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Frequently asked questions: Evidence for Innovation


Q. Please clarify the composition of teams, their roles and costs related to their participation.  

A. The principal investigator (PI) and their home organization (i.e., the lead administrative organization) must be based in an eligible country. For Stage 1 applications, there is an expectation that the proposal includes a co-PI(s) who will coordinate work and will help administer the financial aspects of the project in the other country/countries where research will be conducted. Co-PIs must also be based in an eligible country. Direct-entry applications may also propose co-PIs but they are not required.    

PIs and co-PIs must be based at a university (or equivalent) or a non-profit research organization (e.g., a think tank) that are legally registered in an eligible country. Independent researchers/evaluators, and individuals employed by organizations other than universities and non-profit research organizations (e.g., management consulting companies, government agencies or international organizations) are not eligible PIs or co-PIs but they can be key members of a team.   

Co-applicants:  Teams are to include co-applicants who contribute to the aims of the research project and jointly share responsibility for activities and outputs. If co-applicants are based in an eligible country, the PI may include personnel costs to support their participation, if this is required. Such costs need to be justified in the budget notes and such costs will be considered during the assessment process.  

Individuals not based in eligible countries: PIs may invite and involve experts or co-applicants based in any country outside the eligible country list. However, the personnel costs associated with their involvement is not an eligible expense.     

Individuals who provide short-term expertise on a contractual basis do not need to be listed as a team member. They should be identified as ‘consultants’ in the budget, if they are based in an eligible country. 

Innovation agency personnel: Representatives from innovation agencies are expected to contribute to Stage 1 projects. At the time of application, agency personnel do not have to be listed as co-applicants although they can be. The application form will ask PIs to list up to three innovation agencies and to state their level of involvement. Involvement of innovation agency staff should also be described in the proposal. For Direct-entry proposals, there must be a commitment from at least one innovation agency and a letter of support from this agency. Innovation agency personnel can be listed as co-applicants. Personnel costs associated with their involvement is not an eligible expense, however non-personnel costs associated with their involvement or their organization’s involvement, are eligible expenses.     

If an innovation agency has a research and/or evaluation unit, they are not eligible to be the PI or co-PI. In such cases, innovation agency staff are to collaborate with an eligible PI.   

Q. Can innovation agency representative initiate a proposal? 

A. Yes, an innovation agency identifying can initiate and support a proposal but they must identify and collaborate with an eligible PI. For contractual reasons and to support independent research, all projects must be lead by researchers working at universities (or equivalent) or non-profit research organizations (e.g., think tanks).   

Q. Will I be asked to demonstrate the legal status of the lead administrative organization if my proposal is selected?

A. Yes. The proponent organization’s legal corporate registration must show that the jurisdiction of registration is the eligible country. For IDRC to enter into an agreement with your organization, IDRC must be satisfied that the organization has independent legal status (or “legal personality”) and is capable of contracting in its own right and name.

Budgetary considerations

Q. In which currency should I submit the budget?  

A. Budgets must be submitted in the applicant’s working currency (the currency in which the books of accounts are maintained). However, as a Canadian Crown corporation, IDRC restricts all of its contractual obligations for grants and contributions to the approved Canadian dollar amount. For more information about project currency and conversion, see section D of IDRC’s Grant application kit: a quick tour

Q. What signatures are required?  

A. The budget template, available in Section 8 of the program description and in the application website, has a signature box for both the PI and the signatory of the lead administrative organization. Electronic signatures are accepted.   

Where letters of support are requested, they must be signed.  

Proposal submission

Q. Can I submit my application by email?

A. We require applicants to apply using the SurveyMonkey Apply system and submit all required information and documents before the deadline. However, we do understand that some applicants may face technical difficulties in uploading the required information. If this is your case, please do the following:   

  • If you are having technical problems uploading the required documents, please write immediately to and describe the problem. We will connect you with our IT system specialist who will work with you to solve the problem.  
  • If you continue to have a problem and our IT specialist is unable to solve the issue, please send an email to requesting permission to submit the application via email. 
  • Once you have received permission from IDRC, you can then submit via email.  

Applications submitted directly by email WITHOUT HAVING OBTAINED PRIOR APPROVAL from IDRC WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  

Please note that, regardless of how you submit, applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  

Selection and feedback

Q. Will applicants receive feedback on their application? 

A. IDRC will share feedback on the selected proposals with successful applicants. Given that the volume of applications is not yet known, at this time IDRC is not planning to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications. If your application is unsuccessful, you will receive a notification following the review.