As part of the 2015 launch of its Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced two competitions under Challenge 1 – research data infrastructure.

In this second competition of the Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, CFI challenges institutions and researchers to come together to form consortia and propose research data infrastructure projects that create tailored, shared and integrated data resources capable of enabling leading-edge research on significant scientific, social and economic questions.


Projects submitted should bring together a community of researchers from across the country who share similar challenges linked to the availability of research data. Projects should address existing or emerging challenges for this community through the development of new tools and applications or novel ways of organizing and using research data that would enhance the community’s capacity to conduct leading-edge research. This initiative is about data-sharing and providing access to any researcher who can exploit and mine the resource to advance knowledge and promote innovation.

CFI encourages consortia to embrace an “adopt, adapt and develop” approach as well as to link to Canadian and international initiatives wherever appropriate. This will promote efficiency, interoperability and rapid implementation. CFI also encourage projects that propose to expand existing Canadian data initiatives. We also expect institutions with significant computing and storage needs to continue consulting with Compute Canada to determine if the advanced national platform can accommodate their needs.

Through this initiative, we will support proposals that meet the following three objectives:

  • Scientific excellence
  • Impact and ongoing relevance
  • Feasibility


Institutional eligibility:

Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions that have been recognized as eligible by the CFI can apply.

Eligible costs:

The CFI will contribute to eligible costs up to the point where the research data infrastructure is ready to be used by the larger community of researchers. For added clarity, this includes costs for:

  • The design and development of integrated research data resources;
  • The creation of specialized software and analytical tools, methods and standards required to effectively exploit the data resources;
  • The personnel required to design, develop, build and integrate the data resource, software and analytical tools, methods and standards;
  • Personal computing needs of the above-mentioned personnel;
  • The acquisition of software and analytical tools;
  • Test beds, where they are well justified and cannot be provided by Compute Canada, provided they do not represent a significant proportion of the total project costs;
  • The renovation of existing space, for the personnel required to develop and build the research resource.

Funding Available

The CFI expects to fund between five and 10 proposals. As such, institutions should be very selective about which Notices of Intent they participate in. Given the small number of awards anticipated, an institution cannot submit a proposal for a project funded in the first competition.

Following standard practice, the CFI will contribute up to 40 percent of the eligible costs of an infrastructure project. Each project will be limited to a request of a maximum of $2 million from the CFI.

The CFI recognizes the need to contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of the research data infrastructure projects. Therefore, funded projects under Challenge 1 will receive an Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) contribution of 30 percent of the CFI award. However, the ongoing costs associated with the upkeep of the resource will be the responsibility of the consortium members and the administrative institution.

Helpful Links


NOI/Full Application:
CURO Internal Deadline for Review Please contact your Research Facilitator.
cuResearch Checklist Deadline
  • October 6, 2017 (Full Proposal)
Submission to sponsor
  • May 12, 2017 (NOI)
  • October 13, 2017 (if invited to submit proposal)

Submitting Your Application

  • Applications must be submitted via cuResearch, through which Departmental and Associate Dean’s approval must be provided to complete the online application process.
  • More information on cuResearch can be found here.

Internal Contacts

If you would like assistance with proposal development and/or a substantive review of your proposal, please contact the appropriate Research Facilitator.

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