Apply for Research Funding

As a Dalhousie researcher, you can rely on the Office of Research Services for help as you prepare your application. Application review has several main aspects:

  • Ensuring that an application meets program and funder guidelines
  • Providing comments back on an application to help improve it and increase its fundability
  • Reviewing an application from an institutional perspective to make sure that policies are being adhered to, and aspects such as commitments and associated costs of research (overhead) are appropriate and accounted for.

Staff are available to help at every step of the way. Contact information, including details for Faculty Research Facilitators, is available on the staff page.

Prepare a Funding Application

While preparing your application, here are some items you'll need to consider.

Funder Guidelines

It's strongly recommended to start your application early and read the guidelines very carefully. Different funders have different guidelines and stipulations on who can lead the research – as such, there is no “one-size fits all” situation. Guidelines can even differ within the same funder, depending on the program. For example, some programs are geared towards early career researchers. 

Check to see how the application is submitted to the funder (through a portal, email, etc.) and consult with ORS staff if necessary.


Generally, Principal Investigators (PIs) must be employees of Dalhousie and have an academic appointment spanning the period of the grant to apply for research funding and hold a research account. Some funders require at least three years of continual employment or an appointment that spans the duration of the grant.

At Dalhousie University, individuals who do not meet these criteria but wish to apply for research funding may be regarded as exceptions. For further details, see the PI Eligibility Guidelines [PDF 138 kB] and Request Form [Word].

Is this a Grant or a Contract?

Although the differences between contracts and grants are becoming less defined, the following criteria may help you determine what kind of agreement is required.

You likely have a grant if:

  • there is no funding for faculty or co-applicants’ time
  • the funding is not tied to specific outcomes. Payments are given in advance.
  • there is no transfer of results to the sponsor. Reporting may still be required.
  • any intellectual property would follow Dalhousie’s practices
  • there is no detailed budget required by the sponsor

You likely require a contract if:

  • there is a clear statement of work with expected outcomes and deliverables
  • there is a set timeframe for the work
  • there are discussions on confidentiality, intellectual property ownership, and/or liability
  • there are terms for acceptance or termination of the project
  • there is a set budget and payment schedule based on deliverables

Still not sure? Contact your facilitator or the ORS legal advisor for help.

Grant Writing

Before writing your grant, consider the fit with the funder and opportunity. Start as early as possible, and be sure to solicit advice and reviews from others (colleagues, etc.) Different perspectives and more eyes on an application can help improve its chances.

The first paragraph should capture the reader’s attention and “pitch” your work, regardless of what that section is called (Introduction, Background, Significance..) While writing, keep in mind the general reviewer – a broad, educated audience, unless the program specifies otherwise.

When writing about Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) in a funding application, the text should demonstrate reflection and recognition of the existing or perceived barriers experienced by underrepresented groups. Click here to view the EDIA resources page.

Does your research impact Indigenous people, lands or cultures, or Indigenous community? Here at Dalhousie, we believe organizational partnerships and collaboration is essential to help ensure research is not only safe but also beneficial. Click here to view the Indigenous Research Resources page.

Common Pitfalls Include:

  • Neglecting formatting guidelines
  • Asking for budget items that are not eligible
  • Inappropriate fit with funder or opportunity
  • Using jargon/inaccessible language
  • Non-specific goals and objectives
  • “Doing too much”/feasibility

For more tips, see the following resources: 

Budget Development

Read the Guidelines for the Parameters

  • How much can the researcher ask for?
  • How long does the funding last?
  • Is there a maximum per year? Is there a minimum per year?
  • What expenses are eligible and ineligible?

Associated Costs of Research

Associated costs of research (also known as indirect costs, overhead or administrative fees) refer to expenditures incurred by the university in the conduct of research not readily identifiable as expenses specific to a particular project. Examples may include facilities maintenance, management and administration of research, regulatory requirements, library resources, communications, IT support, research promotion etc.

These costs must be included in all budgets for contracts and applicable grants as a cost item, with the exception of Tri-agency grants. The Research Support Fund recuperates the costs for Tri-agency grants.

Please consult Dalhousie’s Overhead on Research Funds Policy [PDF] for different rates for grants and contracts. It is important to note that if a funder has a written policy on associated costs of research, the funder’s policy will apply. Otherwise, Dalhousie’s policy will apply.

Cash and In-Kind Contributions

Check funder guidelines for cash/in-kind matching requirements and eligibility of contributions. Confirmation and documentation of contributions is required (from a person in a position to make those contributions). For questions and guidance on space valuation, consult your Faculty. Don't duplicate resources – keep track of what promises are made in various applications.

Budgeting for Personnel and Students

For students, use your Department's or Faculty's pay rate. If there is no rate, consult directly with Dalhousie HR for rates (

For non-student grant-paid personnel, consult with HR (

For fringe benefits, the rate and types of benefits will depend on the type of grant-paid employee you hire.

  • For Temporary Grant Paid, Casual, or Research Students, the rate is 12% (includes Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D), and 4% vacation pay).
  • For Regular Grant Paid positions, the rate varies by annual gross salary, and in addition to CPP, EI, and AD&D, includes other benefits as well. See the table in HR's Budgeting for Salary Considerations SharePoint page.


Please reach out to ORS staff early in the application process if you have any questions. For more tips, see the following resources:

Internal Submission Process

Applications must be submitted via the ROMEO Researcher Portal and receive Departmental and Faculty approvals. The ROMEO file with the completed application must be received by the Office of Research Services a minimum of five (5) working days prior to the submission deadline, to allow sufficient time for review by ORS staff.

Applications requiring institutional signature or endorsement from the VP Research & Innovation must be received a minimum of ten (10) working days prior to the submission deadline.

Internal deadlines will be circulated via the ORS newsletter. Due to the volume of applications, some competitions will have internal university deadlines which will be established much earlier than the stated competition deadline. These internal deadlines will be communicated to applicants in advance.

It's important to monitor the progress of your application in ROMEO. From the moment you click "Submit", the file moves out of your "Drafts" folder and into the "Under Review" folder. It goes through a sequential process, passing through the signing authorities before arriving at the Office. Email notifications will inform you if any revisions need to be made to the application. The status snapshot in ROMEO will also show you which signing authority is currently reviewing the application.

The ROMEO Researcher Portal page includes user guides on how to submit an application in the system.

For more details, refer to the internal policy Completing the Investigator’s Checklist: Instructions, Guidelines and Outline of Responsibilities [PDF 171 kB].


Review Process



This flowchart is also available in PDF form on the Resources page.

Exclusions to this process include internal competitions for institutional awards, such as Canada Research Chairs, Canada Excellence Research Chairs, Canada Foundation for Innovation (large-scale competitions), and Canada First Research Excellence Fund, as well as the Operations and Maintenance Response Fund. Additional exclusions may include internal Expressions of Interest for programs where there is a limit on the number of applications that can be submitted by the institution (for example, Global Affairs Canada, Queen Elizabeth II Scholars, Robbins-Ollivier Award for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, etc.).

Applications to these internal competitions are completed through direct submission by the Faculty Dean to the identified ORS contact and brought forward to a committee for review. Committee decisions are communicated back to the Faculty Dean by the VPRI or a designate. Application development should include submission via Romeo, as per the process outlined above.


Internal Deadlines

To help support planning and preparation for upcoming major competitions over the Spring term, the Office of Research Services has provided a list of deadlines, including the ORS internal deadlines. Opportunities are listed chronologically, according to the ORS internal deadline.

For specific funding opportunity information, and for other upcoming opportunities, please be sure to review the ORS newsletter on a regular basis. Most opportunities have an internal deadline of 10 business days in advance of the funder’s deadline. As a reminder, whether the funding agency requires it or not, all applications must receive Departmental and Faculty approval and be approved by the Vice President Research & Innovation (or designate) prior to submission.

Please reach out to your Research Facilitator for more details or questions on a specific competition.

Major Funding Competitions in Spring 2024
ORS Internal Deadlines ranging from April 10 - October 11



Funder Deadline

ORS Internal Deadline

Responsible ORS Unit


Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) – LOI Phase

May 01, 2024

April 10, 2024

Grants & Contracts (G&C)

Research NS (RNS)

Focused Research Investments - Expression of Interest (EOI) 

EOI – April 29, 2024

EOI – April 15, 2024

Institutional & International Programs (I&I)


Connection Grant

May 1, 2024

April 17, 2024



International Nursing Research Program

May 1, 2024

April 17, 2024



Partnership Engage Grant

May 22, 2024

May 8, 2024


New Frontiers in Research (NFRF)

2024 NordForsk-led International Joint Initiative on Sustainable Development of the Arctic

May 30, 2024

May 15, 2024


Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)

CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF)

June 17, 2024

May 17, 2024 (institutional approval required)


NSERC/SSHRC/National Science Foundation (NSF)

National Science Foundation Global Centres : Bioeconomy

June 11, 2024

May 28, 2024



Call for proposals: Advancing the industrial readiness of quantum sensing technologies

June 14, 2024

May.31, 2024



Connection Grant

June 20, 2024

June 6, 2024



Focused Research Investments Full Application (by invitation)

July 31, 2024 (TBC)

July 10, 2024 (TBC)



Project Grant*

*Registration and Full Application deadlines have not yet been communicated by the Funder.

Registration: Anticipated early August 2024

Full application: Anticipated early September 2024

Registration: N/A


Full application: TBC, 10 business days prior to CIHR deadline



Discovery Grant*

*Official dates have not been communicated by the funder, but are anticipated as listed.

Notice of Intent (NOI): August 1, 2024

Full application: November 1, 2024

Notice of Intent: N/A

Full application: October 11, 2024



Find out the latest

Learn more about all current opportunities available in the Latest News for Researchers section.


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