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Local Research Software Support – Call 1

Please note: the Call is now closed. Please subscribe to the CANARIE email list to ensure that you receive news and announcements.


Applicants must complete and submit three (3) elements through CANARIE’s proposal evaluation platform, Survey Monkey Apply: 1. The Application
2. The Preliminary Budget (revised)
3. The Statement of Work

The goal of CANARIE’s Research Software Program is to accelerate discoveries by equipping researchers with powerful software tools that maximize the impact of public investments in research. To facilitate researchers’ access to world-class software development resources and promote existing software tools that can be easily adapted for new research projects, CANARIE launched a pilot in 2018 to fund local, expert software teams at institutions to work directly with researchers.

Following the success of this pilot and similar efforts deployed in European countries, CANARIE’s Local Research Software Support – Call 1 will provide up to $3.6M in funding to build local expertise that will support and evolve research software tools for Canadian researchers. The call will fund teams of 3 dedicated, full-time research software developers at up to six (6) participating institutions. These teams will be available to support all researchers at the participating institutions, regardless of discipline, and will provide guidance, training, expertise, and software development specific to advancing research.

The purpose of the call is to:

  • Improve the quality and reusability of software for research through software engineering best practices;
  • Leverage research software that already exists, both within the institution and externally; and
  • Develop a critical mass of people in Canada who have expertise in establishing and running Local Research Software Support Teams, and who are aware of each other as potential resources.

Local Research Software Support teams will:

  • Support a large base of researchers at the institution in their software needs, not just those who need funding for large, custom software platforms;
  • Work with researchers at the institution to reuse/adapt existing software, avoiding the duplication of functionality in new software development;
  • Ensure that new software is developed using software engineering best practices to improve the likelihood of future reuse; and
  • Maintain research software in use at the institution to extend its operational life.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a Canadian university, college, corporation, or other legally recognized entity. This entity will act as the Lead Contractor. The Lead Contractor must be able to enter into a Project Agreement  with CANARIE. Smaller institutions may partner to share a Local Research Software Support Team.
  • This call is intended for institutions/organizations only; individual researchers or departments are not eligible to apply. Applications are expected to originate from the offices of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Vice-President, Research (VPR).

This call is not open to:

  • Institutions that already have a local research software support team in place, regardless of funding source
  • Institutions funded under the CANARIE Local Research Software Support Pilot
  • Federal government institutions (federal departments, agencies, or Crown corporations, including their research facilities)
  • Foreign organizations
  • Organizations not involved in academic research

Participation Obligations

  • Appointment of a senior representative as the Project Authority (PA) to set up the Team and guide the Team strategy. This is not a funded position.
  • Recruitment of three (3) Team members, including a Technical Lead. These are funded positions.
  • Letters of support from the institution (VPR and possibly CIO) and from at least three (3) researchers interested in using the services of the Team.
  • Participation in CANARIE project monitoring and metrics collection. There will be short status meetings at four (4) week intervals and a written report/review due at the end of each fiscal year.
  • Assisting CANARIE to determine Local Research Software Support metrics and best practices.
  • Software developed with CANARIE funding must be made available for other researchers to use at no cost through the Canadian Research Software Registry at science.canarie.ca.
  • The Lead Contractor will be required to enter into a Consortium Agreement(s) with any organization(s) involved in sharing the Team.
  • Lead Contractors will not issue any release or publicity concerning a funded project or its subject matter except with prior written approval of CANARIE.

Funding Details

The maximum funding available per project is $600K over a 34-month period, from June 22, 2020 to March 31, 2023*.

Financial Requirements

Accounting Representative – An accounting representative from your institution’s Research Accounting/Research Services or from your organization’s Finance department must prepare a Preliminary Project Budget using CANARIE’s template (revised).

An Accounting Representative is someone who will be accountable for related financial accounts, records, and the submission of financial reports to CANARIE. Should a project be approved for funding, CANARIE will work with the Accounting Representative to finalize the budget. The budget will form part of the Project Agreement between the Lead Contractor and CANARIE. The budget does not need to be signed for the application.

Eligible Costs – CANARIE funding is claims-based, i.e. quarterly claims must be submitted with supporting documentation for eligible project costs. Details of eligible and non-eligible project costs are listed in the Schedule of Eligible Costs .

In-Kind Contributions – All projects are also required to contribute in-kind costs that are equivalent to at least 15% of the total eligible project costs. Please refer to the Schedule of Eligible Costs for more details on in-kind costs.

Project Schedule

  • Start of Funding Period: June 22, 2020
  • End of Funding Period: March 31, 2023*

Selection Criteria and Evaluation

Projects will be selected through a competitive process. All proposals will be evaluated against the Mandatory and Scoring Criteria described below and in the The Statement of Work (SOW). Applicants must use the SOW Template to describe their project and its deliverables, and to address these criteria. The SOW will form part of the Project Agreement between the Lead Contractor and CANARIE.

Selection Criteria and Evaluation

For teams previously funded under CANARIE’s Research Software Program, CANARIE may share quantitative metrics from a team’s previous projects with the selection committee.

Mandatory Criteria

  1. The proposed Local Research Software Support Team activities will allow researchers to make use of Canadian digital research infrastructure (networking, compute, storage and/or sensors).
  2. The proposed project contributes to one or more of CANARIE’s Expected Results:
    1. enhances opportunities for collaborative knowledge creation and innovation within Canada’s research and education communities through the maintenance and development of the CANARIE Network and related tools and services;
    2. expands the research and education community’s access to and utilization of the CANARIE Network and the availability of tools and programming that increase the effectiveness of its use; and,
    3. enables the creation of innovative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services and accelerates their commercialization in Canada.
  3. The Local Research Software Support Team activities proposed are technologically feasible and economically viable in the timeframe of the project plan.
  4. All funded work must be performed in Canada.
  5. The Lead Contractor must be a Canadian university, college, corporation or other legally recognized entity.
  6. No more than half of the membership and Board of Directors of the Lead Contractor can be composed of representatives or agents of the federal government.
  7. In-kind contributions must be at least 15% of total eligible project costs. This is to be demonstrated in the Preliminary Project Budget (revised).
  8. New software developed using CANARIE funding must be made available for other researchers to use at no cost, through the CANARIE Research Software Registry.
  9. The Team Lead must be in place by September 1, 2020 or funding may be rescinded.

Scoring Criteria

  1. Institutional Commitment to the Local Research Software Support Team
  2. Researcher Support for this Project
  3. Researcher Terms of Engagement
  4. Project Selection Plan
  5. Staffing Plan
  6. Metrics

Evaluation Procedure

Proposals under this call will be evaluated by CANARIE through an external expert advisory committee.

Application Procedure

Prior to applying, interested institutions are encouraged to contact the Director of CANARIE’s Research Software Program, Scott Henwood, to discuss the applicability of the call for their institution’s circumstances. Please contact programs@canarie.ca to schedule a call.

To be accepted for evaluation, applicants must complete and submit three (3) elements through CANARIE’s proposal evaluation platform, SurveyMonkey Apply:

  1. The Proposal Submission Form (completed within SurveyMonkey Apply);
  2. The Preliminary Project Budget (revised) (uploaded Microsoft Excel spreadsheet); and
  3. The Statement of Work (uploaded PDF).

Key Dates

Proposal Submission Deadline

March 17, 2020 | 1:00 PM ET

Deadline extended: April 30, 2020 | 1:00 PM ET

Notification of Project Selections

April 24, 2020

Date extended: June 8, 2020

Submit a Proposal

Downloadable Resources


Reference Materials

Questions about the Call

* Note: In support of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s evolution strategy for Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI), transition of the CANARIE Research Software Program to the new organization for DRI (NDRIO) is planned for March 31, 2022. CANARIE and NDRIO will ensure continuity of funding for this call until March 31, 2023.