Skip to main content

Seed grants

Applications for the first round of seed funding are closed. We will be taking new applications in 2024 — stay tuned.


The aim of Electrifying Society: Towards Resilient Decarbonized Communities (ERDC) is to accelerate and optimize the transition to decarbonized resilient communities. This entails design and integration of proven or new technologies for smart carbon‐neutral buildings, smart and secured grids, energy storage, energy management, integration of distributed renewable energy resources, and electrification of transportation, while emphasizing innovation, affordability, equity and the well‐being of society.

Announced in April, 2023, ERDC is now advancing to its first call for proposals for seed grants. Federal funding for this project extends over seven years and the ERDC anticipates three major calls for grant proposals:

  • Seed grants (2023): The goal of the first call is to leverage the proposed research in the ERDC proposal to achieve both early impact and support the preparation of large‐scale initiatives to be funded in the Impact Grant (1) call.
  • Impact Grant (1): The goal of the 2024 call for proposals is to support large‐scale initiatives which will become the backbone of the ultimate impact of ERDC and building its legacy. We will be looking for multidisciplinary projects involving a broad variety of partners, public and private, addressing the full array of implications and contingencies attending the electrification of society, including social acceptability and economic viability, to demonstrate real and significant impact.
  • Impact Grant (2): The 2026 call will be further defined with the development of the projects. Its aim will be to maximize the impact of previously funded research and leverage new opportunities that arise from that research and the evolution of the market and technology.

Call for proposals: seed grants 2023

Duration Two years
Value Maximum $125,000 per year
Deadline September 6, 2023 -- applications are now closed.
Submit application Applications must be submitted by email to using the application template (available in Word format). All submitted documents must be in PDF format.

Frequently asked questions

Eligibility and roles

Partner institutions are those institutions that were named as such on the CFREF application. These are: Concordia University (lead), University of Calgary, Toronto Metropolitan University and Dalhousie University. Collaborating academic institutions are: Carleton University, University of Windsor, École de Technologie Supérieure, École Polytechnique de Montréal and Université de Montréal.​

Each project has one principal investigator (PI), who is the lead of the project and responsible for the overall project and its goals. Projects should also have co-principal investigators, who are academic researchers co-responsible for the research and tasked with leading certain aspects of the project. Collaborators participate in research and specific tasks within the project, but are not overall responsible for the completion of the task, and can be either from academic or non-academic institutions/organizations.​



A research assistant cannot be a co-principal investigator (co-PI). Co-PIs need to be researchers from one of the four partner institutions or from collaborating academic institutions, who satisfy Tri-Agency (NSERC; CIHR; SSHRC) for university faculty to apply for or hold grants. Postdoctoral researchers are not eligible to be co-PIs. Requirements include:

  1. Holding a faculty appointment (tenure-track or tenured, or a term/contract position of a minimum of three consecutive years);
  2. Engaging in unsupervised research;
  3. Having the ability/responsibility to supervise the research of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Researchers can be on no more than three proposals as a co-principal investigator.

Yes, but we highly encouraged you to include team members from participating institutions.​


If you need assistance networking with other researchers and/or non-academic partners for your project/application, please reach out to the Scientific Committee members, listed on slide 16 of this PowerPoint deck. Scientific Committee members will provide you with necessary information and put you in contact with other researchers and/or non-academic partners. If you need help to find non-academic partners, you can reach out to your institution’s business development specialists. You could also directy contact non-academic partners already associated with the ERDC, or any others that you may know of or with whom you wish to collaborate. A list of non-academic partners involved in the ERDC is available here.

No, applicants do not need to hold a seed grant to apply for future calls.

Budget and expenses

No, the $125K/year does not include indirect costs. These will be added over and above the $125K/year. Please do not factor in or show overhead costs in your budget. Information about overhead expenses and transfers will be communicated to partner institutions.

Yes; however, a revised budget must be submitted, detailing the new distribution of expenses, accompanied by a new budget justification and a rationale for the modifications. In addition, the revised budget should continue to adhere to the minimum amounts for MSc and PhD students, and a minimum of 70 per cent of the budget must be allocated​ to highly qualified personnel (HQP).

A separate call will be issued for large equipment. However, small equipment expenses are eligible. “Small equipment” is defined as equipment with a unit price of $7,000 or less, following the Tri-Agency guidelines for Canada Research Chairs & Discovery Grants programs. ​

Under exceptional circumstances, a grace period of six months can be awarded with justification. The request for a grace period will have to be submitted three months prior to the end of the grant. For partner institutions who have been allocated a specific share of the funding, unused funds will go back into their pot and will be reused for future calls for their researchers. Any unused funds after the end of the grace period will have to be returned.​

The duration of the funding is a practical consideration aimed at getting projects off the ground (hence the name, “seed grant”) and generating early impact/results to help position us for the mid-term review. There is no intention to encourage/force the prioritization of master's students over PhD students. We strongly encourage the involvement of both master's and PhD students in these projects. Additional sources of funding (following the Tri-Agency rules on procurement of funding for the same project) can be sought and are encouraged. Since this program does not require matching funds from non-academic partners, non-academic partner funds can be used to leverage additional funds from agencies/programs such as MITACS (note: the same application cannot be submitted for funding from Alliance Grants). Additionally, there is no restriction imposed on researchers to apply to other grants for other parts/aspects of the project that are not funded by this CFREF.

Each partner institution has an envelope assigned to it as part of this seed grant call. An envelope assigned to a specific partner institution covers the expenses of principal investigators (PIs) and/or co-principal investigators (co-PIs) from that partner institution (including for projects that are led by other partner institutions). The total expenses from PIs and co-PIs from a specific partner institution should not exceed the envelope assigned to that partner institution. Depending on the budget ask of PIs and co-PIs from a partner institution, the number of projects led by that partner institution can vary. The objective of the seed grant call is to foster collaborations between researchers from various partner institutions.

The funding for co-principal investigators (Co-PIs) from the same institution as the principal investigator (PI), comes from the PI’s institutional envelope. Co-PI’s from one of the four partner institutions (Concordia University, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University and Toronto Metropolitan University) will be funded from their institution’s envelope. Co-PI’s from a collaborating institution (Carleton University, University of Windsor, École de Technologie Supérieure, École Polytechnique de Montréal and Université de Montréal) will be funded from the institutional envelope of the PI.


Non-academic partners are compulsory. Applications that do not have non-academic partners will not be eligible for seed funding.


Yes, either cash or in-kind contributions must be provided. Partners can also provide both. There are no minimum amounts for cash and/or in-kind, but these amounts will be seen as a demonstration of the degree of interest of partners and of their involvement in the project’s objectives and tasks. Partners are expected to take an active part in the project’s objectives and tasks.


Non-academic partner funds can be leveraged to obtain funds from some but not all agencies. Researchers cannot obtain funds from multiple Tri-Agency sources for the same project. For instance, if the project is funded by ERDC (using CFREF funds), the same exact project cannot be funded by NSERC Alliance. However, it may be possible to leverage partner contributions to obtain funding from consortia such as INNOVE or PROMPT, as well as from MITACS. Furthermore, Alliance funds can be obtained if researchers submit a different application that looks at an aspect/issue not covered by the ERDC-funded project (i.e. researchers do not submit the same application to the Alliance program as to the ERDC seed grant).


Subject matter eligibility and evaluation process

The call for projects lists a number of themes and platforms, along with examples. Projects must fall within one or more of these themes and/or platforms (though not necessarily be restricted to the examples provided in the call for projects). If you are unsure whether or not your topic is eligible for this call, please email us at with a short description. We will let you know within 24 hours whether your topic is eligible.

Yes, applications must conform with one or more of the themes and/or platforms detailed in the call for proposals. However, they do not have to be restricted to the examples mentioned in the call under each theme and platform. ​For more information about the themes and platforms and to get a better sense of the topics that fit the ERDC program, you can request a copy of the scientific strategy from You can also email us a short description of your project to determine whether your subject is elegible for seed funding.

Application topics can fall under more than one theme and/or platform, but you must pick a primary theme/platform for your project. Optionally, you can also indicate a secondary theme/platform on the application. Projects with more than one theme/platform will be assessed by the primary theme/platform indicated in the application and to which the largest part of the funding is allocated.

Two independent external evaluators (recruited based on the topic/keywords and by preference from the list of suggested reviewers provided by applicants) will evaluate the proposal. The evaluation will be forwarded to the appropriate selection committee (there are six selection committees, one for each theme and platform). The selection committee will rank proposals assigned to it, and forward the rankings to the scientific committee, which will rank the overall list of projects from all selection committees (with consideration for an even distribution of funds across the six themes and platforms), and send for approval by the advisory board. The advisory board will review the evaluation process and the recommendations of the scientific committee, and if no irregularities are detected, will proceed to approve the list. Projects overlapping more than one theme/platform will be assessed by the theme/platform to which the largest part of the funding is allocated. ​

This call is NOT restricted to technical fields and disciplines such as the natural sciences and engineering. It is open to all fields and disciplines, as long as the projects are relevant to the themes and platforms mentioned in the call for proposals and/or detailed in the Scientific Strategy (which researchers from partner institutions can request by emailing Applications from all disciplines are encouraged. The two reviewers who will evaluate individual applications in the first step of the evaluation process will be recruited based on reviewers suggested in the application. Furthermore, the Scientific Committee has members from non-technical fields. The evaluation process will be fair and transparent and based on merit and will not favor certain fields over others. Any such irregularities or concerns will be grounds for the Advisory Board to request clarifications and flag the process as unacceptable.

We aim to hold a transparent, fair, and equitable process for all applicants, with clear requirements, objectives and evaluation criteria. Appeals cannot be made on peer review assessments, eligibility decisions, failure to follow application instructions, or other non-procedural matters. In line with Tri-Agency appeals processes, only procedural errors can be the subject of an appeal. Errors may include undisclosed conflicts of interest or failure to provide required information. Such procedural errors must be demonstrated by the applicant wishing to appeal. Appeals must be submitted in writing within one month of receiving the decision. They should be concise and limited to two pages. Non‐compliant appeals will not be considered.

Application process

Applications must be submitted by email to using the application template (available in Word format). All submitted documents must be in PDF format.

Before midnight on September 6, 2023.

Times New Roman or Calibri, size 12

No, there is no need to add university partners unless they are providing cash. You do not need to quantify contributions from researchers. 

No, the references are part of Annex 1 and are unlimited.

These would come from your partners offering cash or in-kind support (non-academic or academic partners). The letters should include the partner’s specific interest in the proposed project, as well as the value in Canadian dollars of their contribution (whether it be cash or in kind). 

You must include letters of commitment from your co-principal investigators (co-PIs) as per Annex 3. These letters should be written by your co-PIs and addressed to the principal investigator (PI). They should outline the co-PI's specific expertise and how they will contribute to the project. The PI does not have to submit a letter, the application is proof of commitment.


Intellectual property agreements are to be worked out between team members with the help of the usual contacts in their institutions; research office, legal department, etc.​

Retour en haut de page

© Université Concordia