Digital Research Infrastructure Contribution Program Applicant Guide

Update: the deadline for submission of applications has been extended to 11:59 p.m. PST on Monday, May 6, 2019.

Update: the page limit for the "Implementation" section has been increased from 1.5 pages to 2 pages.


The Applicant Guide was developed to assist in submitting an application for funding for the Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) Strategy Contribution Program ("the program"). Only one application will be selected for funding under this program.

Applicants to the program are expected to demonstrate how they will meet the vision, mission and objectives of the DRI Contribution Program, as outlined in the Program Guide. Applicants are required to demonstrate their abilities and plans related to governance, management, collaboration and engagement.

To be considered for the program, applications must be complete and provide all the required information, as stated in this guide.

Applicants with additional questions are encouraged to contact Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada at

Submission details and deadline

Applicants must provide a complete application consisting of one electronic version of the DRI program Application Form, proposal and required appendices.

Interested applicants must request the Application Form from ISED by emailing:

The Application Form is meant to identify up to three applicants of the proposed organization in order to provide information on the planned interim leadership candidates of the proposed organization. The proposed interim leadership should represent the leadership for the proposed organization until a formal Board of Directors is identified.

Written proposals must be filled out using the provided template and must not exceed 15 pages (8.5 x 11 paper, single-spaced, with 12 point font), excluding appendices.

All applications must be submitted via e-mail to Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada at:

Applications must be received by Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) by 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, May 6, 2019.

Upon submitting their application form, Applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of the application. All Eligible Applicants will be invited to an in-person meeting at the Ottawa headquarters of ISED in mid-May to present their proposal and discuss its details with an advisory group to ISED.

All applications, regardless of the results, will be retained for ten (10) years for record keeping purposes. After ten (10) years it will be destroyed. Applications received outside the application process will be returned to the Applicant directly, unread and unassessed.

ISED, its officials, employees, agents and contractors may collect and share information as ISED deems necessary in order to assess the application, to administer and monitor the implementation of the contribution program, and to evaluate the results of the contribution program. Information provided to ISED will be treated in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. These laws govern the use, protection and disclosure of personal, financial and technical information by federal government departments and agencies.

Application requirements for the full application

1.1. Contents

All applications must include the following elements:

  1. Program Application Form
  2. Completed proposal that contains the following sections:
    1. Executive Summary
    2. Implementation
    3. Collaboration and Engagement
    4. Governance and Management
  3. Appendices*
    1. An outline of engagement activities over the next 2 years (until approximately March 2021)
    2. Organizational chart for the governance structure
    3. Competency matrix for the planned Board of Directors, if available
    4. Resumes and biographies for all listed applicants on the Application Form
    5. Letters of Support

*Please note that only the appendices above will be considered during the assessment of proposals. Additional attachments included as part of the full application will not be reviewed. ISED reserves the right to seek additional information that is required from Applicants for the assessment of proposals.

1.2 Templates

A Microsoft Word template is provided for part of the Application. The available template must be used and submitted in the format provided (e.g., using the same columns or headings, not saved as another file format).

1.3 Formatting

  • Document Type: All applications, including the program Application Form, must be typed.
  • Font: Must be easy to read (12-point minimum). Smaller type may be used in figures and tables but must be clearly legible.
  • Line spacing: Single
  • Margins: One (1) inch top, bottom, left, and right.
  • Tables, Graphs, Figures, and Images: Must be of a size that is easily readable or viewable and may be landscape orientation.
  • Page Numbering: all pages must be numbered sequentially.
  • Paper size: Letter (8 ½ inches by 11 inches)
  • Application language: Official language (English or French) of choice. Applications will not be accepted in any other languages.


Applicants must:

  • Throughout the proposal (i.e., for each criteria category of implementation, governance and management, and collaboration and engagement), describe how the Applicant will meet and implement the vision, mission and objectives of the program as outlined in the Program Guide.

Section A) Executive Summary

Applicants must:

  • Provide an overview of the salient points and strengths of the Applicant's proposal.

Note: The executive summary may be used for communications purposes, and will not be formally assessed as part of the application assessment.

(Maximum 250 words, approximately 0.5 pages)

Section B) Implementation

Applicants must:

  • Provide an overview of an implementation plan including a high-level description of planned activities for the first 2 years of the organization's operations under the contribution program.
  • If available, describe any plans to address deficiencies in the DRI ecosystem that the Recipient aims to address.

(Maximum 1000 words, approximately 2 pages)

Section C) Collaboration and Engagement

Applicants must:

  • Explain the Applicant's plan to identify and validate researcher needs and priorities, and the principles/priorities upon which this plan will be guided.
  • Identify key stakeholders in the DRI ecosystem with whom the Recipient will work collaboratively.
  • Provide a proposal to work collaboratively with other key DRI players to ensure a coordinated approach to meeting researcher needs.

(Maximum 1000 words, approximately 2 pages)

As an appendix, include an engagement plan covering the above required engagement activities to cover the next 2 years (until approximately spring 2021).

Section D) Governance and Management

D1. Governance

Applicants must:

  • Describe the proposed governance and explain how it will enable the organization to plan its activities and be responsive to emerging opportunities within the academic sector and to the priorities of its members, particularly researchers.
    • Describe the expected characteristics of members of the Board of Directors and demonstrate that the planned Board of Directors reflects ARC, DM and RS expertise, with a focus on researcher perspectives, and inclusion of technical and industry perspectives.
    • Describe planned key governance committees
  • Explain how the Recipient will take into account the diversity of researcher needs in the governance of its operations.
  • Explain how diversity, including gender and geographic representation, will be taken into consideration in the composition of the Board and other governance structures, as well as the selection of candidates for leadership positions within the Recipient, including any commitments and policies that will sustain a diverse and gender-balanced organization going forward.
  • It is expected that no organization or individual would be involved in decisions from which they or the organizations they represent could materially benefit. In this context, provide details on how this conflict of interest requirement will be managed in the composition and operation of the proposed governance.
  • Describe how the governance of the new non- profit organization will represent an improvement over the status quo.

(Maximum 2000 words, approximately 4 pages, excluding appendices)

As appendices, provide an organizational chart that depicts the planned governance structure and a competency matrix for Board membership.

D2. Leadership and management capabilities

Applicants must:

  • For each applicant listed on the Application Form, describe their planned role and responsibilities within the organization.
  • Outline the roles and responsibilities of planned key management positions.

(Maximum 1000 words, approximately 2 pages)

As appendices, provide a short biography (maximum 250 words, approximately half (½) a page) and a resume/CV (maximum of 1000 words, approximately two (2) pages) for, at a minimum, each of the applicants listed on the Application Form. The resumes (CV) and biographies should:

  • Highlight experiences and accomplishments that relate to the roles and responsibilities to be undertaken;
  • Provide examples past successes in stakeholder engagement, and/or, a description/evidence of relationship-building capabilities.
  • Demonstrate technical and/or governance expertise;
  • Describe any previous experience in oversight or delivery of a contribution agreement, if applicable; and
  • Describe any previous experience in managing a significant budget, if applicable.

D3. Membership model

Applicants must:

  • Describe the proposed membership, including a description of how organizations/individuals can become members.
  • Explain how new members will be recruited, and how the model brings together members across DRI pillars (i.e. ARC, DM, RS)..

(Maximum 1000 words, approximately 2 pages)


Appendices must be attached, along with the Full Application proposal, to the DRI Contribution Program Application Form so that they are submitted simultaneously.

The following appendices must be provided as part of the Full Application:

  • An engagement plan to cover the next 2 years (until approximately spring 2021)
  • Organizational charts for the governance structure
  • Competency matrix for the planned Board of Directors
  • Resumes and biographies for all applicants
  • Letters of Support

Only the appendices noted above will be considered during the assessment of proposals. Additional attachments included as part of the full application will not be reviewed.

Letters of support

Applicants must include a minimum of two Letters of Support (maximum length of one-page), on official letterhead from stakeholder organizations as part of the Full Application, such as:

  • from a Canadian university organization (i.e. the U15 or Universities Canada), a Canadian university, and/or other relevant organizations.

Content of the letters should include:

  • Paragraph on stakeholder confidence in governance abilities.
  • Paragraph on stakeholder confidence in ability to identify and respond to the needs of researchers.

Proposals that do not provide the required Letters of Support will not be eligible for funding. A stakeholder organization cannot provide a letter of support to more than one applicant.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to secure Letters of Support beyond the minimum requirements outlined above in order to achieve, or preferably exceed, the required support.

Letters of Support must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Length: Maximum of one page; additional content will not be considered.
  • Format: Letters can be submitted as PDF or Microsoft Word documents only.
  • Language: Written in one of Canada's official languages (English or French).
  • Endorsement: Signed by a senior executive (e.g., C-level executive), or by a senior representative (other types of organizations such as post-secondary institutions).
  • Presentation: Provided on official letterhead.
  • Date: Letters cannot be dated earlier than the launch of the Digital Research Infrastructure Contribution Program's application process.
  • Submission: The letters must be submitted with the DRI Application Form.

Contact information

Digital Research Infrastructure

C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street, 9th floor, East Tower
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H5