Funding Opportunities

The McDonald Institute has several funding opportunities to enable meaningful scientific progress and maximize collaborative interactions, researcher exposure and overall impact of the Astroparticle physics community.  The four streams, Internships,  Research Resources, Exchanges and Linkages, and Collaborations each has its own set of funding envelopes, timelines, and review processes.


Research Resources:


Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenization:


All applications will be reviewed by the McDonald Institute Research Management Committee, which oversees the scientific progress of the McDonald Institute, with award results available within 60 days from each application due date. If you are currently receiving funding through the McDonald Institute, you will require the templates available in our financial toolkit.




Research Resources

Proof of Concept Seed Fund Pilot Program – OPEN

Description: The McDonald Institute Proof-of-Concept Seed Fund Program provides early-stage support for technology innovation supervised by an awardee. Funding of up to $20,000 CAD is currently available to offset the real costs to an eligible astroparticle physics researcher developing an early-stage demonstration of practical technologies either adapted, or transferred from research-driven activities. Funding may be used for a portion, or the entirety of costs incurred for, prototype development, technology integration, or technology demonstration. Once funds for the current Pilot are exhausted, the opportunity will close until the next fiscal year (April 2022- March 2023).

Applicant Eligibility: Any researcher focused on astroparticle physics and already eligible to hold funds from Tri-Council granting agencies (or currently in receipt of CFREF funding through the McDonald Institute) may apply if they are eligible to manage an institutional research account. Any researcher working under the direct supervision of a researcher meeting the above criterion may act as the application lead (proponent), but all funds must flow through a Tri-Council eligible researcher’s account (awardee).

Eligible Expenses: Successful awardees may invoice the McDonald Institute to recover up to $20,000 of proof-of -concept costs including salary costs of awardee-supervised research personnel (post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate students, or technical or engineering staff); materials, licences and fees required to fabricate, operate or demonstrate the proof of concept (including fees for machining work, assembly, software development). Up to 20 percent of an award is eligible for travel support related to proof-of-concept activities. Documented expenses incurred in the three months prior to an award letter may be reimbursed if they are CFREF eligible, provided that the applicant has disclosed such prior spending in their application budget.

Ineligible Expenses: Awardees will not be eligible for the reimbursement of intellectual property protection costs, legal advice, hospitality, or the recovered costs of goods that are subsequently sold to a third party (e.g., prototypes or services that are sold as products). This list is not exhaustive, please reach out to the program contact staff for confirmation of eligibility.

How it works: Successful applicants will be granted an award letter committing the McDonald Institute to reimburse up to $20,000 CAD of receipted expenses incurred up to 12 months from the award date. The target of the first award call is to bolster community members’ experience in mobilizing research technology to address practical problems and to de-risk such mobilizations by demonstrating feasibility (problem-solution “fit”). Applications are welcomed at any time for this funding opportunity Once this funding pool (currently $20,000 CAN) has been exhausted, this competition will close for the current fiscal year. Contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen (Business Development Officer) for additional application information and guidance.

Call for applications opens: April 18, 2022. Results will be announced within one month of each application submission.

Potential applicants must contact Dr. Alexandra Pedersen, the McDonald Institute Business Development Officer, at prior to submitting an application to discuss the project.

Completed applications may be sent to with the subject line “Proof of Concept Seed Fund – {Applicant Last Name}”.


Frontier Research Venture Fund – OPEN

Description: One year of research funding for new high-risk, high-reward research areas that help maximize the scientific output from the suite of experiments that are currently operational or under development at SNOLAB or internationally.

Eligibility: Funding is for faculty members at any Canadian academic institution, who can currently hold funds from of any the granting agencies including CFREF.

Projects must be one year in length and address one of the following:

  • Unique capacity building/training/professional development opportunities within existing research projects.
  • Seed funding of new research and development initiatives to build new teams or enable proof of principle that will lead to follow-on funding from other sources of research support.
  • Funding can be used for salaries, equipment, materials, supplies, and travel.

How it works: Successful recipients will be notified by award letter, which stipulates the terms of the funding. The one-year window begins when the funds are released, upon signing of the award letter. Funds will be transferred to the faculty’s institution using the standard processes.

Reporting is ongoing, per the use of funds, on a quarterly basis. Indirect costs may be eligible for additional funding but must be indicated at the time the award letter is signed and outlined in a separate budget submission.

Competition Opens: Monday, February 28, 2022
Competition Closed: Friday, April 8, 2022
Results Released: Mid-May 2022

Amount: Maximum of $100,000

Completed applications should be sent to with the subject line “FRVF Round 5 – {Applicant’s Last Name}”.

HQP Pooled Resources Round 8 Competition – FUNDED

This competition has been split into three (3) streams:

  • Identified graduate students for a maximum of two years (excluding scholarships or salaries gained through teaching and research assistant positions etc.), with a start date prior to September 2022 to benefit from the full two years of funding available.
  • Identified Post Doctoral fellow for a maximum of two years, with a start date prior to September 2022, to benefit from the full two years of funding available.
  • Undergraduate applications with a start date in May 2022 for the summer period (this does not require an identified individual).

The guidelines and a separate set of application forms are provided for each stream. 

Funding for positions is available to those pursuing astroparticle physics research in Canada aligned with the McDonald Institute Research Strategy. This will be one of the last HQP Pooled Resources opportunities as the CFREF funded program comes to a close in August 2023, and all spending must be complete by August 2024.

Eligibility:The applicant must be able to supervise at a Canadian academic institution and be eligible to hold an institutional account for grants or awards (e.g., granting agencies, or currently receives CFREF funding).  

The proposal must be in line with the McDonald Institute’s vision and scientific goals. 

NEW program requirements

Undergraduate Applications
The application form does not require an identified student. Please see below for more details. 

Graduate Applications
The application form requires an identified graduate student and their record of academic standing. Please see below for more details.  

Postdoctoral Applications
The application form requires an identified candidate and their record of academic standing. Please see below for more details.  

Proposal:Applicants can apply for multiple positions; however, a separate application form for each position must be completed. Where applicable, certain information may be copied between your applications, but each position is unique and will be considered based on the merits of the application package. Template completion is mandatory and includes several sections with assigned page limits.   

In the undergraduate stream, a student does not need to be identified. However, postdoctoral positions and graduate student applications must identify a candidate as these awards are aimed at the highest qualified candidates rather than the program. The graduate student and postdoctoral candidate should provide the applicant with a copy of an unofficial transcript and an abbreviated version of their Curriculum Vitae highlighting their volunteer work, associations they are involved in, conference presentations, awards, etc., for the application package. The purpose of the supporting documentation is to gather more information on the student, such as their research accomplishments, awards received, their academic standing, and preparation for study in astroparticle physics through prior experience and course work. 

Applications that are incomplete or fail to follow the template will not be considered. Once a proposal has been submitted, a confirmation email will be sent within one business day.  

How it works: Successful supervisors will be granted one ticket for each successful position to be filled with the identified candidate within a period of six months from the award date. The position is considered filled when a signed letter of offer or comparative letter is received by the McDonald Institute confirming the student/fellow and supervisor’s commitment with a start date no later than September 2022. The award letter is valid for six months but may be renewed for a period at the discretion of the McDonald Institute administrative staff when extenuating circumstances are in place. All unused tickets and/or portions of funding will be returned to the pool and made available for future competitions. 

Ticket Value: The McDonald Institute recognizes that different institutions have different pay scales and arrangements for student salaries. The expectation is for salaries to be consistent with the norms in your department, but the ticket value will not exceed: 

  • $60k maximum per year plus benefits as per your institutional plan, over two years for a Post Doctoral fellow 
  • $20k maximum per year over two years for a graduate student or  
  • $12k maximum per four-month term for an undergraduate student.  

We encourage faculty members to assist the students in acquiring other sources of funding, such as TA positions, as the award only covers faculty costs associated with the salary of the HQP. Successful applicants will be granted one ticket for each successful position. All unused tickets and/or portions of funding will be returned to the pool and made available for future competitions. 

An example of the funds to offset faculty real costs: A Master’s student wage is set at $18,000. The student is TA’ing a course that pays $5,000 and receives a scholarship for $5,000; the McDonald Institute would pay the balance of $8,000. 


Competition Closed: January 24, 2022, 4:00 pm EDT
Results Released: End of February 2022
Next Competition: To be determined 

Completed applications may be sent to with the subject line “HQP Pooled Resources Round 8 – {Faculty Last Name}”. 


Exchanges and Linkages


Graduate Student Exchange – OPEN

Description: This program allows graduate students at a recognized Canadian academic institution to travel and work with another research group for up to six months to gain experience and bring new knowledge back to their home research group. This opportunity is limited to applicants studying astroparticle physics or a related field being applied to the advancement of astroparticle physics. Funding will only cover pre-approved costs for travel and accommodations during the exchange. Application for partnership-development visits (of no less than two weeks duration) that could potentially lead to an exchange may also be granted.

Eligibility: Open to all graduate students studying astroparticle physics or a related field who are either enrolled at a Canadian academic institution and/or wish to visit a Canadian academic institution as part of the program. There is no restriction on citizenship.

How it works: Individuals will prepare the application form with the assistance of their host institution for the exchange. The program will cover the costs of travel and accommodations during the exchange, however, there are a limited number of awards annually. A budget estimation form must be completed as part of the application, applications requesting retroactive coverage are not eligible. Funds will be distributed through a cost-recovery model, upon receiving compliant invoices.


Call for application opens: April 04, 2022

Applications will be reviewed quarterly, and notice of decision will be released thereafter (in July 2022, October 2022, January 2023). If your application is based on an exceptional opportunity that requires a shorter timeline for a response, please make a note in the body of the mail during your submission.



Research Partnership-Building Workshops Program – Open

The Research Partnership-Building Workshops program aims to mobilize astroparticle physics researchers working in Canada by supporting novel workshops, training events, and short-term visits that either initiate or expand opportunities for eligible research or training partnerships.

Funding preference is given to activities that expand research networks internationally, but any activities meeting the “Core Application Criteria” below are eligible for funding. Applications should specify one of three streams for funding (via reimbursable voucher).



STREAM 1 – Novel Canadian partner-building activities (all participants’ primary appointments are in Canada) — awards up to $5,000 CDN reimbursement of eligible expenses

STREAM 2 – International participation in novel Canadian partner-building activities (10% or more of participants have primary appointments outside of Canada) — awards up to $7,500 CDN reimbursement of eligible expenses.

STREAM 3 – Canadian participation in novel, internationally located, partner-building activities (10% or more of participants have primary appointments in Canada) — awards up to $12,500 CDN of eligible expenses.


Core Eligibility Criteria:

– Research themes of proposed activities must align with the objectives of the McDonald Institute.

-Proposed activities must be novel – funding may not be used to support costs of normal-course events (e.g., experimental collaborations’ regularly scheduled workshops, recurring conferences, seminars, etc.).

-Applicants must have post-PhD academic appointments in astroparticle physics research at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution.

Who can apply?

-McDonald Institute funded faculty members

-Faculty members with astroparticle physics research appointments at a Canadian post-secondary institution

-Postdoctoral fellows with an astroparticle physics research appointment at a Canadian research institution

How it works:

The applicant must provide a completed application form. A budget justification form must be completed as part of the application. Applications requesting retroactive coverage are not eligible. Funds will be distributed through a cost-recovery model, upon receiving compliant invoices.


Call for application opens: June 01, 2022

Applications may be submitted at any time to The Institute commits to review applications within 3 calendar months of submission.

Please send all documents (Application Form, Budget Justification Form) to the Program Officer at with “Research Partnership-Building Workshops Program – [APPLICANT’S LAST NAME]” as the subject line.



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