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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:

  1. Research Excellence: Scientific merit, quality of research, and expertise of research team
  2. Research Impact: Anticipated value to Ontarians in the following three categories:
    • Commercialization
    • Economic Benefits
    • Societal Benefits
  3. Research Translation: Strategy for achieving Research Impact
  4. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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, both McMaster-led and partner proposals, require Faculty endorsement. Applicants are encouraged to contact their Associate Deans Research to discuss their proposals.

Once ROADS or HRS has received approval from your Associate Dean Research, a Senior Advisor will be assigned to assist you with development of your proposal.

More Information

If you have questions about the ORF-RE program, please contact Grace Kim (ROADS) or  Michelle Czerwinski (HRS).

More information about the ORF-RE program can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ website.