John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF)

(formerly Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF))

COVID-19 Measures and FAQ (Updated Mar. 27, 2020)

To assist universities in attracting excellent faculty to Canadian universities as well as retaining the very best of today and tomorrow’s leading researchers for Canada.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is paying tribute to the outstanding contributions of Dr. John R. Evans, the CFI’s first Board Chair, by renaming the Leaders Opportunity Fund in his honour.

The JELF application was revised by the CFI in July 2018.  Internal documents are being revised to reflect changes.

What happens next? 
Please refer to the timelines for a guideline on when to expect a funding decision from CFI and when purchasing for the project can begin.

All communications regarding the award status must remain confidential until CFI makes their first public announcement. USask's Research Profile and Impact unit will coordinate all public research communication activities in consultation with the Project Leader (faculty member who is lead applicant).

The CFI Review process takes approximately 4 to 6 months. Research Services will notify each Project Leader as soon as the results of the application are received from CFI and will provide information on finalizing award agreements for matching funds and the CFI Award Acceptance Process. Please consult with Research Services and Ethics Office before beginning any purchasing for the CFI project.


The CFI has designed the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to help universities attract and retain the best researchers at a time of intense international competition by allowing the universities to:

  • acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research
  • create competitive packages of research support for infrastructure, direct research costs and operating funds.

In order to address the mandate of the JELF, and to stay competitive at the national level, all eligible faculty members at the UofS will have an opportunity to apply for the JELF competition.

The CFI has 3 deadlines for submitting JELF applications – 15 February, 15 June and 15 October. The University of Saskatchewan will participate in February and October JELF submissions, but not June submissions. The CFI Advisory Committee will review and screen the applications and will take into consideration the priority assigned to each application by the College. All faculty members with full-time academic appointments are encouraged to apply.

The CFI Advisory Committee may recommend that some applications be submitted for a later competition. The committee will accept group JELF applications (maximum of 3 researchers). Each co-applicant must have a strong link to the research project, for example a critical need to use the proposed infrastructure. The CFI Working Committee will assist the researchers in developing their full proposals.

Screening of JELF Proposals

As the CFI Advisory Committee will need to make strategic decisions regarding usage of the CFI envelope, the following guiding principles will be used:

  • Innovative research and strength of candidate
  • Fit with the Research Themes identified in the UofS Strategic Research Plan for CFI/CRC
  • Any redundancy of proposed infrastructure on campus
  • Full utilization of the proposed infrastructure
  • CFI ask and availability of matching funds
  • College ranking (recruitment and research priorities, building capacity, order of priority if multiple applications from a College)

Committees and Roles

Terms of Reference for the CFI Advisory Committee

The CFI Advisory Committee is chaired by the Vice-President Research and consists of Deans and Associate Deans and representatives from University of Saskatchewan committees and the Canadian Light Source. The committee advises the Vice-President Research on the management and implementation of the CFI program at the U of S.

The CFI Working Committee consists of senior Faculty members from each of the Colleges and the Canadian Light Source. The committee assists Project Leaders with the development of CFI applications and provides recommendations to the CFI Advisory Committee.

The CFI Admin Group consists of representatives from Facilities Management Division, Information and Communications Technology, Safety Resources, and Purchasing Services. The Admin Group is coordinated by the Research Services and Ethics Office. The Admin Group works with Research Services and Ethics Office to provide pre- and post-award assistance with equipment purchases, space and renovation requirements, and University policies and procedures. Research Services and Ethics Office also oversees post-award administration of the project. Admin Group Contacts List.

Award Acceptance and Post-Award Procedures

OVPR Financial Commons will assist the Project Leader with any applications for matching funds and with finalization of the agreements/contracts for matching funds. During this time, OVPR Financial Commons will discuss procedures for CFI purchasing and renovations, project reporting requirements and any other concerns, with the Project Leader. When all agreements for matching funds are finalized, all relevant certificates for health and safety and ethics are filed, and project space is available, OVPR Financial Commons submits the Confirmation of Award and Itemized List and Summary of Secured Contributions form to CFI. After the Award Agreement documents are sent to CFI, purchasing for the project may begin in consultation with the OVPR Financial Commons office. See CFI Post-Award Procedures for details.

Post-Award Administration

CFI awards are institutional awards and therefore, the Vice-President Research holds all project funds. OVPR Financial Commons, on behalf of the Vice-President Research, will administer each award and assist the Project Leaders throughout the process.

CFI awards are executed differently from awards through other granting agencies, as follows:

  • OVPR Financial Commons must authorize all expenditures for the award
  • OVPR Financial Commons is responsible for:
    • Coordinating all CFI and other funding reports. Each Project Leader will be asked to prepare status reports as needed
    • Providing all financial statements to the funding partners
    • Notifying each Project Leader prior to closing the project file
  • Research Services is responsible for:
    • Coordinating all CFI Annual Project Progress Reports