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The ERA program helps promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians. The ERA program encourages applications from all disciplines.

The goal of the program is to improve Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent.

Proposals will be evaluated on the excellence of the researcher (40%), the quality of the research (30%), the development of research talent (20%), and the strategic value to Ontario (10%).


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

  • Full-time faculty or principal investigators who, at the application deadline, are based at an eligible institution;
  • No more than 5 years from having started their independent academic research career;
  • No more than 10 years, taking into consideration eligible delays/interruptions, from having completed their first Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, or Medical Doctor;
  • Researchers may be awarded only one ERA during their career;
  • Researchers who are, or have been, Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are not eligible to apply for an ERA.


Each award of a maximum of $100,000 over five years. These funds may be used for salaries, benefits and research-related travel and expenses for undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians. In addition, up to $40,000 will be provided by the Ministry to the institution for indirect costs.

The award of $100,000 for direct costs must be matched by an additional $50,000 in cash from the researcher’s institution and/or a private or public sector partner.

Application Process

ERA competitions are usually held on an annual basis with an NOI deadline in June and an application deadline in August. The NOI is mandatory. Applications submitted in August for which an NOI was not submitted in June will not be accepted.

All ERA applications from McMaster researchers require Faculty and University endorsement.

If you have any questions regarding the ERA program, please contact Pamela McIntyre(ROADS).

More Information

Additional information regarding the Early Researcher Awards can be found on the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.