Food In Canada

CIFST plans new food cluster, calls for research proposals

By Food in Canada Staff   

Research & Development Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology Editor pick

The Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST) has begun planning for a new food cluster under the Next Policy Framework (NPF) established by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). In preparation for this new cluster, CIFST is requesting full project proposals from researchers and industrial partners to identify research projects and collaborations that would address the CIFST research priorities in line with AAFC’s new policy framework of addressing climate change & environment, economic growth and development, and sector resilience and societal challenges.

Strategic vision

The vision of the new CIFST Food Cluster will be to enhance global competitiveness of the Canadian agri-food sector by encouraging industry-led national collaboration and intra-regional participation while building collaborations among key partners.

CIFST Research priorities

The CIFST research priorities will focused on the following three areas:

1. Climate change and environment

  • Circular Economy addressing resource scarcity, cost increases, compliance challenges, and consumer demands for environmental transparency;
  • Food waste reduction and repurposing of food waste into consumable finished products;
  • Reduced packaging and/or expanded application of biodegradable packaging or fully recyclable packaging.

2. Economic growth & development

  • Innovative foods and economic growth (e.g. cultured foods, nootropic foods, plant-based foods/ human health, space foods);
  • Innovative processing technology /automation/artificial intelligence.

3. Sector resilience & societal challenges

  • Health and wellness innovations;
  • Innovative processing technologies aligned with food safety.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Eligible applicants include researchers in Canadian agri-food industry, academic institutions, federal and provincial government researchers;
  • Applicants are encouraged to be CIFST members;
  • All applicants must demonstrate the capacity to conduct sound science. Applicants must also be able to outline how they will address CIFST commercialization principles, encouraging transparent, non-exclusive and broad-based distribution of results and new technologies, with the  goal to maximize economic benefit to the Canadian agri-food value chain.


  • Teams with complementary expertise are encouraged to tackle specific research targets together;
  • Where relevant, research projects should demonstrate linkage or co-ordination with others (regionally, nationally, and internationally).

Research area eligibility

  • Full project proposals must explain into which priority areas the research best fits;
  • Full project proposals must align with one or more research priority described in the call letter.

Research projects can be a maximum of fives years in length, from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2028.

Additional funding

  • Researchers are strongly encouraged to include additional outside funding sources (confirmed or pending) in their proposal as AAFC funding program is expected to be very competitive. Additional funding sources could include, but are not limited to, provincial government funding or other industry partner funding beyond the core CIFST member groups;
  • Visit Program parameters: funding.

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

  • Researchers should be prepared to demonstrate how equity, diversity and inclusion is considered in their research projects.

Funding principles

To help guide the assessment of project applications, in addition to scientific merit, the following five core principles will be considered by CIFST and AAFC:

  1. Strategic value of the project to Canada;
  2. Whole value chain and supply chain perspectives;
  3. Inclusion of measurable results-based outcomes;
  4. Effective knowledge transfer and adoption (communicating the costs and benefits);
  5. Diversity, collaboration, and partnerships.

Expected Timeline for the full application process

  • Due to the CIFST Food Cluster tight deadline, we are skipping the call for letters of intent (LOI);
  • Full project proposals must be submitted by Monday, October 17, 2022 (11:59 PM EST). Late submissions will not be considered;
  • Full proposals will undergo a robust peer-review process prior to final selection for inclusion in a cluster application to AAFC;
  • Following peer-review, proposals and budgets will be further refined based on reviewer and/or funder feedback to create the strongest possible application package to AAFC;
  • Application package will be submitted to AAFC for funding in November, 2022; and
  • Decisions made by CIFST will be final.

Please note proposal templates will be provided under separate cover. Please refer to the Applicant Guide for 2018 for additional information.

Please submit completed full project proposals in Microsoft Word format or PDF by e-mail to Constance Wrigley Thomas, executive director, CIFST Food Cluster at

All submitted proposals will receive an e-mail confirming receipt within one to two business days. In the event that a confirmation receipt is not received, it is the submitter’s responsibility to verify the proposal was received.

Information sessions

CIFST will be scheduling information webinars to engage interested parties and to answer any questions about the cluster, strategic priorities, and submissions review process. These webinars will be held in late September and early October.

Funding organization contact information

Please visit CIFST’s website for more information

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