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You are here: ROADS at McMaster > Funding Sources > Institutional Initiatives > Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence (ORF-RE)

Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence (ORF-RE)

The ORF-RE program promotes research excellence of strategic value to Ontario by supporting new leading-edge, transformative, and internationally significant research.

Applications are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Research Excellence: Scientific merit, quality of research, and expertise of research team
  • Research Impact: Anticipated value to Ontarians in the following three categories:
    • Commercialization
    •  Economic Benefits
    •  Societal Benefits
  • Research Translation: Strategy for achieving Research Impact
  • Project Management and Governance: Management of the project, including governance structure, sustainability, budget, and milestones



As a general rule, the minimum support provided by the ORF-RE to a project is $1 million. The maximum support provided is $4 million.

The program will contribute towards eligible operating costs of an approved research project to a maximum of 1/3 of the total project costs, with 1/3 of the remainder coming from the applicant institution(s) and 1/3 from the private sector.

Please note, funding from research-focused charities, foundations, and private philanthropists, as well as municipal and federal government contributions are considered “institutional” rather than private sector.



The ORF-RE program funds:

  • direct costs, including:
    • Salaries and benefits: claimed in proportion to the time spent working on the project
    • Facilities and equipment: up to 10% of total direct costs
    • Other direct research costs: including, but not limited to, materials, fieldwork expenses, and dissemination of research
    • Management and administration: up to 5% of total direct costs
  • indirect costs—the overhead costs of doing research

ORF does not fund:

  • contract (fee-for-service) research
  • clinical trials
  • endowed research chairs or any other endowments
  • high performance computing platforms 
  • costs related to proposal development
  • fees for use of equipment owned by the institution unless such fees are charged to all institutional users based on a published schedule
  • costs related to existing facilities infrastructure improvements, not specifically related to the proposal and/or not included in the original application
  • opportunity costs
  • any items or services not directly related to the project
  • alcohol costs at hospitality events


Application Process:

ORF-RE competitions are usually held every one to two years. All applications, including those led by McMaster and those where we partner on proposals led by other institutions, require Faculty endorsement. Applicants are encouraged to contact their Associate Deans Research to discuss their proposals.

Once ROADS has received an email from your Associate Dean Research indicating his or her approval of your application, a Senior Advisor will be assigned to assist you with development of your proposal.

More Information:

If you have questions regarding the ORF-RE program, please contact Sherisse Webb, Assistant Director, Development, at or extension 26946.

Additional information about the ORF-RE program can also be found on the MRI website at