By encouraging collaboration and sharing resources — data management, ship time, tools and technology — OFI supports time sensitive, once in a life time opportunities to leverage complementary research and advance our collective understanding of the ocean.

Opportunities Fund

The Opportunities Fund financially supports participation in emerging ocean-related research that provides a unique opportunity for OFI researchers to link their expertise to externally-led projects. Awards, which range from $30,000 to $75,000, enable projects unlikely to be supported through traditional funding mechanisms (including other OFI programs) because of the transnational or time-sensitive nature of the unique opportunity.


The Opportunities Fund is open to current faculty at Dalhousie University (future participation by Memorial University of Newfoundland faculty is under consideration). Proposals must be aligned with OFI’s research priorities and complement an emerging program led by a Canadian or international institution in which the Principal Investigator receiving the Opportunities Fund grant would otherwise be unable to participate.

Researchers are encouraged to discuss their unique opportunity with Dr. Anya Waite, OFI Scientific Director, prior to developing a proposal.

Selection Criteria

Funding priority will be given to initiatives that:

  • Align with, and add value to, OFI research priorities in innovative and creative ways
  • Support OFI's geographic focus of advancing the sustainable development of the North Atlantic and Canadian Arctic Gateway
  • Leverage significant resources from external (national or international) research projects, including current OFI partners  
  • Build strong connections with public and/or private sector researchers
  • Achieve the efficient and effective transfer of research results and technology to identified receptors in the public and/or private sector
  • Support the development of highly qualified personnel, consistent with the future human resource requirements in the public and/or private sector
  • Involve Dalhousie University researchers who are not currently OFI Principal Investigators 
  • Support short- to medium-term projects (one to two years) that respond to emerging or immediate opportunities for external funding
  • Address opportunities that are not supported by OFI's large research projects, timelines or criteria  
  • Include linkages across OFI partner organizations in research inputs and outputs, capitalizing on research and development capacity

All proposals will undergo a review process. Opportunities Fund grants cannot be used to supplement existing large research projects at OFI. 

Funding amount & duration

Awards, which range from $30,000-$75,000, are intended to support projects that will be completed within a 24-month time frame.

Funds must be administered in accordance with Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) guidelines and principles, and are to be used only for eligible expenditure as outlined in the Use of CFREF Funds, CFREF Administration Guide. Specifically, as per those guidelines, awarded funds must not be used to pay an awardee researcher’s salary or other remuneration. OFI does not accept responsibility or obligation for funds expended in excess of the amount provided through the Opportunities Fund, or for funds expended before or after the term of the Opportunities Fund.

Within 60 days of the end of the approved award period, recipients must provide to OFI a final report that describes what was accomplished, future plans to advance the next stages of the research, a summary of expenses, and information on the following performance measures: 

  • number of publications and average relative impact factor (ARIF)
  • list of international partners
  • list of national partners (including academic institutions, federal labs, NGOs)
  • number of High Quality Personnel (Masters, Doctoral, Postdoctoral Fellows) involved in the project
  • number of connector events with industry and government, lectures and presentations related to the project
  • diversity of the participants (as relates to underrepresented groups)

Application deadlines

This call for submissions will remain open until all funds have been allocated, allowing researchers to take advantage of unique, time sensitive opportunities as they arise. 

Application submission  

The following information must be compiled and sent as one document (PDF) to ofi@dal.ca:

  • Applicant information (name, title, affiliation, address, phone, email)
  • If funding decision is time-sensitive, please identify dates and rationale
  • Applicant Curriculum Vitae (please limit to two pages)
  • Title and summary of proposed research, description of expected outcomes, its significance and how these outcomes will be achieved; please provide specific timelines and expected milestones and indicate how the project supports (or is aligned with) OFI research priorities (1,000 words)
  • Description of the external research to be linked through the Opportunities Fund application: name of project, participants, research objectives, and how its work would be advanced by the OFI Opportunities Fund grant (500 words); in addition, please include a letter of support from the external project’s lead investigator
  • Project start date and end date; names and contact information of team members: collaborators, partners, students. OFI aims to foster a systemic, intentional, and holistic approach to diversity and inclusiveness to ensure welcoming, respectful and inclusive communities, and campuses. Please ensure proposals include activities to admit, engage, support and graduate a diverse body of researchers and students, with attention to enhancing access and success of historically underrepresented groups.
  • A budget that itemizes general categories of expenses and a brief justification for these expenses. Please use this document to create your budget: Copy Of Opportunity Fund Budget Template.