New Frontiers in Research Fund - Transformation Stream

Lawson Hall

The Transformation stream is designed to support large-scale, Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that address a major challenge with the potential to realize real and lasting change (high reward). The challenge may be fundamental, leading to a scientific breakthrough, or applied, with a social, economic, environmental or health impact. Projects are expected to be world-leading, drawing on global research expertise where relevant.

The Transformation stream grants will support projects that:

  • tackle a well-defined problem or challenge;
  • propose a novel world-leading approach that is different from the current state-of-the-art approaches to the issue;
  • are interdisciplinary, bringing different perspectives to the defined problem; and
  • have the potential to be transformative, defined as the potential to create a significant and real change or impact -- a noticeable leap or tangible breakthrough versus an incremental advance.

Value and Duration

Transformation stream grants can request between $1.6M and $3.2M per year in direct research costs (plus 25% indirect costs), for up to six years. Grants will be awarded for three years initially, with a grant for the remaining three years dependent on a successful mid-term review of progress.

Internal Processes

The Transformation stream is extremely competitive with high standards for excellence. Proposals of this scale require significant time, effort and resources from the institution, the Faculty(ies), and the project teams. Western Research is implementing mandatory deadlines to enable us to support proposal development and allocate resources. Full details of Western's NFRF-Transformation Guidelines can be found here.

Western Research is implementing a mandatory internal Notice of Intent deadline of October 14, 2021 to enable us to identify potential Transformation projects, provide adequate oversight and support, and allocate resources. Full NOIs need to be downloaded from the Convergence Portal and emailed to Sahana Mazumder ( by October 14, 2021. Only teams that submit NOIs to Western Research by October 14 will be considered when Western Research selects which proposals will receive institutional proposal development support.

To maximize the impact of available institutional support, Western Research will be making strategic decisions regarding proposal support based on the October 14 submissions of Notices of Intent. Only a select number of proposals deemd to be most closely aligned with the Transformation goals and assessment criteria wil be eligible to receive institutional support such as project coordination assistance, grant review/editing support, coordination of internal or external reviews, and/or strategic advice including developing knowledge exchange or management plans. Teams not selected to receive institutional proposal development support may still apply to NFRF if they choose.

Merit Indicators

The New Frontiers in Research Fund has posted list of Merit Indicators to be used in evaluation of applications, which we recommend project leaders consult in developing a potential Transformation Project.


Key deadlines are listed below:

  • Mandatory deadline to send .pdf of Notice of Intent to Western Research: October 14, 2021
  • Deadline to submit Notice of Intent in Convergence Portal: October 26, 2021
  • Western Research submits NOIs to NFRF: November 2, 2021
  • Deadline to submit ROLA proposal, external Co-PI/Co-A forms, and complete Letter of Intent: January 4, 2022
  • External deadline for Letter of Intent: January 11, 2022
  • Full Applications (by invitation only) due: September 20, 2022

Additional timelines will apply to those teams selected to receive institutional proposal development support.

The content of the NOI, LOI, and full application can be found in the competition guidelines.

Webinars and Events

Applicants are encouraged to attend the following events to learn more about the Transformation stream and the overall application process. Webinar space is limited so please join ahead of the start time.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion webinar - September 17, 2021, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (Slides and recording are linked under Documents and Resources below)

Notice of Intent stage webinar - September 23, 2021, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (Slides and recording are linked under Documents and Resources below)

Letter of Intent stage webinar - November 16, 2021, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (Slides and recording are linked under Documents and Resources below)

Western Research will also host a virtual panel session October 12, 2021, 1:30 p.m - 2:30 p.m. Panelists will include previous NFRF-Transformation reviewers. *If you couldn't attend the session and would like to view the Zoom recording, please email to request access*


Given the strategic nature and high value of this program, if you have a potential project/team and are considering applying for a Transformation stream grant, we encourage you to contact Western Research as early as possible. 

Documents and Resources


For more information on the NFRF Transformation stream, contact Kathy Laid, Senior Institutional Research Programs Officer.