadline for receipt of Letters of Intent (LOI) in the Office of Research is August 28, 2024.



The main objectives of the 2025 IF are to: 

• Enable internationally competitive research or technology development through the equitable participation of expert team members. 

• Enhance the capacity of institutions to conduct the research or technology development program over the useful life of the infrastructure. 

• Generate benefits for Canadians.

Please note that total project costs must be greater than $1 million for proposals to be considered by the CFI for this competition.  The CFI will fund up to 40 percent of a project’s eligible infrastructure costs. It is anticipated that the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund will contribute an additional 40% of eligible costs.  The remaining 20% must be found from other sources by the researcher. Funds from CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, as well as Tri-Council programs (e.g. the Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Canada Research Chairs) are not considered to be acceptable funding partners. However, the CFI will allow the cost of eligible item(s) to be covered in part by the aforementioned funding sources, provided that this portion is not used to leverage CFI funds. Equipment discounts beyond the best educational price are eligible as in-kind contributions towards the 20% matching funds required.  Please note that project leaders should be aware that once the relevant taxes (3.41% HST) are applied to the total cost of the requested infrastructure in the application budget, the contribution by a vendor may actually work out to be slightly less than the required 20%. Additional matching funds may be required to make up the resulting short-fall. A cash contribution of 20% is required for projects requiring renovations or construction.  In essence, projects need to be considered as being “shovel-ready”.  Finally, it is highly recommended that a 10% contingency be built into project budgets to deal with unforeseen circumstances (see CFI internal budget worksheet below).

Under the IF, an eligible infrastructure project would involve the acquisition or development of research infrastructure for the purpose of increasing research capacity as well as supporting world-class research.  Under the current IF call the CFI has introduced three streams:

  • Stream 1: Leading edge of exploration and knowledge generation (open) - This stream is open to proposals from all disciplines.
  • Stream 2: Leading edge of exploration and knowledge generation in the social sciences, humanities and arts (SSHA) - To access this stream, the primary field of research must be in the SSHA.
  • Stream 3: Creation, renewal and upgrade of core facilities 

The CFI IF is a very competitive competition and the success rate for smaller universities leading projects without external partnerships has historically been very low. Thus we strongly encourage submissions where we are partners with another institution either as lead or non lead. As well, please note that for this competition, the CFI is strongly encouraging the submission of projects that can be finalized quickly and brought to completion in an efficient manner (i.e., projects that are “shovel-ready”).

CFI Information Session

Please note that the CFI will be holding the following webinar on June 18, 2024 to provide information on the call and to answer questions.  Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the session:

As in past IF competitions,  each institution has been allocated an institutional envelope for submissions.  Lakehead University has been allocated an institutional envelope of $4 million.  Institutions generally cannot exceed the envelope except for the following situations: 1) An institution only submits (as lead or collaborator) one proposal.  2) An institution can submit one proposal with a primary field of research in SSHA and this would not count towards its institutional envelope.  In other words, if an institution submits or collaborates on a proposal from any research discipline or on two proposals with one from an SSHA field of research, that institution would not be restricted by its institutional envelope.


Required Submission Documents / Internal Deadline

Interested teams are required to complete a letter of intent using the  CFI Awards Management System (CAMS). It must then be submitted to the Office of Research Services (ahacquo1@lakeheadu.caby August 28, 2024.  In addition to the completion of the CFI LOI document, researchers are required to submit the following additional internal items by the internal deadline:

  •   CFI Request for Quotations Form - plus one quote for each major equipment item.

  •   CFI Internal Budget Worksheet and one quotation in CFI format (List Price/Best Educational Price/Discount Beyond Best Educational Price/Net CFI Price) for all equipment/renovation items.  When entering pricing into the spreadsheet is it highly recommended that an exchange rate of 1.40 be used for any US pricing that needs to be converted to Canadian funds.

  •  Letter from the relevant dean confirming support for the proposed project and confirming space. Space must be confirmed by the internal LOI deadline (note that requests for renovations to new space (not currently allocated to the applicant) must be approved by the Lakehead University’s Space Committee prior to the internal deadline).

  •  Required Documents/Confirmations Related to Renovations 

    • Projects requiring renovations must include:

      • a cost estimate (from Physical Plant) prior to the internal application deadline.

      • Evidence of the required cash contributions to offset the 20% matching fund requirements.

    • Note: Please note that if renovations are not required as part of acquiring and installing the requested infrastructure, the applicant(s) must indicate in the CFI package why renovations are not required (including written confirmation from Physical Plant).

As institutions can only exceed their institutional envelopes by up to 10% at the CFI LOI deadline, LOI packages will be assessed by an internal review committee to determine which LOIs are submitted to the CFI by the October 2, 2024 deadline (if applicable, any collaborating institutions must confirm their participation and the use of a portion of their institutional envelopes at this stage).  Following the LOI deadline, depending on the funds requested in the proposed projects and their potential impact on the institutional envelope, an additional internal adjudication process may need to take place prior to the CFI IF full application deadline on February 4, 2025 to determine the final project(s) to be submitted by Lakehead.  Peer review is essential to ensuring the strongest and most competitive applications are submitted.

For further information, please review the CFI IF guidelines or contact Anne Klymenko ( or Andrew Hacquoil ( in the Office of Research Services.