Language selection


Ecosystems and Oceans Science Contribution Framework

Call for proposals

The project proposal submission period for the below priority area is now closed.

Please note that a second call for project proposals will be launched in October 2022 in support of additional priority areas.

On this page

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provides funding to build expertise in ocean and freshwater science and technology in areas that support the mission of the Department to increase our understanding of ocean and freshwater environments. Through this, we seek to better protect, sustain and restore fisheries resources as well as the aquatic ecosystems that support them.

The Department is seeking projects that deliver scientific research and related scientific activities that support evidence-based decision making and public understanding about the health of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Related scientific activities complement and extend scientific research by contributing to the generation, dissemination and application of scientific and technological knowledge. Examples of this include:

  • data collection and integration
  • ocean and freshwater monitoring
  • data analyses
  • modelling and hypothesis testing
  • scientific capacity building (Indigenous recipients only)
  • communication of science in support of ocean literacy

Please see the priority areas of research and related scientific activities for details regarding the priorities for which Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently seeking the submission of project proposals.

Priority area

Marine Conservation Targets


The Government of Canada is taking concrete action to protect, conserve and manage Canada's marine environment by investing in nature-based solutions, such as marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). In response to the growth of international scientific research about the measures needed to address biodiversity loss and global climate change, we are committed to conserving 25% of Canada's oceans by 2025, and 30% by 2030. The strategy for implementing the marine conservation targets initiative builds on lessons learned from meeting Canada's original target of 10% protection of marine and coastal areas by 2020. Previous efforts have demonstrated that achieving marine conservation within Canada requires a multi-pronged approach that is based on science and meaningful engagement with partners and stakeholders.

This priority area will consider:

  • single-year and multi-year proposals
  • to a maximum request of total funding up to $300,000*
  • over the duration of the project (to a maximum of 3 fiscal years)

*An exception to the $300,000 limit may be granted for proposals that include Arctic work or the use of major external subcontracted services (e.g., ship time, ROV use, helicopter charters, satellite imagery, etc.) to a maximum of $1,000,000 over the duration of the project.

Projects funded under this priority area must be completed on or before March 31, 2025.

For more information, see Meeting Canada's marine conservation targets.


The marine conservation targets initiative will provide funding opportunities for science-based activities and research in support of marine conservation efforts.

To be considered, projects must address the program priorities listed below, be science-focused and generate information to address key knowledge gaps in the ecological monitoring of marine conservation areas.

  • development of innovative or practical non-invasive tools and techniques to monitor marine conservation areas
  • development of models, tools and techniques to address gaps in the understanding of existing or potential impacts of stressors in and around marine conservation areas, including cumulative effects and climate change
  • development of monitoring guidance, plans and methods to address data and knowledge gaps in marine conservation areas and to help assess their effectiveness against their conservation objectives
  • building scientific capacity to enable Indigenous leadership and participation in marine conservation efforts
  • supporting participatory science monitoring activities and programs in marine conservation areas

Eligible applicants

Eligible recipients are science organizations engaged in the management, conservation, protection and promotion of oceans and freshwater, including:

  • Canadian post-secondary academic institutions
  • Canadian non-governmental organizations
  • Indigenous groups
  • Canadian provincial, territorial and municipal governments
  • businesses and industry, including associations
  • community groups
  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations
  • foreign governments and international non-governmental organizations
  • foreign academic institutions
  • port authorities


DFO may not be a collaborator or a project team member within a project proposal put forward for consideration. Under the Policy on Transfer Payments, the government may not receive any goods, services nor assets as a result of a transfer payment. This restriction prevents the government from collaborating with contribution recipients within the context of funded projects. Our involvement in a funded project is restricted to providing scientific knowledge unique to DFO, if needed by the organization, to meet the objectives of the project. For more details, see the Project application guide.

Eligible costs

Payments to eligible recipients may be used to offset reasonable costs of projects under contribution agreements, including eligible costs for:

  • salaries, wages, stipends and other labour
  • mandatory employee benefits
  • professional fees
  • rental of motorized vehicles (cars, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, outboard motors), boats, boat trailers and trailers required for funded projects ("motorized vehicles and equipment")
    • note that any request to purchase motor vehicles must clearly demonstrate both project need, as well as value-for-money for the Crown, when compared to a comparable rental arrangement
  • purchase of laboratory and field equipment and instruments:
    • including hydrophones and similar monitoring equipment
    • excluding motorized vehicles
  • rental and maintenance of laboratory and field equipment and instruments
  • rental cost of space, such as laboratory, rooms, office space and facilities
  • travel (consistent with the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive)
  • registration to attend workshops, conferences, meetings and symposia
  • publishing
  • communication
  • conference and symposia exhibits
  • data management
  • materials and supplies
  • fees to access equipment and vessels
  • administrative overhead up to 15% of all other eligible costs
  • other costs that directly support scientific research and related scientific activities, pre-approved by DFO up to a maximum of 10% of total eligible costs
  • additional costs eligible only to Indigenous organizations or groups:
    • honoraria
    • ceremonial items
    • gifts
    • feasts

Support to eligible applicants

DFO is able to provide financial assistance for the following groups:

  • Indigenous organizations or groups may be up to 100% of eligible costs per project
  • Canadian not-for-profit organizations and community groups with 4 or fewer permanent employees, including no employees (0), may be up to 100% of costs per project, otherwise DFO assistance shall not exceed 75% of eligible costs per project
  • business and industry recipients, including business and industry associations, shall not exceed 50% of eligible costs per project
  • all other recipients shall not exceed 75% of eligible costs per project

For business and industry recipients, including business and industry associations, the maximum level of total Canadian government assistance (i.e. federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) for the same eligible costs shall not exceed 50% of total eligible costs per project.

For all other recipients, including port authorities, the total Canadian government assistance (i.e. federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) for the same eligible costs per project can be up to 100%.

How to apply

Eligible recipients interested in being considered for financial support are required to submit a proposal indicating to which priority area they are applying using the provided application forms.

Click here to download the application forms. For information on how to complete a project application, refer to the Project Application Guide. For frequently asked questions please refer to Frequently asked Questions and Answers.

Should you have questions concerning funding opportunities or completion of the application forms please contact us at

Once completed, please submit your application to on or before the application deadline. Additional funding opportunities will be posted to this website when available.

Application deadline

The current submission period for 2022-23 open call for proposals is now closed. Please note that a second call for project proposals will be launched in October 2022 in support of additional priority areas.

Application feedback

Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, we are not in a position to provide detailed feedback on individual project proposals. All project decisions for proposals are final. It is the responsibility of the Lead Applicant to ensure that the application is complete and that we have a clear and accurate understanding of the project.

Date modified: