UBC CFI Innovation Fund Internal Process and Timeline

Program Link: www.research.ubc.ca/cfi-innovation-fund

Sponsor: Canadian Foundation for Innovation

Value: $400 Million program budget for projects; $120 Million in associated operating funds

Description: In anticipation of the next CFI IF call, the UBC offices of the Vice-President of Research and Innovation (VPRI) and Institutional Programs Office (IPO), will begin the UBC internal competition planning starting this Fall 2021. While UBC’s internal process will be similar to the previous competitions, we will begin the process earlier to maximize project development time and time for internal review processes. Institutions have a limit on the total requests (in dollars, limited by the UBC CFI Funding Envelope, or “cap”) that they can submit to the CFI. The UBC internal processes are geared towards selecting those with the highest likelihood of success.

We recommend the following actions:

1. For multi-institutional IF projects, now is the time to engage with project team members at other institutions to become familiar with their internal guidelines and/or requirements. Please be aware that for multi-institutional collaborations, applicants need to reach out to potential partners and consider that timelines for decision making will be different at each partner institution. Being a co-applicant on another team does not mean a guarantee of UBC IF cap for your project.
2. In order to take full advantage of this advance notice, take this time to develop your project team. There is enough time to firmly establish your team through tangible activities, e.g., co-supervising trainees; applying for other collaborative team grants, or writing a review. “Team” is a key criterion for the CFI so having real linkages that you can point to will help build this aspect of your application.
3. New for this round: For projects with renovations, applicants will need to get approval from their Dean and have consulted with Facilities Planning (or equivalent if off of Point Grey) ahead of the EOI deadline.

The CFI has put together “2023 Innovation Fund: A guide to getting started” that will include the competition timeline and a high-level description of the changes to the assessment criteria that will help us to think ahead and plan strategically for the 2023 Innovation Fund competition. The CFI plans to publish the draft call for Innovation Fund proposals in October 2021.

Below is the updated UBC internal timeline of the 2023 Innovation Fund competition ahead of the CFI call for proposals:

Please note the change in dates as a result of the new information from the CFI


IPO to communicate instructions for EOI and internal proposal early July 2021
UBC Internal Expression of Interest (EOI) *September 15 2021 September 30 2021
CFI launches draft call for proposals October 2021
CFI launches call for proposals November 2021
UBC internal deadline: Full internal proposal, including budget, CVs and BCKDF Step 1 *November 24 2021 December 15, 2021


UBC internal review panel *mid-January 2022 March 2022
UBC internal decision (IPO to assign FA at this stage) *late January 2022 April 2022
CFI deadline to submit notice of intent (NOI) February 2022 June 2022 
UBC internal deadline: full proposal submission to IPO for formative review (UBC and external) April 18 2022
UBC formative review April 18 – May 02
UBC internal deadline for final proposal Late May 2022
CFI deadline to submit proposals *June 2022 Sept/October 2022
UBC internal deadline for final BCKDF Step 1 July 2022
BCKDF deadline to submit Step 1 application July 2022 (1 month after CFI submission)
CFI review process June 2022 – February 2023


CFI board of directors announce decision March 2023


Specific dates are subject to change pending CFI’s announcement of the CFI IF 2023 call. The IPO will communicate CFI deadlines and confirm the UBC internal processes and timeline once we hear from the CFI.

UBC CFI advisor, Leonard Foster and the IPO team are available in July and August to provide early stage constructive feedback to allow potential applicants to develop the strongest proposal possible. Participation in the TYC at the early stages of proposal development is strongly encouraged as it will help applicants structure a timeline for planning and due diligence that will create a strong competitive advantage. In particular, projects that may have significant construction or renovations in the budget will be required to participate in this process. Projects identifying major construction/renovation costs at a later date (Fall 2021) are unlikely to be able to proceed since there will be insufficient time to go through the required institutional due diligence.

To request a consult or Test Your Concept session please contact the IPO office at ipo.admin@ubc.ca for assistance.

Innovation Fund proponents will need to submit an online expression of interest to the University’s Institutional Programs Office