The John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) is a vital strategic investment instrument designed to help institutions attract and retain the best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers in a time of intense international competition. The fund’s name honors John R. Evans, the CFI’s first Chair of the Board of Directors, for his remarkable achievements.
The JELF provides infrastructure for individual researchers or groups of up to three researchers who need to share infrastructure for related field research or benefit from complementary abilities. It is not designed to meet the infrastructure requirements of larger organizations, centers, departments, or institutions. The CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) supports the acquisition or construction of research infrastructure for projects with a total approved cost of up to $2 million. The JELF assists the institution in attracting and retaining world-class researchers and remaining competitive in strategic research areas. The CFI will fund up to 40% of a project’s eligible costs through the JELF.
The Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, JEI (formerly known as Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism (EDTT)) Research Capacity Program’s Small Equipment Grants stream is where JELF applicants must apply for funding to match the CFI support (NOTE: there is only one JEI submission intake every October for JELF applicants that submitted proposals on the preceding October, February, and June competitions).
The project team is responsible for bringing the remaining 20% of the JELF qualifying costs to the project. Project teams are urged to use vendor in-kind and other qualifying matching funds to cover as much of this 20% as possible.
What Is the Fund About?
The JELF helps institutions recruit and retain excellent researchers, acquire the instruments that enable leading researchers to do creative work, and give research assistance that is highly competitive when paired with research support from our partner organization. The unaffiliated and four partnership streams are among the five available funding streams.
Individual researchers do not receive JELF awards; instead, the university does. The Project Leader is the applicant, and the Project Holder is the Vice President (Research and Innovation) (VPRI). There are three JELF deadlines each year: February 15, June 15, and October 15.
What Is the Eligibility?
Universities identified as qualified by the CFI can apply to the JELF provided they have obtained a minimum annual average of $200,000 in research funding from the three federal research funding agencies in the previous three years (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Dedicated JELF allocations are calculated for each institution that fits this condition and delivered to the institution.
The Small Institution Fund (SIF), part of the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, was established for institutions with a dedicated JELF allocation of less than $800,000. Depending on their share of tri-agency financing, each SIF-eligible institution can draw up to $400,000 or $800,000 from this pool. When submitting a proposal to the JELF, qualifying institutions do not need to take further measures to access the Small Institution Fund. Interested research hospitals and institutes should apply through the eligible university they are associated with.
On the proposal, three researchers may be specified to work cooperatively utilizing the same desired infrastructure or separately while sharing the proposed infrastructure. For the latter, the CFI requires that each researcher’s reason for the infrastructure be articulated.
What Should be Listed in the Proposal?
The following researchers must be listed in the proposal:
- Innovative leaders who have proved their ability to flourish in the recommended research domains;
- Engaged in or about to begin creative, high-quality research or technological development that satisfies worldwide standards;
- Current full-time academic faculty members or candidates for full-time academic posts in an essential strategic sector who the institution is recruiting.
Researchers who have previously received funding from the CFI are eligible to submit a new proposal. Universities can apply for up to $800,000 in funding from the CFI, with a total eligible cost of $2 million. The CFI will accept proposals from the social sciences, humanities, arts, and qualifying institutions with access to the Small Institution Fund that requires less than or equal to $75,000 from the CFI.
What Are the Application Processes?
Eligible institutions can only submit a proposal to the CFI. We advise scholars to contact their institution’s research office to learn more about the internal application process for JELF funding.
Researchers and institutional administrators will use the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) to develop and submit proposals. Please see the publication Getting started with the CFI Awards Management System (CAMS) on Innovation.ca for more information about how to utilize CAMS.
To learn more about the application and review processes for the various streams, visit the official website. Read the requirements for completing JELF unaffiliated (PDF) and partnership (PDF) proposals to learn more about the JELF assessment criteria.
What Is the Review Process?
The merit review method is customized to the proposal’s complexity. When a request for a CFI is made:
- a sum of money that is less than or equal to $400,000
- A least two experts analyze each proposal and offer a written report to the CFI. The CFI may: Request a teleconference with proposal reviewers, Seek the input of an extra reviewer, and Seek the involvement of the JELF Advisory Committee if a proposal receives divergent reviews, has a projected research plan that crosses multiple fields, or is particularly difficult.
An Expert Committee reviews proposals worth between $400,000 and 800,000 dollars. Following long-standing cooperation between the Government of Québec and the CFI, the assessment process for proposals presented by Québec institutions is overseen by Expert Committees under the Government of Québec.
Review documents are provided to provinces and territories following agreements between the CFI and provincial/territorial funding bodies, as authorized under the Privacy Act, to coordinate the review process and minimize duplication of review efforts.
The financing suggestion for the CFI infrastructure request is forwarded to the CFI Board of Directors for approval at its next meeting. When judgments and review materials are uploaded to CAMS, institutions will be alerted via email.