Graduate Education Innovation Fund

Fund Overview

The Vice-Provost, Graduate Research and Education, and Dean, School of Graduate Studies (SGS) introduces a new fund to support teaching innovation for graduate education. This fund will contribute to the mission of SGS, namely to foster excellence in graduate education by supporting and promoting outstanding graduate learning and research in an environment that encourages an exceptional student experience. The purpose of this fund, entitled the Graduate Education Innovation Fund, is to enrich the learning experience of graduate students in research-based and professional degree programmes, by supporting projects within and across academic divisions and units, that create positive, innovative changes in the design and delivery of graduate education at the University of Toronto. 

This three-year pilot project was launched in Fall 2021. A review process will ensue to ensure that the initiative meets its goals. 

“Through the Graduate Education Innovation Fund, we want to support creative methods to revitalize our programs and better train the future generation of change-makers.”

Prof. Vina Goghari, SGS Vice-Dean, Research and Program Innovation
Read about the winning proposals from fall 2021

Goals of the Graduate Education Innovation Fund  

The goal of the GEIF program is to advance excellence and innovation in graduate education through greater exposure to innovative educational practices within and across programs and curricula, including both the classroom and field settings, and in the student-faculty member mentorship relationship. Proposals that accomplish at least one of the following themes are invited. Proposals in areas outside the ones listed are encouraged to liaise with SGS to discuss suitability.

  • Professional Development: Create, strengthen and assess professional development opportunities for graduate students. 
  • Experiential Learning: Support and enhance the transfer of learning through active learning opportunities, within and beyond traditional educational settings and methods.
  • Interdisciplinary Learning: Encourage collaborations among instructors across academic disciplines, units and divisions with the purpose of creating exceptional interdisciplinary learning experiences for graduate students.
  • Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Renewal of graduate education with specific attention to representation of Indigenous ways of knowing.
  • Diverse Cultural Perspectives: Renewal of graduate education with specific attention to representation of racialized perspectives, other minoritized voices, as well as intercultural experiences and civic engagement.
  • Decolonization, Anti-oppression, and Anti-racism: Enhancing educational practices, such as teaching, mentoring, and curriculum renewal, to build a more just and equitable learning environment.
  • Global Perspectives: Strengthen opportunities to learn abroad, international work, and bringing global and international experiences into our local environment. 
  • Effective Mentorship: Strengthen practices that lead to effective mentorship relationships and develop methods to assess effective mentorship.  
  • Public Scholarship: Leverage the University’s geographic location within the greater Toronto region to provide students with new opportunities to engage in public scholarship with local partners.

Research Component

GEIF is a grant for curricular, teaching, and mentorship innovation; it is not a research grant. While a research component to a project may be appropriate, the sole purpose of a proposal should not be the production and dissemination of new research. The fund is for ‘creating’ something innovative that enhances the teaching and mentoring capabilities of the University.

If a component of a project proposal involves the production of new research through the engagement of human participants, please ensure that Research Services has been consulted for ethics guidance.


University of Toronto faculty members with continuing appointments are eligible to apply. Typically, applicants will hold Graduate Faculty Membership with SGS. Collaborators can include librarians, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows etc., as appropriate to the project. 

Funding Amounts 

Ten seed grants of a maximum of $5,000 each will be available on an annual basis. Applicants are encouraged to seek out contributions from their unit or division and document it in their budget. We encourage applicants to re-submit to a subsequent adjudication cycle if unsuccessful. 

General Guidelines

  • It is recommended and encouraged that GEIF recipients use existing University of Toronto resources where appropriate; that is, student participation, technical support services, professional services, etc.
  • GEIF funds may not be used for any of the following:
    • Pay faculty salaries.
    • Offset travel costs to conferences at which you are presenting your work.
    • Basic computer and related equipment expenses, nor will such items be considered as matching funds. However, specialized equipment that is specifically related to the project may be eligible, so long as a justification for inclusion is contained in the application.
  • The most valuable resources that GEIF can support is time. We encourage applicants to budget for time by including line items for items including: 
    • Project coordinator and/or project management costs. 
    • Research assistants, teaching assistants and work-study students who can support projects.

Adjudication Process

The adjudication committee will consist of:

  • Vice-Dean, Research and Program Innovation, SGS (Chair)
  • Two Faculty Graduate Academic Administrators
  • Two Graduate Students

Adjudication Criteria:

  • Compatibility with Initiative: Meets one or more of the goals listed above (or has liaised with SGS to verify proposal is appropriate). 
  • Objectives, Anticipated Process & Outcomes/Learnings: Clear detailing of the rationale, objectives, process, and key outcomes or learnings that are expected. Link process, outcomes or learnings to scalability and/or transferability as described below.  
  • Scalability & Transferability: Seed grants are intended to encourage experimentation at the local level (within a course or set of courses) or across disciplines (interdisciplinary offerings), as a means to foster small-scale innovations or pilots with the potential for scalability. These projects should hold significant promise for scalability within their home unit or transferability into other graduate learning contexts. Please note – all that is required is the ability of the work to have scalability and/or transferability and a description of that process or strategy.
  • Feasibility: Timeline is clearly articulated and linked to objectives and outcomes/learning. The majority of the work should be completed within a 1 year timeline. Proposal is feasible with budget described and budget is appropriately justified.

Application Information

For details on applying, please take a look at the summary of our March information session.

The deadline for applications is October 18th, 2021 & April 1, 2022.

Application will detail:

  • Identifying information: Name(s) of applicants, their home units, and contact information; Name(s) of collaborators, their home units, and contact information 
  • Project Title
  • Lay Summary (maximum 250 words)
  • Rationale & Objectives (maximum 500 words)
  • Anticipated Process, Outcomes and/or Learnings (maximum 500 words)
  • Scalability and Transferability (maximum 250 words)
  • Timeline (maximum 250 words)
  • Budget (attach file that includes rationale for requested funds)

Applications must be completed through the online submission form.

Successful applicants will report their process, outcomes, experiences, and/or learnings in a one page lay summary that may be posted as is or in part on the GEIF website. Successful applicants may also be asked to participate in SGS events promoting this initiative. 

Appendix: Potential Other Funding Sources


Vina Goghari, PhD
Vice-Dean Research and Program Innovation, SGS

Angelique Plata
Executive Assistant, Vice-Deans, SGS