New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration Grant

The goal of the Exploration stream is to inspire high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research.

Submitting to NFRF-Exploration

All applications to the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) – Exploration competition are electronically submitted via the Convergence Portal. Please follow application procedures described in the program guidelines which are updated each year.

NOTE: 25% Indirect Costs of Research must be included in your budgets.

In order to obtain institutional endorsement and prior to submitting in the portal, applicants must send an RPIF that is filled out and signed by the PI, Head and Dean (as appropriate), and any relevant signed co-applicant forms (see below) along with a final budget and required application pages to

There is a two-stage application process: Mandatory Notice of Intent (NOI) and Full Application. Please consult the ORS Funding Opportunities page for internal deadlines each year. Where no deadline is stated, standard ORS submission procedures apply.

NOI Submission:

  • Your NOI should be submitted via the Convergence Portal before the e-Submission Deadline for ORS to provide the required online approval and forward your NOI application ahead of the Sponsor deadline. No RPIF is needed at this stage.

Full Application:

  • UBCO internal deadline (“Submit Required Pages to UBCO ORS” below): Typically, 5 days ahead of the Sponsor Deadline
  • Applicant’s e-submission deadline (“Submit Online” below): Your final application should be submitted via the Convergence Portal. Typically, 2 days ahead of the Sponsor Deadline.
  • Sponsor deadline (ORS forwards your application” below): Varies each year.


While ORS makes every effort to submit all applications on time, applications submitted after the UBC internal deadline will not receive a guarantee of administrative review from ORS, which includes confirmation for application completeness and compliance. As ORS must forward each application to NFRF after the applicant’s final submission, we cannot guarantee that applications submitted after noon on the sponsor deadline day will be forwarded. 

The application must be prepared using the Convergence Portal. All attachments must respect the page limits and formatting guidelines or the application may be withdrawn. For more details on how to apply, see NFRF Exploration competition webpage for annually updated links to the Notice of Intent to Apply Guide, the Full Application Guide, and Evaluation Matrices. Be sure to review NFRF’s Best Practices in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research in preparing your application.

In the “Host Institution” field, it is critical that you list the institution to ensure your application is routed to UBC ORS for approval. Failure to do so will result in your application not being routed to ORS for approval. This should be completed at the Notice of Intent and Full Application Stages. You will also be asked to list your department affiliation and position type (e.g., Assistant Professor; independent researcher).

Use the Research Project Information Form (RPIF) to obtain the required internal signatures, as per UBC’s Signature Policy:

  • UBC Applicant (Principal Investigator)
  • Department Head or Director of School or Institute (typically 4 days prior to ORS internal deadline)
  • Dean or designate (typically 2 days prior to ORS internal deadline)

Signatures required for co-applicants

Co-applicant signature pages are required along with the RPIF at the full application stage. Forms can be found on the UBCO ORS forms page. Note that a physical signature is not required.

When the co-applicant is from a different UBC Department/School than the applicant please ensure the UBC Internal Co-Applicant signature page is signed by the relevant Department /Unit Head/Dean. External authorized institution signature is required for co-applicants outside of UBC using the NFRF external co-applicant signature page.

If you are a co-applicant on a grant application initiated by a PI at another institution, you must still submit a copy of the application with required UBC signatures for ORS review and approval.

*NOTE: Currently, Southern Medical Program submissions are served by our colleagues in Vancouver. Southern Medical Program applicants should refer to the Faculty of Medicine Procedures or contact the UBCV Office of Research Services at for more information.

Applicants must submit a digital copy of their application (see list of required pages below) and RPIF to the Office of Research Services for institutional approval. Digital copies must be sent to ORS administration via: by the internal deadline. Applicants are encouraged to check ORS Funding Opportunities for current deadlines.

As the ORS processes a large number of applications during NFRF competition periods, the internal deadline is intended to ensure that all applications receive administrative review prior to institutional support / signature (by ORS). Please ensure you have collected ALL required signatures prior to submitting to ORS (the full UBCO signature policy can be found here), and that the documents submitted to ORS are identical to your Convergence submission. The following items should be included:

Submit your full application online using the Convergence Portal by the e-submission deadline. To do this, the applicant must complete the full application according to NFRF instructions and all co-applicants and collaborators must have accepted their invitations to participate. Once submitted, your application should be listed as “Received by Administrator” in the portal.

If all requirements are met, ORS will approve your application on the Convergence Portal by the agency deadline. ORS has read-only access to your application and cannot make changes. If the application is not approved, ORS will return it to you for changes. Note that at this stage, ORS is unable to provide criteria or editorial review.

Once ORS has approved your application, the status on the Convergence Portal will change from “Received by Administrator” to “Received by Agency.” At this point, material or revisions received under separate cover (before or after the deadline date) will not be accepted by the Agency.

Submitting an application is final; this action cannot be undone.

For more information, see NFRF Exploration Competition Webpages.

Contact for general inquiries regarding the NFRF Exploration competition.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your Convergence account, contact web support at or 613-995-4273.

Be aware that Help Desk hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, except statutory holidays.

If you have questions regarding the submission process, please email ORS at  or Melanie Fenton (she, her) Research Support Specialist at

If human subjects / animal subjects / biohazard materials are used for the project, the appropriate certificates of approval are required to be in place as funds will NOT be released until this requirement is met. For a certificate of approval to be valid it must state the exact title of the project and funding agency.

Visit the Behavioural Research Ethics Board for more information.

Note:  The Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation has the discretion to reject grant applications that have not been submitted through the proper channels if the applicant has a history of non-compliance or the application has included unauthorized commitments.