Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence

The Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence program provides research institutions with funding to support the operational costs of major projects of strategic value to the province. The fund provides up to one third of the total value of a project, with the remaining two thirds coming from a combination of private sector and institutional contributions. 

Application Timeline and Important Dates for ORF-RE Round 12

  • There is no Notice of Intent stage for this round. Applicants are encouraged to notify Western Research of their intent to apply as soon as possible. 
  • Ministry ORF-RE Round 12 Information Sessions
    • Tuesday, June 20, 10:30-11:30am
    • Thursday, June 22, 10:30-11:30am (colleges only)
    • Tuesday, June 27, 2:00-3:00pm 
    • Register Here
  • Thursday, August 10: Preliminary budget & draft including Mitigating Economic and Geopolitical Risk Checklist to Western Research
  • Wednesday, September 6: Information for institutional letters, draft partner letters of support and final budget submitted to Western Research in order to guarantee the required institutional letters. (for both Western-led projects and co-applicants on external proposals.)
  • Wednesday, September 20: Final proposal, all letters of support (collaborating institutions, partners, end users), and ROLA proposal submitted to Western Research
  • Wednesday, September 27, 5pm ET Submission of applications to the Ministry by Western Research


  • Eligible institutions include: universities, colleges, research hospitals, non-profit research institutions.

Application Streams

ORF-RE Round 12 has two application streams:

  • Stream 1: General - Basic and Applied Research
    • Open to all research disciplines
    • Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 1 or 2
    • Funds projects from $500,000 to $2,000,000
    • Funds projects up to a maximum of 5 years
  • Stream 2: Targeted - Experimental Research
    • Funds projects that demonstrate strong commercialization potential, where the innovation is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 or higher
    • Requires collaboration with an Ontario-based company
    • Funds projects from $300,000 to $1,000,000
    • Funds projects up to a maximum of 4 years

For both streams, priority will be given to applications focused on:

  • Automotive (includes electric vehicles)
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Critical Minerals (includes research that supports Ontario's Ring of Fire)
  • Genomics
  • Life Sciences
  • Medical Devices
  • Quantum Technology

Please note that the above amounts are inclusive of 40% indirect costs. The maximum direct research costs are therefore approximately $1.42M for Stream 1, and $714K for Stream 2. Cash from partners will be subject to an indirect cost rate of 25%.

Funding Amount

ORF-RE provides up to 1/3 of the total value of a project with the remaining 2/3 from a combination of private sector and institutional contributions. 

Partner contributions must have been received no earlier than September 27, 2022. Expenses (project start date) must be June 15, 2023 or later. Consult our ORF-RE Budget Guide or contact Western Research if you have questions regarding eligibility of partner cash or in-kind contributions.

Relevant Documents and Links

ORF-RE Round 12 Information:

Note that the ORF-RE 12 application forms for both Stream 1 and Stream 2 were updated by the Ministry 28/08/2023. Updated forms can be downloaded from the ORF-RE website. 

Potential applicants (both primary applicants and co-applicants on applicatons submitted through other institutions) should contact Western Research as soon as possible for additional resources and application support.


For more information or questions relating to the ORF-RE program, please contact Deanne van Tol and Suramya Mihindukulasuriya, Institutional Research Programs Officers.