Ontario Early Researcher Award

The ERA program provides support for new researchers to build their research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians. Applicants are required to demonstrate their commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion when developing the research teams for their projects.


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

  • are a full-time faculty member or principal investigator (adjunct positions do not qualify)
  • started their academic career on or after January 1, 2016*;
  • have completed their first Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Medical Doctor or terminal degree on or after January 1, 2011*;
  • have not already held an Early Researcher Award
  • do not hold, or have not held, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair.

*Please note that the program will consider eligible interruptions. Please see section "9d" of the application form. Failure to provide information will result in the application being deemed ineligible.

To be competitive, researchers should: 

  • be actively involved in conducting research that has been supported by peer-reviewed funding
  • demonstrate academic independence from previous supervisors.



  • Direct costs: $150,000 
    • $100,000 from sponsor
    • $50,000 matching funds (cash contribution) from institution and/or a partner organization**
  • Indirect costs: Up to $40,000

**OVPR does not provide matching funds for the ERA. Finance offices of UTM units or U of T graduate departments are the first points of contact for questions about ERA matching funds. Note that a common source of matching funds is the U of T Fellowship (UTF). 


Duration: 5 years



  • September 23, 2022: UofT Internal Notice of Intent (NOI). Please submit your completed NOI form to Andrea Hung (andrea.hung@utoronto.ca).
  • November 3, 2022: Letters of Reference. The application package must include three signed letters of reference. These reference letters must be directly emailed by the referees to Andrea Hung (andrea.hung@utoronto.ca).
  • November 17, 2022: MRA and Complete Application Package Internal Deadline. Submit a) MRA via the MRA system and b) the completed application package via email to the Research Services Office (Andrea Hung, andrea.hung@utoronto.ca) for Institutional review and sign-off.
  • Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 5:00pm: Sponsor deadline. Please note that the Research Services Office will submit UofT application packages to the Ministry. We require time to complete a final internal review, therefore applications must be submitted by the Internal Deadline of November 17.


Application requirements:

A complete application package consists of the following 4 documents:

Document 1: Electronic Copy of Application Form (including appendices embedded in the application form)

  1. A copy of the completed Application Form
    The Institutional Contact is:
         Kevin Hamilton, Director, Institutional Initiatives
         Research Services Office
         3rd floor, 12 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON  M5S 1S8
         Tel: (647) 302-8717
  2. Appendix A - Total Expenditure Budget
  3. Appendix B - Proposed Research Proposal (maximum 6 pgs including appendices, excluding references)
  4. Appendix C - Research Productivity and Recognition - Researcher's Full Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  5. Appendix D - Reference Letters (3 total to be sent directly to the Research Services Office, who will attach the letters to your application)
  6. File should be named with the following format: UNIVERSITYOFTORONTO_PI LASTNAME_PI FIRST NAME_ELECTRONIC

Document 2: Flat PDF of Application Form

  • a PDF of the electronic application (as above) along with Appendix B and C saved as one combined PDF document
  • Research Services Office will attach Appendix D (reference letters)
  • File should be named with the following format: UNIVERSITYOFTORONTO_PI LASTNAME_PI FIRST NAME

Document 3: Mitigating Economic and Geopolitical Risk Checklist

  • a PDF of the checklist completed by the applicant; signed by Research Services Office
  • File should be named with the following format: UNIVERSITYOFTORONTO_PI LASTNAME_PI FIRST NAME_MEGRC

Document 4: Matching Letter

  • Ensure matching letter is complete: $50k of matching is confirmed, CFC/CC included
  • Must be signed by Department Chair




RSO Information Session: Wednesday, September 28, 2022 @ 10:00 - 11:30am The Research Services Office will be holding a virtual information session to provide an overview of the funding competition and tips on proposal writing/budget compilation. Please register for the information session here.


Sponsor Information Session: The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) will be hosting three Early Researcher Awards Program – Round 17 information sessions on the following days:  

Tue Sep 27, 2022          10-11am ET     
Wed Sep 28, 2022         1-2pm ET           
Tue Oct 4, 2022             3-4pm ET 

Note: The sessions on September 28th and October 4th will be pre-recorded, however, questions will be answered live. 

Pre-registration is required on a first-come, first-served basis. Event capacity is limited. Registration will be done using Eventbrite. You can access the registration links here

Once you have registered, a separate email with the Teams Live Events (TLE) link and slido code will be emailed a few days prior to the date of the event you registered for.