Learning & Education Advancement Fund (LEAF)

The Learning & Education Advancement Fund (LEAF) program aims to support the President’s Three Priorities:

  • Leverage our urban location(s) more fully, for the mutual benefit of University and City;
  • Strengthen and deepen key international partnerships by means of a well-defined strategic focus;
  • Reimagine and reinvent undergraduate education.

LEAF aims to enrich the learning experience of undergraduate students in first-entry divisions by supporting projects that anticipate, leverage and create positive changes in both the modes and mechanisms of undergraduate education. The program provides individual faculty members, programs, units and divisions with a means to develop and enhance the application of impactful teaching practices within the range of learning environments at the University of Toronto.

The following pages are designed to support you throughout the LEAF process:

  1. Eligibility and Funding Streams (below)
  2. Evaluation Criteria and Application Processes
  3. Teaching Grant Resources 
  4. Submit an Expression of Interest

Important Dates and Deadlines

Expressions of Interest for the fall cycle (Seed and Impact grants) are accepted from June to September 7.

Expressions of Interest for the spring cycle (Seed grants only) are accepted from January to February 28.


Applicant Eligibility

Proposals will be accepted from University of Toronto faculty, staff and librarians with continuing appointments in the first-entry undergraduate divisions listed below.

  • Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education
  • Faculty of Music
  • John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design
  • University of Toronto Mississauga
  • University of Toronto Scarborough

Faculty, staff and librarians with continuing appointments in other divisions may partner on an application with a member with continuing status from an eligible division, so long as the primary beneficiary of the proposal are first-entry undergraduate students.

Project Eligibility

LEAF supports projects with a direct connection to the curriculum of a first-entry undergraduate academic program. Co-curricular projects may also be considered if they have a direct relationship to a curricular academic program. For example, developing non-credit courses to support incoming first-year students.

LEAF is first and foremost a grant for curricular innovation, it is not a research grant. The fund is for creating something innovative that enhances the student learning experience and teaching capabilities of the University, in the form of either a pedagogical or curricular innovation.

While a research component to a project may be appropriate, the sole purpose of a LEAF proposal should not be the production and dissemination of new research. If a component of a project proposal is research based, please ensure that Research Services has been consulted for ethics guidance. If you intend to write a journal article or present on your LEAF project outcomes, it is recommended that you seek approval from the Research Ethics Board. At the stage of applying to LEAF, you are not expected to have received formal approval from the U of T Research Ethics Board. However, we would ask you to indicate your intention to seek approval from the Research Ethics Board.

Funding Streams

As a two-tiered system of funding, LEAF provides funding opportunities for teaching and learning projects that explore, implement and scale up promising practices at different stages of their development and implementation, creating a pathway for projects from their initial inception to their full potential. LEAF projects must have a well-defined connection to the curriculum of an academic program.

  • Seed grants are a maximum of $10,000 per year for three years. Proposals are accepted twice a year, in the fall and the spring.
  • Impact grants are a maximum of $100,000 per year for three years. Proposals are accepted only once a year, in the fall.

At a Glance: Seed and Impact Grants

Seed GrantImpact Grant
What are the different LEAF funding streams?Intended to encourage experimentation at the local level, either within a course or a set of courses, as a means of fostering small-scale enhancements or pilots with the potential for future scalability. These projects should have the potential for either scalability within their home unit or transferability into other undergraduate learning contexts.Designed to support large-scale projects with the potential to significantly enhance core elements of undergraduate education within or across academic units and divisions at the University. This can range from projects designed to scale, sustain and institutionalize high-impact teaching and assessment innovations that have already experienced successful experimentation in their local contexts, to the development of new mechanisms and tools for proliferating innovative pedagogical practices.
Funding Amount$5,000 to $10,000 per year for up to 3 years.$10,000 to $100,000 per year for up to 3 years.
TimingApplications accepted in the fall and spring.

If your application is successful, funding transfer occurs in May.
Applications are only accepted in the fall.

If your application is successful, funding transfer occurs in May.
Evaluation CriteriaConnection to Academic Curriculum, Assessment & Evaluation, Transferability & Scalability, Budget, Sustainability & Feasibility.Connection to Academic Curriculum, Assessment & Evaluation, Transferability & Scalability, Budget, Sustainability & Feasibility, Collaboration, Connection to Scholarly Literature.

LEAF Expectations

As a condition of funding, successful LEAF applicants will be expected to:

  • Attend a kickoff meeting with other successful LEAF applicants in the spring.
  • Submit an annual status report in January each year the project is active. This may be accompanied by a request to meet with the OVPIUE to discuss your project.
  • Complete a final project report following the project’s final year of funding.
  • Acknowledge LEAF as your source of funding if publications or presentations result from your LEAF-funded project.

More details about these expectations will be provided if your application is successful.