The Research Development Program

The Research Development Program (RDP) aims to provide a competitive edge to University of Ottawa researchers through the provision of direct, short-term funding. This funding will enable recipients to conduct research which lays the groundwork for a successful research grant application to one of the federal granting agencies (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)) or other external funding.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant holds a full-time tenured or a tenured track position at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa.
  • The applicant has been an independent researcher for more than 5 years.
  • Priority 1) The applicant has not held - as a principal investigator - an award from one of the federal granting agencies or another external agency for at least 3 years. Priority 2) The applicant holds funding, but is exploring new research questions and/or approaches that are distinct from their previous/ongoing research.
  • The applicant will be applying for funding to the federal granting agencies or another external agency.
  • The applicant has not received RDP funding in the previous 3 years.
  • Applicants who are in their first 5 years as independent researchers can apply to the Seed Funding Opportunity (SFO).
  • Applicants who have previously held an award from one of the federal granting agencies, who have submitted a proposal to one of the federal granting agencies during the last round but were not successful, can apply to the Bridge Funding Opportunity (BFO).

Application Deadlines

April 15th and December 1st of each year

Application Requirements

  • Research proposal consisting of:

Summary (approx. 1/2 page)

Objectives, context (including literature review and theoretical approach) and methodology (approx. 5 pages)

References (approx. 1 page)

Budget justification (approx. 1 page)

Timeline for execution of proposed project (approx. 1/2 page)

Explanation of the strategy for applying to external funding (approx. 1/2 page)

Proposals are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary research committee.

Budget Justification and Eligible Expenses

  • The total amount requested cannot exceed $10,000: 1 ½ Research Assistantship (195 hours) and $1,000 for other direct research expenses.
  • All budget items must be justified in terms of their need for the success of the project objectives. The funds must be used effectively and economically, and the expenses must be essential for the research supported by the grant.
  • The justification must demonstrate the need for funds from the RDP Program relative to other funding available to the applicant (including Start-up funds).
  • Funds received from this program can be used for the following expenses:
  • Research assistant
  • Small research equipment (justified in terms of that project)
  • Research-related travel for data collection
  • Other direct research costs

Examples of non-eligible expenses

  • Professional fees for the applicant
  • Administrative fees/standard monthly connection or rental costs of telephones/ connection or installation of lines/voice mail
  • Passport and/or immigration fees
  • Costs associated to education: thesis preparation, tuition and courses fees, thesis examination/defence fees
  • Cellphones and/or personal digital assistant devices
  • Library acquisition, computer and other services already provided by the University
  • Cost of alcohol, entertainment, or gifts

It is important to note that this is a competition based upon the quality and merit of your proposal (see criteria below). The total amount awarded depends on the available budget and the number of requests received.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be assessed according to the following selection criteria:

Criteria Including, without limitation
Scientific merit of the proposal
  • Originality and innovation
  • Clarity and scope of objectives
  • Feasibility and adequacy of methodological approach
  • Importance of the expected outcome of the research
Record of research achievement
  • Quality and significance of past contributions
  • Level of research activity relative to the stage of the applicant's career
Need for funds
  • Justification of the budget relative to the requirements of the proposed project
  • Need for RDP funds and justification of the request relative to other currently-held and/or available funding. (Other currently-held funds, for example start-up funds or external grants, must be clearly stated in the CV)
Plan to apply for external, peer-reviewed funding
  • Demonstrate plan and timeline for accessing peer-reviewed external funding because a primary objective of this program is to increase the likelihood of competing successfully for such funding.
  • Identify potential external funding agencies (including granting councils, industry, foundations, government etc.). Explain that you are cognizant of the evaluation criteria and guidelines of the said external funding agencies and that the proposed work will support and strengthen a future grant application.
Contribution to the training of students
  • Applicants must explain how the involvement of students in the project will contribute to the training of highly qualified personnel.

Reporting Requirements

Awardees are requested to submit a final report to the Office of the Vice-Dean, Research (1 to 2 pages). The report should describe progress in light of the project’s objectives as well as plans to pursue the research.

Other Requirements

Once an award has been granted, any and all certification requirements (ethics of research with human subjects and/or stem cells, animal care, radiation safety, etc.) must be met before funds can be released.

Any funds remaining at the end of the project are to be reverted to the program. However, the Faculty is prepared to consider requests for a single extension of one year, with no additional funds, on submission and acceptance of an appropriate justification of the need for the extension in terms of the original project’s objectives. If the extension is granted, any unexpended funds at the end of the extension period will be returned to the Faculty.

Proposal Submission

One PDF document including all elements of the proposal sent by e-mail to If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline will be extended to the next working day. Incomplete and late applications will not be retained.

For more information, please contact Sophie LeTouzé.

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