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Ecosystems and Oceans Science Contribution Framework

Call for proposals

The project proposal submission period for the below priority areas is now closed. Please return to this site for updates on future open calls for project proposals.

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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.

Canada is a proud supporter of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian ocean science community are building a strong contribution to the Ocean Decade. Projects funded through the Ecosystems and Oceans Science Contribution Framework can contribute to the Ocean Decade outcomes.

Priority areas for the current call for proposals

  1. Science to support sustainable fisheries and ecosystems through:
    1. Partnerships to develop innovative tools and approaches to estimate and/or collect information on the abundance, distribution, or biological characteristics of fish populations (maximum DFO contribution of $250,000 per proposal request); or
    2. Improving our understanding of the marine ecosystem to better incorporate environmental considerations in stock assessments (maximum DFO contribution of $200,000 over two years per proposal request). This may include or focus specifically on a better understanding of the role of seals in the ecosystem.
  2. Understanding the impacts of stressors on at-risk whales in the Arctic (maximum DFO contribution of $250,000 per proposal request).
  3. Community participation in collecting and using bathymetric and hydrographic data (maximum DFO contribution of $100,000 per proposal request).

The Department will consider single-year and multi-year proposals (maximum 3 fiscal years beginning April 1, 2023). Projects must be completed on or before March 31, 2026. Project proposals directed to option 1b will have a maximum duration of 2 fiscal years.

Important note

The Government of Canada fiscal year is defined as April 1 to March 31 of the following year (e.g., April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024).

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

Increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in ocean science and research enhances excellence, innovation and creativity and leads to more impactful results for all Canadians.


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 and/or purchase cost 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.

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 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.

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