Ontario Research Fund (ORF)

As Ontario’s largest independent science fund, the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) is a primary driver of discovery and innovation, and is a bright light for researchers in this province. The ORF is well-structured, untargeted, and investigator-led. It is one of the only funds that supports the indirect costs of research, including scientists’ salaries and the administrative and facility costs required for conducting research projects. Given that health research funding is fiscally constrained, the ORF plays a critical role for scientific advancement and demonstrates Ontario’s important role in supporting health research.

Among Ontario’s research hospitals, the ORF fuels medical discoveries, better ways of delivering care, health system efficiencies and cures. By providing stability and support for hospital-based research in Ontario, the ORF is helping to improve care for patients today, driving the future of care for patients tomorrow, and delivering cost savings for the health system.

In late 2017, CAHO’s 23 research hospitals had the opportunity to provide input into the Ontario Research Fund Review, led by the Ministry of Research, Science and Innovation.

Read CAHO’s ORF Review Submission 2017.

Dr. Marc Carrier, Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter: ORF drives high-impact discovery and cost savings while supporting top talent

The ORF pays dividends and contributes to a healthier, wealthier and smarter Ontario. These are just three examples that demonstrate the wide-scale outcomes resulting from ORF grants to CAHO hospitals:

  • Sunnybrook scientists, who received a $3.5M ORF-Research Excellence grant, discovered that high-intensity focused ultrasound can treat uterine fibroids (benign tumors that occur in 50% of women) vs. invasive hysterectomy surgeries, which have been known to lead to greater complications post-surgery. This discovery ensures that patients are receiving appropriate care. An economic analysis from the Centre for Excellence in Economic Research Analysis demonstrated that this treatment could save the Ontario health system $35M annually. Building on that research and with support from the ORF, SickKids is applying HIFU to study other treatments.
  • Thanks to an Early Researcher Award grant received by The Ottawa Hospital, researchers discovered that CT scans do not necessarily improve cancer detection. These findings reduced unnecessary treatments and exposure to radiation for Ontarians who experience blood clots in their legs or lungs. This discovery can save Ontario up to $2.4M annually.
  • The ORF-RE supported Dr. Alla Reznik’s research at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute to develop a breast imaging alternative that detects breast cancer in its early stages. This method uses a lower dose of radiation, is safer for patients and avoids the discomfort of a traditional mammography. Dr. Reznik has since launched Radialis, a spin-off company that is helping to grow Thunder Bay’s growing innovation economy.