Application and Nomination Process

Registration Deadline: August 18, 2017, by 9 p.m. (eastern)

Full Application Deadline: September 15, 2017, by 9 p.m. (eastern)


The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, announced in Budget 2017, invests $117.6 million to enhance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The program builds on the successes achieved through other federal investments in the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. It provides Canadian universities with a one-time investment to attract top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers (including Canadian expatriates) to Canada.

The program’s key objectives are to:

  • strengthen Canada’s research capacity through the recruitment and retention of top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers;
  • enhance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence;
  • improve universities’ capacity to generate and apply new knowledge; and
  • improve the training and development of highly qualified research personnel.

Internationally based scholars and researchers interested in this opportunity may enquire with any eligible Canadian institutions. The program administration does not take applications directly from researchers. Applications must be submitted by eligible Canadian institutions.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to seize opportunities and for responding to global challenges. As such, the program is committed to the federal government’s policies on non-discrimination and employment equity.

All institutions’ practices for recruiting chairs are expected to be open, transparent and equitable. Equity and diversity will be given strong consideration in the competition, consistent with the Government of Canada's expectations for a diverse set of awardees. Institutions are also required to ensure equitable access to opportunities available within the research teams that the program will establish.

Refer to the Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention for more information.


Internationally based scholars and researchers interested in this opportunity may enquire with any eligible Canadian institution.

The program administration does not take applications directly from researchers. Applications must be submitted by eligible Canadian institutions.

Eligibility of institutions

Canadian degree-granting institutions are eligible to participate in the program only if they have received, annually, an average of $1 million or more from the three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

To be considered degree-granting, an institution must meet both of the following criteria:

  1. It must be authorized by a provincial or territorial government to grant its own university degrees. A postsecondary educational institution affiliated or federated with another degree-granting institution will not be accorded its own independent eligibility, except if it receives its operating budget directly from the provincial government (ministry of education or higher education or equivalent) and has its own board of directors.
  2. It must have conferred degrees during the two calendar years prior to application or have students enrolled who will receive degrees during the calendar year of application or within the three succeeding years. The institution must provide evidence of its authority to confer degrees and evidence that degrees were or are expected to be granted within the required time period.

Institutional application limits

Institutions may only submit applications to the program as outlined above. Eligible institutions may submit a limited number of applications that equal up to a maximum dollar value per year.

Eligibility of nominees

Only researchers who are internationally based at the time of the application (both working and residing outside of Canada), including Canadian expatriates, are eligible to the program. Researchers who are already at a Canadian institution are not eligible.

Note that individuals nominated to the Canada Research Chairs Program prior to March 22, 2017 (i.e., in the competition currently underway), cannot be nominated as a Canada 150 Research Chair, unless their application is withdrawn; however, potential Canada Excellence Research Chairs candidates may be nominated. An individual cannot hold a Canada 150 Research Chair and a Canada Research Chair or a Canada Excellence Research Chair award at the same time.

Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have established expedited procedures to allow non-Canadian chairholders to work in Canada. Members of the Chair's team may also be eligible for an expedited work permit. For further information on the process, institutions should contact their local Temporary Foreign Worker Unit. The government of Quebec has established other procedures for foreign researchers taking up a chair in this province.

Institutions in the National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau) should strongly encourage non-Canadian chairholders to live in the same province in which they work. This is to avoid undue hardship related to the process of becoming a permanent resident.

Eligible research areas

Institutions may submit applications in all disciplines of research in the social sciences and humanities; natural sciences and engineering; and health and related life sciences. An institution may recruit within an existing area of strength or it may use the research chair to build critical mass in a new area.

Forms and Application Instructions

All applications must be submitted electronically through the program’s online portal by the deadlines outlined below. Registrations and full applications received after the deadlines or that are incomplete will be withdrawn from the competition. No extensions to the deadlines will be provided.



Submission Deadline

Registration Form

August 18, 2017, by 9 p.m. (eastern)

Full Application Form

September 15, 2017, by 9 p.m. (eastern)

Results announced

Prior to December 31, 2017

Online Portal

All forms must be submitted through the online portal or they will be deemed ineligible. Details on how to access the online portal will be provided to eligible institutions by email.

Registration deadline

To be eligible to submit a full application, institutions must first submit a registration form to the online portal by 9 p.m. (eastern), August 18, 2017, providing key information on each of the applications they intend to submit. The registration form was shared with all eligible institutions through the program’s online portal.

Full application deadline

The full applications must be uploaded to the online portal by 9 p.m. (eastern), September 15, 2017.

The full application form and instructions will be shared with all eligible institutions through the program’s online portal at a later date. Each full application must consist of the following mandatory parts:

  • Application Form
  • Application Administrative Form
  • Three letters of reference

Letters of Reference

All full applications must include three letters of reference. All three letters must be from established authorities in the field who are not in a conflict of interest with the candidate as outlined on the Conflict of Interest page.

  • One letter must be from a recognized international authority in the candidate’s field who does not reside in the country in which the candidate is currently working.
  • All three letters should address how the individual meets the program’s evaluation criteria.
  • All three letters must be submitted with the full application form by the full application deadline. No exceptions will be provided.
  • All three letters should limit unconscious bias.

Letters of reference must:

  • be dated and clearly state the full name of the Canada 150 Research Chair applicant;
  • be presented on letterhead, and include the referee’s  name, position, department, institution, email address and telephone number;
  • include an original signature;
  • include a statement from the referee declaring that there is no conflict of interest; and
  • include a statement describing the professional relationship between the referee and the nominee.

Value and Duration

The program will award between 15 to 35 non-renewable chairs of one of two potential award values:

  • $350,000 per year
  • $1 million per year

There is no established distribution between the two award values within the program’s budget envelope. The two award values acknowledge the varying costs of research objectives. There is no restriction regarding the career stage of the individual nominated to either award value. However, it is expected that candidates nominated for the $1 million awards will be of exceptional calibre.

The award value that is applied for must be justified in terms of research costs. The nominated individual must hold a full-time academic appointment at the nominating institution as of the start date of the chair award.

Awards are tenable for seven years and must be taken up on a full-time basis by the individual, in Canada at the host institution.

Use of Funds

Award funds must be used to support the direct and indirect costs of research for the chairholder for whom the funds were awarded.

The direct costs of research include expense categories such as:

  • compensation-related expenses;
  • recruitment and relocation;
  • travel and subsistence;
  • sabbatical/research leaves;
  • equipment and supplies;
  • computers and electronic communications;
  • dissemination of research results and services;
  • and miscellaneous expenses.

Refer to the Chairs Administration Guide for more information on eligible expenses.

Up to 25 per cent of the amount allocated for direct costs of research may be used for indirect costs. This portion of the award must only be used to pay for eligible expenses as outlined on the Research Support Fund website. The indirect costs component of each award is included within the award value; it is not in addition to it.

Equitable and Diverse Recruitment and Outreach Strategy

In keeping with the federal government’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, all participating institutions are required to demonstrate that their recruitment and selection processes are based on best practices consistent with the government's expectations for a diverse set of candidates to be put forward to the program. As such, all applications put forward to the program must be based on institutional processes that include the following:

An advertisement consisting of:

  • open advertising with a strong and meaningful commitment statement to equity and diversity, and encouragement for persons in the four designated groups to apply (women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities);
  • acknowledgment of the potential impact that career interruptions can have on a candidate’s record of research achievement; and
  • encouragement for applicants to explain in their application the impact that career interruptions may have had on their record of research achievement.

A candidate search and evaluation process by the search committee including:

  • significant efforts to identify a diverse pool of potential applicants, which could include tapping into focus groups/associations and organizations;
  • a search committee composed of diverse members;
  • training for search committee members on the potential negative impact that unconscious bias can have on the career path of individuals from the four designated groups; and
  • mechanisms within the evaluation process to ensure that applicants with career interruptions are not unfairly disadvantaged.

Refer to the Best Practices for Recruitment, Hiring and Retention for more information.

Matching funds

Matching funds from external partners are not a requirement. However, it is expected that institutions will offer additional financial support to increase the level of institutional support being provided.

Infrastructure Support Request

Institutions may submit, at the same time as their application, a request for infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The CFI is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada to strengthen national research capability through investments in research infrastructure in Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and eligible not-for-profit organizations.

This request is a distinct funding request separate from the budget for the Chair. Through its John R. Evans Leaders Fund, the CFI will contribute 40 per cent of the total cost of the infrastructure project, and the institution and its partners are responsible for securing the remaining funding.

Institutions must submit the application for these infrastructure support requests directly to the CFI. Institutions must also inform their CFI liaison when they submit an application containing a CFI component. The CFI will send the applications to the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat so that it can submit them for external review. The Secretariat will then send the external reviews of the applications to the CFI for assessment.

The CFI's board of directors is responsible for the funding decisions related to the requests for infrastructure support for successful chair applications. Following its review process, the CFI will communicate the decisions directly to the institutions.

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Conflict of interest

The program’s review process will comply with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations to ensure the effective management of conflict of interest of any participant in the review process and to ensure confidentiality of personal information and confidential commercial information submitted to the program.

Review process

The program will use a rigorous and competitive single-phase peer review process for awarding chairs. All applications submitted to the competition, regardless of award value and/or career stage of the candidate, will be evaluated against each other using the program’s evaluation criteria.

Expert reviews

All applications will be peer reviewed by experts in the candidate’s field of research. These experts will be asked to provide a written assessment of the application based on the program’s evaluation criteria.

Multidisciplinary review panel

A multidisciplinary expert review panel composed of world-leading national and international researchers will evaluate all applications from the perspective of the selection criteria, taking into consideration the expert reviewers’ written assessments and the application materials.

From an overall ranking, based on a holistic consideration of the selection criteria, the expert review panel will make a recommendation to the Tri-agency Steering Committee regarding the chairs that should be funded, along with a ranked reversion list in the event that any awards are declined. The review panel will provide its funding recommendations to the committee for consideration and approval.

Tri-agency Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is composed of the presidents of CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and the CFI (as an observer), and the deputy ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Health Canada. The committee will ratify the review panel’s funding recommendations, ensuring that the evaluation process was rigorous, objective, and transparent, in keeping with the standards of peer review excellence expected by the agencies and consistent with the program’s objectives.

Selection Criteria

The reviewers and the multidisciplinary review panel will assess all applications against the following criteria:

  1. Research/academic merit of the nominee
    • The quality of the nominee’s research track record, as measured through bibliometric evidence or other measures of research productivity and impact.
    • The candidate is a top-tier, internationally based researcher whose accomplishments have made a major impact in their fields (as appropriate based on career stage).
  2. Quality of the institutional support
    • The quality of the institutional environment (existing or planned) that will support the chairholder throughout the tenure of the award to ensure the success of the research chair. The assessment of this criteria will include the activities planned to support the chair throughout the award, as well as the plans in place to ensure the sustainability, including retention, of the chair beyond the period of the award.
    • The quality of the institutional environment in which the proposed chair will be established.
    • Level of support that will be provided to ensure the success of the research program, protected time for research (e.g., release from certain teaching or administrative duties), mentoring (if applicable), additional funds, office space, administrative support, and hiring of other faculty members.
    • Opportunities for collaboration with other researchers working in the same or related areas at the nominating institution, in the same region, within Canada and abroad.
    • Plans to ensure the sustainability, including retention, of the chairholder beyond the period of the award.
  3. Institutional equity and diversity considerations
    • The institutional commitment to ensuring that the opportunities of the award will be made available to individuals from the four designated groups (women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, and persons with disabilities), including:
      • quality of the recruitment and outreach strategy in terms of demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion; and
      • quality and extent of the institution’s commitment to ensuring that the opportunities of the chairholder’s research program will be made available to individuals from the four designated groups.
  4. Potential contribution of the proposed chair to the excellence of the Canadian research ecosystem
    • The potential contribution of the research chair in enhancing the research landscape in Canada, such as:
      • filling a gap within existing expertise;
      • building research capacity in new fields or increasing critical mass in existing areas;
      • likelihood that the work of the proposed chair will advance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence; and
      • potential for the proposed chair’s expertise to create social and economic advantages for Canada.

Contact Information

For more information about the Canada 150 Research Chairs funding opportunity, please contact:

Tel.: 613-995-3244