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Types of Research Grants and Contracts

Internal Grants

Internal research grants at York are comprised of several different funding types. Research Accounting is responsible for the administration of the following types of internally restricted research funds:


Start-up Funds are normally provided to new researchers in their first year as a tenured faculty member. The researcher's Faculty will notify Research Accounting of the value of the award from the Faculty, and will authorize Research Accounting to set up a cost centre for the faculty member. These funds can then be used to support any research activity at the University providing they follow York's and Tri-Council financial policies and procedures.


Internal research support can be provided by a department or Faculty to a researcher to supplement a particular research award. Once the external fund is awarded (e.g. CFI, CRC, etc.) an internal cost centre is created and the funding is transferred from the department. These funds are to be used for expenses related to the specific research project.


Support to full-time faculty members and professional librarians for pilot studies, 'opportunistic' small projects, and projects not readily funded elsewhere.


Provide assistance for attendance at national and international scholarly conferences related to a PI's research.

External Research Grants and Contracts

External research grants include those from the Tri-Council; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Research grants are awarded by many different government agencies and the not-for-profit sector, including foundations, charities, private sector partners, and foreign entities.

The purpose of NSERC funding is to invest in people, discovery and innovation through programs that support post-secondary research in the natural sciences and engineering for the benefit of all Canadians.

The purpose of SSHRC funding is to support post-secondary based research, research training, and knowledge mobilization activities in the social sciences and humanities.

The purpose of CIHR is to provide funding opportunities for four themes of health research; biomedical, clinical, health systems, and social, cultural, environmental and population health.

There are two types of CRC.

Tier 1 Chairs: tenable for seven years and renewable, are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their field. For each Tier 1 Chair, the University receives $200,000 annually for seven years.

Tier 2 Chairs: tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, the University receives $100,00 annually for five years.

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. All CFI projects include a specific itemized list that restricts the types of purchases made with CFI funds.

The Early Researcher Award Program (ERA) helps promising, recently appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams of undergraduate, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent. Only student related costs are eligible.

Global Affairs Canada defines, shapes and advances Canada’s interests and values in a complex global environment. Global Affairs Canada manages diplomatic relations, promotes international trade and provides consular support. GAC leads international development, humanitarian, and peace and security assistance efforts and also contributes to national security and the development of international law.

The Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF) is designed to contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of CFI funded infrastructure. When submitting any proposal for CFI infrastructure, institutions must demonstrate that they have adequate funds to ensure the infrastructure will be operational and sustainable for at least five years. The IOF helps cover a portion of these costs to maximize the efficient use of CFI funded infrastructure (see Section 4.6 of the Policy and Program Guide). An institution's IOF allocation is based to 30% of the finalized CFI contribution for eligible purchases.

Mitacs (The Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems), is a funding agency that funds paid internships for trainees in all disciplines. Mitacs follows the eligible use of funds policies of the Tri-Agency.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) covers four key areas of convergence; advanced manufacturing; advanced health technologies; energy and environment; and information, communication technologies and digital media. OCE is funded by the Government of Ontario, is a member of the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE) and is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda.

The Ontario Research Fund (ORF) is a key part of the government's plan to support scientific excellence by investing in research that can be developed into innovative goods and services that will boost Ontario's economy. Through a commitment of $730 million over four years, Ontario is providing talented researchers with the support they need to undertake cutting-edge research.