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John R. Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF)

Deans are invited to submit requests for a portion of UVic’s envelope in the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (CFI-JELF) program.

Each Dean can submit a maximum of three (3) proposals. Requests to support infrastructure for future Canada Research Chairs should not be included in this call for proposals. Deans should contact Joaquin Trapero to discuss infrastructure requirements associated to CRC chairholders.

This call will consider proposals for submission to CFI in 2024/25 (October 2024 or February 2025 deadlines). We estimate that ~$750,000 of our envelope could be distributed in this call, but the final number may differ, depending on the quality and readiness of the proposals.

Application deadline: March 28, 2024


The CFI-JELF program funds strategic and critical infrastructure needs of researchers. The JELF will fund up to 40% of the total cost of acquiring or developing research infrastructure required by researchers to be (or become) leaders in their field. A separate application to the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) will cover up to 40% of eligible costs. The remaining 20% can be covered by start-up funds, department contributions, donor funds and/or vendor discounts (Tri-council funds are not eligible).

Research or technology development activities should be innovative, feasible and meet international standards. The proposed infrastructure acquisition or development should increase UVic’s research capacity and enable innovative research activities. Infrastructure that will be shared and will support several researchers will be prioritized. Proposing to acquire or develop items already available at UVic is strongly discouraged unless the existing items are aging, need upgrading or replacement, or are already being used to their maximum potential. Any duplication of items must be justified.

The minimum request allowed by CFI is $75,000 (for a total budget of $187,500), but proposals in the social sciences, humanities and arts may request as little as $50,000 from CFI (for a total budget of $125,000).

Candidates should contact their Department Chair and Faculty Dean to discuss their application, infrastructure requirements and any Faculty deadlines before the submission date.

CFI-JELF eligibility criteria

CFI-JELF candidates must be current faculty members with full-time academic appointments; or newly appointed hires who will arrive at UVic in the current or upcoming academic year.

The researchers listed in the proposal must be recognized as innovative leaders or have demonstrated the potential for excellence in the proposed research field(s) and be engaged in or embarking on research or technology development that is innovative, high quality and meets international standards.

Preference will be given by UVic to early-career faculty (first five years of appointment excluding any leaves or career interruptions); those establishing new laboratories; or requests to support shared laboratories and collaborative platforms. The JELF program is intended to be led by a single PI, but in cases where it is strongly justified, up to three researchers may be listed on the proposal to either work collaboratively using the infrastructure, or independently sharing infrastructure (with a justification from each researcher).

Samples of eligible costs

  • Acquisition, modernization, or development of research infrastructure. This includes the acquisition of workhorses (high usage equipment that routinely and dependably performs over a long period of time), and the upgrade or replacement of aging infrastructure.
  • Construction or renovation of space essential to house and use the infrastructure or to conduct the research activities described in the proposal.
  • Personnel for the development of the infrastructure (not to operate it, or do research)
  • Costs that are not eligible under the CFI-JELF program (examples):
    • Research personnel (research assistants, students’ stipends), other research costs (travel to conferences, publications, etc.)
    • Infrastructure for educational or clinical care purposes
    • Administration
    • Supplies and consumables
    • Office furniture and supplies
    • Operating costs

Please refer to the CFI-JELF Guidelines for Unaffiliated Proposals for more information on eligible costs.

Selection criteria

The selection of successful proposals will be made by the VP Research and Innovation, considering the:

  • Innovation and excellence of the proposed research and/or technology development, including potential scientific, social, or economic impact and benefits.
  • Excellence of researcher(s) and ability to lead the proposal and operate and maintain the infrastructure.
  • Need and expected use for the infrastructure and complementarity with existing facilities.
  • Ability to bring novel infrastructure to UVic.
  • Degree to which the proposal supports institutional priorities.
  • Feasibility of the proposal.

Internal proposal submission process

  1. Faculty candidates complete the application form and submit it with their CV(s) as a single PDF file to their Dean (Potential candidates must confirm their Faculty’s internal deadline for this step). In the case of multi-Faculty proposals, approvals from all Deans will be required, but the proposal will only count as one of the three proposals against the Lead Researcher’s Faculty.
  2. Deans review and support proposals according to departmental/school/Faculty priorities.
  3. Deans submit up to three complete proposals (with faculty CVs) and the Dean submission template, with their prioritization and rationale, by the application deadline to the Strategic Research Initiatives CFI-JELF team. By submitting a proposal, the Dean is confirming the research excellence of the proposal, the availability of suitable space for the infrastructure, any funds to be contributed and any other commitments.
  4. UVic’s Institutional Research Review Committee (IRRC) will review all proposals and recommend proposals based on their research excellence and potential impact and support of institutional priorities.
  5. Members of UVic’s Research Services Operational Advisory Group (RSOAG) will be asked to review proposals and provide advice, as needed, on operational feasibility and institutional risk. Applicants may be contacted by members of RSOAG to answer questions or provide additional information. The RSOAG includes representatives from operational units including Institutional Programs; Facilities Management; Purchasing; Occupational Health, Safety and Environment; Animal Care; Safety and Risk Management; Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization; Financial Planning and Operations; and UVic Systems.
  6. The VP Research and Innovation will decide based on input from the IRRC, RSOAG, Deans and strategic considerations.
  7. Successful candidates will be contacted and will work with the Institutional Programs office to further develop and finalize the full applications for CFI and BCKDF. CFI accepts JELF applications three times a year (Feb 15, June 15 and Oct 15).  For the upcoming CFI deadline, only projects that are already fully developed at the time of internal submission will be considered (e.g. space is identified and ready for the infrastructure, eligible matching cash has been secured, confirmed quotes are in hand, partnerships have been finalized). Other applications will be considered for the following deadlines.
  8. Prior to submission, final applications will be reviewed and approved by the VPRI.
  9. Institutional Programs will submit CFI and BCKDF applications.

Important dates

  • Internal proposal deadline (all funding rounds): March 28, 2024
  • UVic Decision: April 30, 2024

CFI-JELF Funding Rounds 2024/25

Round 1

  • CFI-JELF application deadline: October 15, 2024
  • BCKDF application deadline: November 15, 2024
  • CFI-JELF decision: Late March 2025
  • BCKDF decision: Summer 2025
  • Funds available: Late 2025

 Round 2

  • CFI-JELF application deadline: February 15, 2025
  • BCKDF application deadline: March 15, 2025
  • CFI-JELF decision: Late June 2025
  • BCKDF decision: Fall 2025
  • Funds available: Early 2026

 Round 3

  • CFI-JELF application deadline: June 15, 2025
  • BCKDF application deadline: March 15, 2025
  • CFI-JELF decision: Late Nov 2025
  • BCKDF decision: Spring 2026
  • Funds available: Fall 2026

Information session

Join us for a online information session and Q&A.


Contact Sorcha Collins.