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Ecosystems and Oceans Science Contribution Framework

Open Call for Proposals

The submission period for the 2021-22 open call for proposals is now closed.

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, the Department seeks to better protect, sustain, and restore fisheries resources as well as the aquatic ecosystems that support them.

DFO is seeking projects that deliver scientific research and related activities that support evidence-based decision making and public understanding about the health of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Projects involving science data collection and integration, ocean and freshwater monitoring, analyses, modelling and hypothesis testing, scientific capacity building (Indigenous recipients only), and the communication of science in support of ocean literacy are eligible.

Priority Areas for 2021-22

Maximum Amount of Funding per Project and Duration

Eligible applicants may submit project proposals to a maximum request of funding in the amount of up to $300,000 over the duration of the project. Multiple-year projects will be considered, up to a maximum of 3 years duration. Projects under “Marine Oil Spill Response Operations” should be completed by March 31, 2022.

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; and
  • Port authorities.

Please note:

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 or assets as a result of a Transfer Payment; this restriction prevents the government from collaborating with contribution recipients within the context of funded projects. DFO's 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.

Project application guides and help.

Eligible Costs

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

  • 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 costs of laboratory and field equipment and instruments, including hydrophones and similar monitoring equipment but excluding Motorized vehicles,
  • Rental and maintenance costs of laboratory and field equipment and instruments;
  • Rental cost of space such as laboratory, rooms, office space, facilities;
  • Travel and related costs (consistent with the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive);
  • Registration costs for attendance to workshops, conferences, meetings, Symposia;
  • Publishing costs;
  • Communication costs;
  • Conference and symposia costs;
  • Data management costs;
  • Costs of 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 Fisheries and Oceans Canada up to a maximum of 10% of total eligible costs; and
  • Additional costs eligible only to Indigenous organizations or groups:
    • Honoraria, ceremonial items, gifts and/or feasts.

Support to Eligible Applicants

  • DFO assistance for Indigenous organizations or groups may be 100% of eligible costs per project;
  • DFO assistance for Canadian not-for-profit organizations and community groups who have 4 or fewer permanent employees, including no employees (0), may be 100% of costs per project, otherwise DFO assistance shall not exceed 75% of eligible costs per project;
  • DFO assistance for business and industry recipients, including business and industry associations, shall not exceed 50% of eligible costs per project; and
  • DFO assistance for 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 OPC-BPC@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Once completed, please submit your application to OPC-BPC@dfo-mpo.gc.ca. on or before the application deadline. Additional funding opportunities will be posted to this website when available.

Application Deadline

The submission period for the 2021-22 open call for proposals is now closed.

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 projects decisions for proposals are final. Only successful applicants will be notified of project decisions. 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.


Contaminants

Fisheries and Oceans Canada uses science-based evidence to facilitate effective management of Canada’s fisheries, oceans and other aquatic ecosystems.

The department works with external partners to understand the biological effects of contaminants on aquatic organisms.

Information on previous and ongoing research projects can be found here.

Objective

Under the current call for project proposals, we are seeking research proposals that address one of the three priorities identified below. Research projects must focus on generating knowledge on the biological effects of contaminants on fish and/or fish populations, which may include indirect effects on other important organisms including prey species or those that contribute to habitat structure (e.g. aquatic plants). Applicants are encouraged to consider ecological and environmental relevance in their approaches.

Priorities

  1. Knowledge about the impact of 6PPD-quinone and other transformation products on Canadian salmonid populations and the determination of mechanisms of action is required. In addition, further information on how toxic 6PPD transformation products are to other aquatic species would be beneficial.
  2. Current-use pesticides may be applied in mixtures of several active ingredients as well as adjuvants, and once these compounds reach the environment, they may combine with numerous other contaminants (particularly PAHs, flame retardants, caffeine, detergents but also excessive nutrients, metals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products). Proposals are invited on the effects of these mixtures, and the role of pesticides and/or adjuvants within them, on non-target aquatic biota.
  3. Further knowledge on the biological effects of disinfectants on aquatic organisms near wastewater effluent is needed to determine the risks for aquatic ecosystems. Some examples of current-use antimicrobials include triclosan, triclocarban, chlorophene, quaternary ammonium compounds, benzalkonium chloride and etc.

Innovative and Transformative Science (Previously Partnership Fund)

Objective

Collaboration is an important element in the production of knowledge. In an era where the complexity and magnitude of challenges facing our oceans and freshwater environments is more demanding than ever before, enhanced national and international collaboration across scientific disciplines, performers, and funders of science is a necessity. This priority area seeks to encourage projects that take new approaches or develops new partnerships in the science activities that are proposed. Initiatives should be innovative and transformative in nature and seek to enhance the transfer of expertise, knowledge, and technology, share research infrastructure, reduce duplication of efforts and knowledge gaps, and strengthen Canada’s overall capacity for ocean and freshwater science and technology.

Information on previous and ongoing research projects can be found here.


Freshwater Habitat Science

Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts freshwater research to understand the links between fish and fish habitat and impacts of activities on freshwater habitat. Scientific research can help to inform decisions under the Fisheries Act, including evaluating impacts and cumulative stressors in freshwater systems and the effectiveness of management measures. In addition, DFO supports external research that advances freshwater habitat science knowledge.

Objective

DFO supports research projects developed by organizations outside of the Government of Canada, that enable information exchange and stimulate freshwater habitat science for the benefit of all Canadians.

Under the current call for project proposals, we are inviting projects that advance knowledge on freshwater fish and fish habitat in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario.

In particular, we invite projects that are either carried out by Indigenous groups or in collaboration with Indigenous groups.


Aquaculture Science

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) funds aquaculture science research to inform the sustainable management of the aquaculture industry in Canada. Research outcomes increase the knowledge base upon which science-based policy and regulatory decisions on aquaculture activities can be made.

Objective

Under the current call for project proposals, we are seeking research proposals that address the fate and persistence of pesticides, drugs and/or antibiotics in the marine environment and/or the biological effects of pesticides, drugs and/or the antibiotics on non-target marine organisms. Synergistic or antagonistic interactions between multiple products, and the resulting cumulative biological effects are of particular interest.

Projects must address knowledge gaps for products being used in the Canadian marine finfish aquaculture industry.

Projects which include research on biological effects must focus on generating knowledge on the effects on fishFootnote 1 and/or fish populations, which may include indirect effects from impacts on other important organisms including prey species or those that contribute to habitat structure (e.g., aquatic plants).


UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Funding is available to support collaborative science initiatives that will advance outcomes related to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (“Ocean Decade”) through partnerships with Canadian and global partners.

Please note:

A second call for proposals for the Ocean Decade may take place later in 2021. Details to follow.

Objective

The global Decade implementation plan identifies a number of challenges. While priorities for the decade continue to be refined, proposals that address one or more key challenges and promote domestic and/or collaborative efforts among diverse partners are invited. To be considered, proposals should be science-focused, align with the mandate of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and include a component that describes how project outcomes will be mobilized and communicated.


Research to Support Marine Oil Spill Response Operations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provides science-based evidence to support oil spill response operations in Canada’s marine environment.

The department supports Research & Development with external partners to advance scientific knowledge and technologies to ensure that Canada has a world-leading oil spill response regime.

Information on previous and ongoing research projects can be found here.

Please note:

Projects under this priority area should be completed by March 31, 2022.

Objective

Under the current call for project proposals, we are seeking one-year research proposals that address the research priorities identified below. Research projects must focus on generating knowledge and/or advances in technologies to support oil spill response operations in Canada. Applicants are encouraged to consider ecological and environmental relevance in their approaches.

Priorities

Oil Emulsification: Our understanding of oil emulsification has been largely based on laboratory scale test protocols that may not replicate field conditions. Research is needed to confirm that the current lab-based protocols for testing various oil emulsifications are representative of oil conditions found at-sea. Further, there is a need for standard guidelines for laboratory studies for comparing and interpreting data for the development of predictive models to support oil spill response operations.

Oil particle interaction: Proposals are invited to develop models to predict the significance of oil droplet interactions with suspended particulate material in the marine environment and their influence on oil fate (weathering processes) and transport. Models should consider results of experiments with reference oils designed to identify the key physical, chemical and biological factors that control the oil particle interactions.

Addressing the paradox between laboratory and field-based oil spill toxicity studies: There is a need to improve our understanding of why results from laboratory toxicity studies are frequently not correlated to field observations. Proposals are invited to review current protocols used in laboratory and field toxicity/risk assessment and to recommend improvements for predicting levels of impact on the environment and the rates of recovery.

Surface Washing Agents (SWAs): Efficient, biodegradable, and low-toxicity shoreline SWAs are needed as an alternative to current formulations containing chemically synthesized surfactants and solvents. Projects should consider the performance of alternative SWAs over a range of potential environmental conditions in Canada’s marine ecosystems.

Application of chemical dispersants on surface oil: With advances in quantitative analytical techniques to monitor the effectiveness of dispersants, we are seeking projects that reconsider the methods of application and dosages required (for current and emerging formulations) under various environmental conditions encountered in Canadian marine waters.

Feasibility of alternative materials to enhance oil dispersion: Proposals are invited to develop and test the feasibility of alternative oil dispersant products that are more effective, and are less toxic and less environmentally persistent than currently available commercial dispersant products.

Use of micro/nano-materials in oil spill response measures: Research is needed to evaluate the performance of natural and modified micro/nano-materials to act as sorbents, enhance oil biodegradation, promote photocatalytic oxidation and dissipate oil slicks into small droplets. Proposals are invited to identify non-toxic natural-derived and modified micro/nano-particles and to evaluate their potential application for oil spill clean-up under a range of simulated marine environmental conditions.

Three-dimensional (3D) Oil Spill Model Development: 3D models are required to capture the trajectory of spilled oil and to evaluate the impact of oil on marine environments. Proposals are invited to develop and validate models that capture the three-dimensional nature of transport at sea for dispersed or dissolved oil in the water column. Validation of models should consider data acquired from wave tanks and the field.

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