New Frontiers in Research Fund

The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) supports world-leading international, high-risk/high-reward, transformative and rapid-response research.

NFRF is composed of three streams that support specific goals and also has the flexibility to launch special calls:

  1. The Exploration stream generates opportunities for Canada to build strength in high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research (up to $100k in direct research costs per year for up to 2 years; minimum 2 applicants; annual competition);
  2. The Transformation stream provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research (minimum $1.6M and maximum $3.2M in direct research costs per year for up to 6 years; minimum 5 team members, including 1 early career researcher; competition every 2 years); and
  3. The International stream enhances opportunities for Canadian researchers to participate in research with international partners (via eligible and funded Horizon Europe calls).

Special calls are targeted to support emerging research as needed. To date, the following special calls have been launched:

  • 2020: Addressing COVID-19 challenges
  • 2021: Innovative approaches to research in the pandemic context (up to $200k in direct research costs for 1 year; single applicant or team)
  • 2022: Research for postpandemic recovery (up to $200k in direct research costs per year for up to 2 years; minimum 2 applicants)

The NFRF program has five broad selection criteria for the evaluation of applications. The weighting and definition of each criterion, and the elements considered for each, vary between competition streams and stages to reflect their unique objectives.

  1. High risk relates to the approach to the problem.
  2. High reward relates to the potential outcomes and impacts of the research project.
  3. Interdisciplinarity relates to the degree to which multiple disciplines are integrated in the definition of the research problem and in the design and execution of the research project.
  4. Feasibility considers the ability to execute the planned activities.
  5. Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) - renamed EDI in Research Practice (EDI-RP) for the Exploration stream - and support for early career researchers (ECRs) consider the research team’s commitment to fostering EDI in the research environment, as well as support of ECRs.

The NFRF is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, which is housed within the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), on behalf of Canada’s three research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and SSHRC. For more information about NFRF, please visit the agency website.

SPARC provides strategic support services and resources for applicants of UBC-led proposals, including program outreach, Test Your Concept sessions, project and proposal development, proposal review, in-person and virtual consultations, and workshops on competition-specific topics. CWL-protected resources for NFRF programs can be accessed here.

For more details, including available SPARC support, visit the relevant program page(s) below.


Exploration Stream


Transformation Stream



Special Calls