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Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) Early Researcher Awards (ERA) Round 17

Research Admin Offices:

  • HRS

Funding Type:


Opportunity Type:

  • Grant


The ERA program will fund up to a total of $100,000 (over five years) for eligible direct costs and up to a total of $40,000 for eligible operating costs, for a maximum of $140,000. The Researcher’s Institution must match an additional $50,000 in funds for eligible direct costs. All funds are to be used over five years.


  • Health Sciences
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering
  • Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities



Internal Deadline:

November 17, 2022

Sponsor Deadline:

December 1, 2022

Additional Dates:

  • ROADS Internal NOI - September 15, 2022
  • ROADS Internal Draft Application Deadline - October 27, 2022
  • ROADS Final Draft Application Deadline - November 17, 2022
  • Sponsor Final Application *Submitted by ROADS - December 1, 2022


Notify Department Chair, Vice Dean Research and HRS of Intent to Apply by September 15th, 2022 

Draft application due to HRS for review by October 27th, 2022

Full application due to MCU by December 1st, 2022

 All ERA applications from McMaster researchers require Faculty and University endorsement

The Early Researcher Awards (ERA) program was established to help institutions and their promising, recently appointed, Ontario-based researchers build research teams of graduate students, undergraduates, post-doctoral fellows, research associates and technicians. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent. The ERA is a discretionary, non-entitlement program that encourages applicants from all disciplines to apply.


The ERA program is open on a competitive basis to researchers who:

  • are full-time faculty or principal investigators (PI) who, at the application deadline, are based at an eligible institution (adjunct positions do not qualify);
  • have started their independent academic research career on or after January 1, 2016; and
  • have completed their first Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Medical Doctor or terminal degree on or after January 1, 2011 (anywhere worldwide).

Note: The MCU takes into account ‘eligible interruptions’, which may extend your eligibility window. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Michelle Czerwinski, Associate Director, Research Administration and Infrastructure, HRS (

 Additional notes for applicants:

  • Researchers may be awarded only one ERA during their career, however, researchers who are not successful may submit an application in a later competition, providing they continue to meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Researchers who are, or have been, Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are not eligible to apply for an ERA.
  • Researchers can only submit one application for the round.
  • The Government of Ontario generally defines an independent academic research appointment as a position where a researcher (PI) is capable of independently publishing, supervising, and applying for funding.
  • To be competitive, researchers are encouraged to be actively involved in conducting research that has been supported by peer-reviewed funding and to demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors.

Application/Nomination Process:

Selection Process

Eligible applications will be reviewed by multidisciplinary Peer Review Panels that make recommendations to the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) Advisory Board. The ORF Advisory Board makes recommendations to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, who makes the final funding decisions.

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Excellence of the Researcher (40%)
  • Quality of Research (30%)
  • Development of Research Talent (20%)
  • Strategic Value for Ontario (10%)

The Ministry plans on scheduling virtual information sessions to provide details of the program and adjudication process. HRS will circulate the information session details when they are released by the Ministry.

Application Procedure

  • September 15, 2022: Please notify your Department Chair and copy Michelle Czerwinski, Associate Director, Research Administration and Infrastructure, HRS ( of your intent to apply.
    • Matching funds are required for this program. Also, to be competitive, applicants must have a strong history of peer-reviewed funding and must be able to demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors and the benefits of their proposed research to Ontario. Therefore, it is advised that you meet with your Department Chair to review your CV and secure matching funds.
  • September 22, 2022: Once approved, provide the contact information for five potential referees to HRS.
  • October 27, 2022: The draft of a complete application and matching funds letter are due to HRS. 
  • November 17, 2022: The final draft, and a completed and signed HRS Checklist, are due to HRS.  Please note, applications received after this date may not receive a full review.
    • HRS will forward applications to the MCU by 5pm (EST) on Thursday, December 1, 2022


  • Grace Kim, ROADS
  • For additional information regarding the Early Researcher Awards (ERA) Round 17 competition, please visit the program website, or contact Michelle Czerwinski, Associate Director, Research Administration and Infrastructure, HRS (