The importance of a CFI Grant at an institution

Sarah Musavi, Ottawa Catholic School Board

Given the history of CFI, which literally saved Canada from becoming lost in the world of
research, by a few brave researchers who were able to convince the politicians to keep
innovation and research as a high priority for Canada, CFI has come a long way.


Maximum CFI contribution as of Sept 2019 for 10,923 infrastructure projects has been
$6,588,357,256 with an Infrastructure Operating Fund – Maximum Allocation of
$1,424,876,138.


I believe a CFI grant has the potential to leverage any institution to a High Performing Institute
and result in Highly Qualified Professionals (HQPs), especially in the healthcare industry.


When an institution decides to apply for a CFI grant, it is already on the road to excellence:


1. The institution will have to start planning in the long-term and start focusing on priorities
for the country, more than mere needs.
2. The institution will start putting certain high performing processes in place which will
start attracting researchers with clear goals and objectives in the field of innovation
3. Planning and implementing a CFI grant contributes to national discussions through public
presentations, commentary, position papers, studies, and storytelling on boosting
Canada’s research and innovation success.
4. The institution is directly contributing to the growth and global image of Canada,
planning for a future of technology and innovation to support the next generation.
5. A CFI grant keeps Canada at the forefront of digital innovation which is the way of the
future, where Canada needs to be leading AI markets by enhancing fund generation
through commercialization involving institutions.
6. Students and academics get connected to the industry for practical research themes and
also create new frontiers for employment.
7. The institution can become directly involved in supporting arctic and marine research
through collaborations which means funds, expertise and resources are shared in a global
playing field for protecting the global environment.


Challenges in availing the grant from CFI


CFI has a mandate to encourage innovation through partnerships. Therefore, the eligibility
criteria exclude applications from individual researchers. Additionally, institutions must be able
to provide 40% of the costs of the proposed project through their partnerships, while CFI will
support the 60%.


An institution must to be ready with its own research capacity in order to qualify for the CFI
grant, which is not meant as a starter grant, but more as an enhancer grant. Therefore, those
institutions that do not have an established research capacity, existing infrastructure, established
partnerships to work collaboratively, share funds and research teams or have restrictions in the
dissemination of their research work publicly will be excluded from being eligible for a CFI
grant.