Grant Name: 2022 Special Call – Research for Post Pandemic Recovery: Competition Overview





Notice of Intent to apply: April 26, 2022, by 8pm (EST)

Full Application: August 9, 2022, by 8pm (EST)


The COVID-19 pandemic has had differential impacts on individuals, communities, and countries, intensifying the inequalities that existed before this crisis. Globally, numerous voices have been advocating for “building back better” rather than a return to the status quo as the world emerges from this pandemic.

In November 2020, the United Nations released the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery which encourages “targeted research for data-driven responses that focus particularly on the needs of people being left behind.” The Roadmap is built on the premise that innovative and interdisciplinary solutions are needed to account for the interdependence of people and recovery efforts.

The goal of this Special Call is to mobilize Canadian-led research efforts in support of a more equitable, sustainable and resilient postpandemic reality. It will support a diverse portfolio of projects that directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the Roadmap, including any of the UN’s priorities and subpriorities, including but not limited to the “quick-win”, “best-buy” and “game-changer” priorities.

By funding research that directly responds to the UN Roadmap, NFRF will be part of a cohesive international research effort to address global socio-economic inequities that have been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[The] UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery provides a framework for leveraging the power of science in support of a better socio-economic recovery and a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.

Science represents the world’s best chance for recovering better from the COVID-19 crisis. As societies face the difficult task of implementing recovery strategies with limited time and resources, they have a choice between business as usual and transformative changes. Transformation offers better prospects, but it will require ingenuity and research from the full range of disciplines.

The Roadmap outlines a set of 25 research priorities – five priorities for each of the five pillars of the UN’s socio-economic recovery framework – as well as numerous sub-priorities…. These five pillars are further connected by an imperative to embed the dual objectives of gender equity and environmental sustainability into all recovery efforts.

By addressing the priorities articulated in the Roadmap, the research community can inform solutions to the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and guide the design and implementation of recovery efforts that can accelerate progress towards the [UN’s Sustainable Development Goals].

UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery

Project grantees will be expected to attend a forum at the mid-term and conclusion of the grant period to showcase their findings and highlight lessons learned. It is expected that policy- makers from government departments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, as well as interested non-government organizations, will attend these forums. These are intended to enable knowledge mobilization and cross-project learning, and may also be a springboard for new research collaborations.


Project team

To reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the projects, proposals must be submitted by research teams composed of at least two individuals. In addition to a nominated principal investigator (NPI), the team must include either a co-principal investigator (co-PI) or a co-applicant. Teams may include any number of co-PIs, co-applicants and/or collaborators.

All project teams must include at least one expert in social, economic, or socio-economic research and/or implementation science among the principal investigators (NPI or co-PI) to reflect the socio-economic framework and goals of the UN Roadmap.

Given the global focus of the Roadmap and the need to ensure that all countries are considered in the pandemic recovery, research teams are expected to include international members. The inclusion of team members from lower- middle or lower-income countries is strongly encouraged. Exceptions to this will be considered for projects that address a uniquely Canadian context and provide an appropriate justification.

To ensure that these grants support projects with a diversity of perspectives and aims, individuals may participate in only one application to this competition as either an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant. These restrictions do not apply to collaborators. There are no restrictions to participation for an individual who has applied for, will apply for, or who is a current award holder (as an NPI, co-PI or co-applicant) of any other NFRF grant (Exploration, Transformation, Global Platform, or Special Calls).

Projects are expected to demonstrate community engagement and partnership, as appropriate, to ensure that research findings have tangible outcomes. National, international and cross-sector (private, public or other) collaborations are encouraged to ensure that the most appropriate individuals and/or organizations are involved and that team composition reflects best practices in equity, diversity and inclusion. To support collaborations, funds from Special Call grants can be used to support the research activities of team members within Canada or internationally, except those affiliated with for-profit companies or federal, provincial or municipal governments.

Early career researcher

For a proposal to be considered led by an early career researcher (ECR), the NPI must be an ECR. An ECR is a researcher within five years from the start date of their first research-related appointment, minus the length of any eligible delays in research (e.g., illness, maternity, parental) as of the first of the month in which the competition is launched (February 1, 2022, for this competition), where:

  • “research-related appointments” are defined as those where an individual has the autonomy to conduct research independently;
  • all eligible leaves (e.g., maternity, parental, medical, bereavement) are credited at twice the amount of time taken; and
  • professional leaves (e.g., training, sabbatical, administrative) are not credited.

Research interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., closures) are recognized as, and may be counted as, an eligible delay (credited at twice the amount of time) beginning March 1, 2020.

If a first academic appointment was a part-time appointment/position, years of experience are counted at 50%, until the researcher’s appointment to a full-time academic position. More details are available in the Frequently Asked Questions.

All applications are encouraged to meaningfully integrate ECRs into the project team.

Nominated principal investigator

The NPI is responsible for:

  • the direction of the project and the coordination of proposed research activities, in conjunction with the co-PI (if applicable);
  • completing the NOI and full application and submitting them through the research administrator at their institution;
  • assuming administrative and financial responsibility for the grant; and
  • receiving all related correspondence from the research funding agencies.

The NPI must be considered an independent researcher at their primary affiliation. A primary affiliation is defined as the primary organization at which an individual is employed, appointed or conducts research.

An independent researcher is an individual who:

  • engages in research-related activities that are not under the direction of another individual; and
  • has an academic or research appointment that:
    • commences by the full application deadline;
    • allows the individual to pursue the proposed research project, engage in independent research activities for the entire duration of the funding, supervise trainees (if applicable, as per the institution’s policy), and publish the research results; and
    • obliges the individual to comply with institutional policies on the conduct of research, supervision of trainees (if applicable) and employment conditions of staff who are paid using tri-agency funding.

Individuals who are full- or part-time students, postdoctoral fellows or research associates are not eligible to apply as NPIs, regardless of whether they also meet the definition of an independent researcher.

The NPI’s primary affiliation must be with a Canadian institution currently holding full institutional eligibility with one of the federal research funding agencies. See the list of eligible institutions for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) or Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) (the agencies).

If the NPI’s primary affiliation is not on SSHRC’s list of eligible institutions, the institution may be required to sign the Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with SSHRC, for this program only, before receiving agency funds. Agency staff will contact applicants’ institutions to initiate this process, as appropriate.

Co-principal investigators and co-applicants

Co-PIs share responsibility with the NPI for the direction of the proposed activities and may access grant funds.

Co-applicants contribute to the execution of the research project and may access grant funds.

The eligibility requirements for co-PIs and co-applicants are the same, however, their roles are different: Co-PIs work with the NPI to direct the project, in addition to contributing to its execution, while co-applicants contribute to the execution of the project.

Co-PIs and co-applicants can be practitioners, policy-makers, educators, decision-makers, health care administrators, Indigenous elders, Indigenous knowledge keepers, patients, community leaders, individuals working for a charity, and a range of other individuals. Researchers and professors must be considered independent researchers to be eligible as a co-PI or a co-applicant.

The co-PIs’ and co-applicants’ affiliation may be with a Canadian postsecondary institution, a Canadian institution or organization that does not have full institutional eligibility with one of the three federal funding agencies, or an international institution outside of Canada. However, it may not be a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. For all team members, eligible expenses are limited to those related to the execution of the project that are not within the mandate of the individual’s organization of employment.

As per the tri-agency policy on the use of funds for federal government employees applying to funding agency programs, a federal government employee who is formally affiliated with a Canadian academic institution as an adjunct professor is eligible to be a collaborator. In cases where students registered at the academic institution and formally supervised by the adjunct professor will be participating in the research project, the adjunct professor is eligible to be a co-applicant. In such cases, the use of funds is limited to salaries or stipends and travel costs for the students under the adjunct professor’s supervision. Adjunct professors are also eligible to be co-PIs or co-applicants in exceptional cases where their planned contributions to the project do not fall within the mandate of their federal organization and will not be performed within their employer’s facilities or with their employer’s resources.

Individuals whose primary affiliation is with an Indigenous government are eligible to be co-PIs, co-applicants or collaborators.

Individuals indirectly employed by a federal, provincial or municipal government (e.g., employees in police services, education or health care) are eligible to be co-applicants.

Students, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates are not eligible to participate as a co-PI or co-applicant.


Collaborators contribute to the execution of research activities but do not have access to grant funds.

Collaborators do not need to be affiliated with an eligible institution. Any individual who will contribute to the project is eligible to be a collaborator.

Collaborators may include individuals affiliated with a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government department or a for-profit organization. They may also be affiliated with a Canadian or international organization.

Any individual whose contributions to the project will be supervised by the NPI, co-PI, co-applicant and/or another collaborator cannot be considered a collaborator.

Subject matter (fit to program)

These Special Call grants support projects that directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the UN Roadmap. Applications must demonstrate how they respond to the priorities laid out in the Roadmap. They may involve disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for funding across the three agencies. Eligible projects include short- and medium-term projects, as well as discrete phases of longer-range research programs. All projects are expected to have demonstrable results/impact by the end of the grant period.

Projects are required to be interdisciplinary. To be considered interdisciplinary, a proposed research project must combine elements from at least two different disciplines (as defined by a group-level classification based on the Canadian Research and Development Classification). Projects are not required to cross the mandates of more than one federal research funding agency.

Applications must propose an innovative approach to a priority area identified in the UN Roadmap. Applicants will be required to identify the priorities in the Roadmap the proposed project addresses.

Applications for projects that are the same as or similar (in whole or in part) to applications that have been submitted to or funded by any federal research funding agency programs, including other NFRF competitions, are not eligible and should not be submitted.


Grant holders will be expected to report on the use of grant funds on funded activities undertaken during the grant period, and on outcomes. Projects which receive supplementary funds from a partner organization may be required to follow additional reporting requirements.  NPIs of successful applications will be informed of reporting requirements when receiving a notice of award.

How to Apply?

To apply for this Special Call grant, NPIs, along with co-PIs and/or co-applicants, must submit a notice of intent (NOI) by April 26, 2022. The research team must then submit a full application by August 9, 2022.

Applicants must complete the NOI and full application using the Convergence Portal, and follow the instructions outlined in the NOI and full application guides.

NOIs and full applications that are received after the deadline, are incomplete, or do not meet the eligibility criteria will be withdrawn from the competition.

All NOIs and full applications are first submitted to the research administrator (research grants office or equivalent) at the NPI’s primary affiliation. The administrator must submit the NOI or full application through the Convergence Portal before the relevant deadline. Research administrators are free to set their own internal deadlines.

Funding Amount

The maximum budget for the direct costs of the research project is $200,000 per year, for up to two years. Awards are for two-year grants and are eligible for an automatic one-year extension. Grantees will have three years to complete their projects and spend grant funds. Applicants may, in addition, request up to 25% of the value of the direct costs of research to cover indirect costs and include this in their total funding request. Indirect costs funding must be used only to pay for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website. The indirect costs component of each NFRF award is included in the award value; it is not in addition to it.

 Supplemental funding

Projects awarded funding through the NFRF 2022 Special Call may be eligible for supplemental funding from one or more partner organizations for this funding opportunity.

All applications will be assessed according to the merit-review process for the 2022 Special Call. All proposed projects must be fully executable within the NFRF budget.

To be considered for supplemental funds, applicants must consent to their application being shared on their enrolment form on the Convergence Portal.

Following the review process, NFRF will share the applications for successful projects that meet the criteria set out by the partner organization(s). The partner organization(s) will identify projects that they are willing to support. The process followed at this point will depend on the partner organization (s), but in most cases will require, at minimum, the submission of a revised budget, describing how the supplemental funds will be used and an explanation of how the project will be expanded with additional funding. The supplemental information required will be assessed by the partner organization(s).

If a project is selected for supplemental funding, the partner organization(s) will provide the
supplemental funding directly to the project team according to their own policies, guidelines and processes. The terms and conditions for the management of the supplemental funds and the financial reporting will be determined by the partner organization(s).

A full list of partner organizations and their specific criteria is available here.

Contact Information

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