CIFST Food Cluster

Preparation for new Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Cluster Program





Founded in 1951, CIFST is the national association for food and beverage sector professionals. Its membership of approximately 1,000 individuals is comprised of scientists and technologists in industry, government and academia who are committed to advancing food science and technology. The purpose of CIFST is to advocate and promote the quality, safety and wholesomeness of the food supply through the application of science and technology by linking food science professionals from industry, government and academia.

The 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, the 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.


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


The CIFST research priorities will be 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 coordination 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 5 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 the 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
  • 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 the 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 submission deadline: 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
  • Decisions made by the CIFST will be final

Proposal templates are provided below:


FULL PROJECT PROPOSALS submission deadline: Monday, October 17, 2022 (11:59 PM EST)

Please submit completed Full Project Proposals in Microsoft Word format or PDF by email to Constance Wrigley Thomas, Executive Director, CIFST Food Cluster at

All submitted Full Project Proposals will receive an email confirming receipt within 1 – 2  business days. In the event that a confirmation receipt is not received, it is the submitter’s responsibility to verify that the proposal was received.

Information sessions:

Click on the links to see the recordings:

CIFST Food Cluster – Information Webinar #1 Recording
CIFST Food Cluster – Information Webinar #2 Recording
CIFST Food Cluster – Information Webinar Recording: French 

Funding Organizations’ Contact Information

Please visit our website for more information