68 Update on Research Branch Programs

PDAD&C #68

To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From: John R.G. Challis, Vice-President, Research and Associate Provost
Date: January 13, 2006
Re: Update on Research Branch Programs

Please see attached.

Thank you.

Ministry of Ministère de la
Research and Innovation   Recherche et de l’Innovation
56 Wellesley St. West 11? étage
11th Floor    56 rue Wellesley ouest
Toronto ON Toronto (ON)
M7A 2E1 M7A 2E1


DATE: January 9, 2006
TO: VPs Research and Research Administrators
FROM: Allison Barr, Director, Research Branch
SUBJECT: Update on Research Branch Programs

The following is an update on the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), the Early Researcher Award (ERA), and the Youth Science and Technology Outreach Program (YSTOP) – all programs administered by the Research Branch within the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

ORF Research Excellence Program

The ORF’s Research Excellence program is a four-year, $217 million fund to promote research excellence in Ontario by supporting leading-edge research, developing research talent, and encouraging partnerships between research institutions and business. The closing date for the first round of competition was September 30, 2005. Applications received for the Round 1 competition are now being evaluated, with the expectation that awards will be announced this spring.

The next Research Excellence round is now being planned, and information concerning that will also be available shortly.

ORF Research Infrastructure Program

The Ministry has adjusted its current ORF Infrastructure Program in response to the new directions that the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) introduced in the second half of 2005. New ORF Research Infrastructure Program Guidelines, Application Instructions and Application Form are now available on the Ministry web site at www.mri.gov.on.ca.

We have set a date of April 6 for submitting applications to the ORF for grants to match this year’s CFI awards under its Leading Edge Fund or New Initiatives Fund. That date is well after the CFI deadlines – in order to provide you with maximum flexibility. However, we strongly encourage research offices to complete their corresponding ORF Infrastructure applications in a timely manner and submit them well before that date if at all possible – and while your researchers still have their CFI application materials close at hand.

We have also posted a listing of all 358 ORF awards to date on the MRI web site, providing key information including project title, principal investigator(s), ORF award amount, and date of award. This document will be updated as additional ORF Infrastructure grants are approved and announced.

We are currently reviewing all applications to the ORF for grants to match the awards that CFI made under its Leaders Opportunity Fund and Canada Research Chairs Infrastructure Fund in October 2005. Those proposals will be submitted to the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board, and a Ministry decision regarding those grants is expected in the coming months.

Early Researcher Awards

The Early Researcher Award (ERA) is a new $30 million, 3-year program that aims to help promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates.

The ERA is the successor program to the Premier's Research Excellence Award (PREA) program. Round 11 of PREA was already in progress when the decision was made to introduce the Early Researcher Award program. Accordingly, this became the first transitional round of awards under the ERA. Details of the 64 ERA Round 1 awards are available on the Ministry web site.

Applications for ERA Round 2 may be submitted to the Ministry between January 26 and March 3, 2006. Further information is available on the Ministry web site.

Review Panels

The Ministry continues to invite applications from distinguished scholars, researchers and industry leaders to serve as members of peer review panels for the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence program. Applications received by October 14, 2005 were considered for the first round of peer review panels that are now in progress for Round 1 of the Research Excellence program.

The Ministry is also inviting applications from individuals in Ontario, or elsewhere, to serve as members of the peer review panel for the ERA program. The initial ERA panel will be established early in 2006. Review panel membership offers a rewarding opportunity to participate in and contribute to emerging patterns of Ontario research. More information is available on the Ministry web site.

Youth Science and Technology Outreach Program

The Youth Science and Technology Outreach Program (YSTOP) is a three-year, $3 million program to publicly promote science and technology to youth and the general public through face-to-face interactions with researchers in meaningful science experiences outside the classroom and curriculum.

Sixteen projects have been approved under the first two rounds of the program. The Ministry will be announcing these awards shortly.

Events to Celebrate Research

We encourage you to publicise your awards under the ERA and ORF Infrastructure programs as they have now been announced. If your institution is planning an event during 2006 or beyond to honour your researchers, initiate research activities, launch a new research facility, celebrate a major investment, or other key event – please let us know about it. This is particularly important if you would like to include participation by the Ministry.

Research Contact Information

To support effective ongoing communications with key stakeholders in the Ontario research community, this branch maintains contact information on the research executive (usually the VP research or equivalent) plus one or two research administrators (typically the director and/or manager of the research office) for each institution.

We would appreciate your help in letting us know if there are changes to this information at your institution. Please send an email to Evie Samouglou at Evie.Samouglou@mri.gov.on.ca with all new or revised contact information, and any relevant dates.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Allison Barr
Director, Research Branch