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 three streams, Collaborations, Research Resources, and Exchanges and Linkages each has their own set of funding envelopes, timelines, and review processes.


    • Novel Collaborations
    • International Collaborations
    • Catalyst Workshops

Research Resources:

    • Frontier Research Venture Fund
    • Highly Qualified People

Exchanges and Linkages:

    • Lab Linkages
    • Visiting Scientist
    • PhD Exchanges

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 30 days from each application due date.


Timeline : Spring and Winter

Next Competition: Spring 2020

Amount: Maximum of $10,000 each

Novel Collaborations with Astroparticle Physics

Description: Funding to host a collaboration meeting, targeting the creation of new scientific outcomes. BlueSky ideas that seed exploration of research interests, or address overlap between research groups are encouraged.

Eligibility: Meetings will take place in Canada between Canadian collaborators, including any person who holds a position at a Canadian academic or research institute with a focus on Astroparticle physics. Participants must be groups that have not previously interacted scientifically (previously collaborated or jointly published), and interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

How it works: One to two competitions per year, that will take place in early spring and late summer. Within one year of award funds being released, the meeting must take place, with the final report due within 30 days of the event date. Funding for travel, meeting costs, demo development (equipment or software). Some calls may be targeted (e.x. Low Radioactivity Technology, Detector Development). Funding will be transferred to eligible institution upon invoicing.


International Astroparticle Physics Collaborations

Description: Funding to host international collaboration meetings in Canada to create international linkages on research ideas, or meetings at international locations that demonstrate clear evidence for future opportunities in Canada.

Eligibility: Meetings must be between a Canadian Delegation and an International Delegation, and led by senior research officials. Individual travel may be considered, however the goal of this fund is to promote larger group interactions, ideally with a minimum of three team members.

How it works: The meeting must be held within one year of award funds being released, with the final report due within 30 days of the event date. Funding supports some travel, accommodations, and meeting costs and may be targeted calls (Low Radioactivity Technology, Detector Development).


Catalyst Workshops Program

Description: Output driven workshops to advance/influence theoretical or experimental astroparticle physics research.

Eligibility: Any person who holds a position at a Canadian academic or research institute can apply.

How it works: The workshop must occur within three months of the award funds being released. Funding can be used for travel, meeting, costs, and knowledge translation. Workshops are task-oriented and must have a research related output as the main goal.  Outputs may include finalizing publications, progressing the development of R&D, knowledge mobilization, commercialization, or technology transfer outputs.

Collaboration Application

This application form can be used to apply to any one of the three competitions for support funds within the Collaboration opportunities described above. Complete applications must include this form, a full budget breakdown, and any letters of support from other partner institutions. If you intend on submitting applications for multiple meetings/workshops, a separate application should be submitted for each meeting/workshop. Please ensure the information provided aligns specifically to the requirements of the opportunities described above and herein.

Research Resources

Frontier Research Venture Fund

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.

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:

  • Programmatic or Network-level research partnership development initiatives.
  • 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.

Timeline: Spring and Winter

Next Competition: Spring 2020

Amount: Maximum of $125,000

HQP Pooled Resources

Description: Funding for salary costs of research personnel (post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate students, or technical research personnel) that offsets the real costs to a researcher (excluding scholarships, or salaries gained by teaching assistants, research assistants etc.).

Eligibility: Any faculty supervisor at a Canadian academic institution, that is eligible to hold funds from the granting agencies (or currently receives CFREF funding), with a focus on astroparticle physics, can apply for support of an HQP position.

How it works: Successful applicants will be granted one ticket for each successful position, to be filled within the period of six-months from the award date. Candidates do not need to be identified beforehand. Tickets are valid for six-months but may be renewed for an additional six-month period. To access research funds, candidates for positions must have a start date within one-year of the award date.  All unused tickets will be returned to the pool and made available for future competitions.

An example of the funds to offset 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.

The supported positions and their maximum funding levels include:

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow – maximum of $55,000 /yr + Standard Institutional Benefits. (Award is for two years max.)
  • Graduate Student – maximum of $24,000/yr. (Award is for two years for an M.Sc. Student, up to four years for a Ph.D.)
  • Undergraduate Student – maximum of $10,000/yr. (Award is for a single summer, or coop research term.)

The target of competition five (deadline November 4th, 2019) will be to bolster graduate students.  Other position types may be considered based on the availability of funds and/or under exceptional situations.

Timeline: When announced

Next competition: Currently accepting applications

Call Opened: October 4th, 2019
Application Deadline: November 4th, 2019
Results Released: Late November, 2019

Completed applications may be sent to admin@mcdonaldinstitute.ca.

Application resources:

Exchanges and Linkages

Timeline: Open Call


Lab Linkage Awards

Description: Funding for faculty and PhD students to participate in a reciprocal lab exchange between research groups in Canada. The goal of this seed funding is to enable faculty and student exposure and interaction within the broader Astroparticle physics community.

Eligibility: Exchanges must involve a McDonald Institute faculty member. Submissions should highlight opportunities for alignment with other learning experiences within that week, such as collaboration meetings, delivery of colloquiums and/or seminars and/or conferences. Funding is for the travel of one faculty, one post-doc, and one other student across Canada for each ‘sending lab’ and ‘receiving lab’, and will cover transportation, and accommodations.

How it works: Within three months of first trip, the second reciprocal trip needs to occur. The application should be a joint proposal between two groups — either side can initiate the exchange process.

Amount: Maximum of $10,000

Visiting Scientist

Description: Funding for scientists to visit a host institution for collaborative work on research, similar to a research sabbatical, ranging from three to 12 months, with the goal of advancing areas of research that align with the objectives of the McDonald Institute and will have a scientific impact on the hosting or sending institution.

Eligibility: Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant field and the proposed research program must be aligned with the objectives of the McDonald Institute. Funding is only for travel and does not cover any salary considerations.

How it works: Ideally visits will range from 3 to 12 months to maximize the experience, but proposals with shorter timelines may be considered. Either the host institution or the proposed visitor can apply, but must be supported by an invitation letter, sent to the McDonald Institute within six months of the application submission. Combined PhD students and faculty are encouraged.

Amount: Maximum of $25,000.

PhD Exchange

Description: This program aims to expand opportunities for Canadian and International PhD students to gain experience and international exposure during their studies in astroparticle physics or related fields.

Eligibility: Any Canadian PhD currently enrolled at a recognized academic institution, travelling within Canada, or going to a foreign country, or any international PhD student coming to Canada and studying astroparticle physics or a related field can apply. Funding will cover the costs of travel and accommodations during the exchange.

How it works: Exchanges can be up to six months in duration. There are a limited number of awards annually. Written consent of the student’s Supervisor is required (digital application sign-off is acceptable) and an invitation letter from the hosting institution must be received by the McDonald Institute within six months of the application. Applications requesting retroactive coverage are not eligible. Funds will be distributed through a cost recovery model, upon receiving compliant invoices.

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