Application & Eligibility

The Learning Education Advancement Fund (LEAF) program operates through a two-step application process for all grants, both Impact and Seed Streams:

  1. Submission of an Expression of Interest, including a consultation with the LEAF program team;
  2. Submission of a full application package.

Impact Grants are accepted once a year.

  • Expressions of Interest must be completed between March and September.
  • Full applications are due in early November.

Seed Grants are accepted twice a year.

  • Fall Expressions of Interest are accepted between March and September. A full application is due in early November.
  • Winter Expressions of Interest are due between February and March. A full application is due in mid April.

Note: All LEAF Expressions of Interest will be forwarded to the relevant Dean’s Office contact for teaching and learning initiatives to ensure divisional awareness and support of potential projects.

Deadlines

2021/22 Winter Seed Grants

  • Expression of Interest Deadline: Friday, March 18, 2022
  • Full Proposal Deadline: Friday, April 16, 2022

2021/2022 Fall Seed & Impact Grants

  • Expression of Interest Deadline: September 2022
  • Full Proposal Deadline: November 2022

Eligibility

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

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

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.

Impact Grant Application Process

Impact grants are 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. Grants in this category range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Impact grants go through a two-part process:

  1. Interested applicants complete an Expression of Interest form. Expressions of Interest are accepted on a rolling basis from February to September. Once an Expression of Interest has been completed and submitted by applicants, the VPIUE Office will set up a consultation between the interested Principal Investigator(s) (PI[s]) and the LEAF administrators.
  2. Following a consultation, selected applicants will be encouraged to submit their full LEAF proposal by November 19.

Note: before advancing to the full applicants, PI(s) need to contact their Dean’s Offices to establish eligibility and determine divisional processes.

Learning Education Advancement Fund (LEAF) application timeline for impact grants

LEAF applicants will hear results on their proposed projects by January 31.

LEAF is first and foremost a grant for curricular 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 capabilities of the University.

If a component of a project proposal is research based, please ensure that Research Services has been consulted for ethics guidance.

  • Research ethics: Where relevant, applicants must include at the time of submission a formal letter or email notification from the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board stating that ethics has been approved, the project is exempt or that it is pending.

The application process is conducted entirely online using a submission form shared with applicants after their consultation with the VPIUE Office. No hard-copy or email submissions will be accepted. Please complete the following steps prior to completing the online application:

  1. Review the following guidelines to ensure applicant eligibility and project alignment with the LEAF program’s goals, priorities and criteria:
  2. Complete an Expression of Interest form.
  3. Attend a consultation with the VPIUE Office, scheduled shortly after the Expression of Interest form is submitted.
  4. At this point, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full LEAF proposal. Before advancing to this next stage, applicants are required to contact their Dean’s Office to determine divisional processes and deadlines.
  5. The VPIUE Office will send applicants a link to complete the online application form and a downloadable template after their initial consultation.
  6. Final applications require letters of endorsement from a Dean or Dean’s designate. In departmentalized faculties, letters are also required from the academic unit head.

A draft template of the full Impact submission form is available (PDF):

All proposals will require a detailed budget with the following sections:

  1. A spreadsheet of expected expenses and funding sources (including in-kind sources).
  2. A budget justification for each item in the spreadsheet (250 words).
  3. A description of existing University resources leveraged in support of the project (100 words).

General Guidelines

  • It is recommended and encouraged that LEAF recipients use existing University of Toronto resources where appropriate; that is, student participation, technical support services, professional services, etc.
  • Identifying divisional in-kind support prior to LEAF submission will strengthen applications.
  • LEAF 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.
    • Costs associated with project dissemination.
  • The most valuable resources that LEAF 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.

Budget Samples

We have included a number of exemplar budgets to applicants identifying best practices for budget submission. We also want to flag that these are real examples and, as such, are not perfect. Please use these as a template for developing ideas.

Seed Grant Application Process

Seed grants are intended to encourage experimentation at the local level, either within a course or a set of courses, as a means of fostering small-scale innovations or pilots with the potential for future scalability. These projects should hold significant promise for scalability within their home unit or transferability into other undergraduate learning contexts. Grants in this category range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Seed Grants are accepted during two windows:

  • April to September: Expressions of Interest accepted for LEAF submission in November.
  • January to March: Expressions of Interest accepted for LEAF submission in April.

After applicants submit an Expression of Interest, a designate from the VPIUE Office will be in touch to set up a consultation or continue to full submission.

Note: Before advancing to the full applicants, Principal Investigator(s) need to contact their Dean’s Offices to establish eligibility and determine divisional processes.

Learning Education Advancement Fund (LEAF) application timeline

Application results:

  • Fall Impact and Seed submissions — January;
  • Winter Seed applications — May.

Note: A maximum of five Winter Seed Grants are approved each year.

LEAF is first and foremost a grant for curricular 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 capabilities of the University.

If a component of a project proposal is research based, please ensure that Research Services has been consulted for ethics guidance.

  • Research ethics: Where relevant, applicants must include at the time of submission a formal letter or email notification from the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board stating that ethics has been approved, the project is exempt or that it is pending.

The application process is conducted entirely online using a submission form shared with applicants after their consultation with the VPIUE Office. No hard-copy or email submissions will be accepted. Please complete the following steps prior to completing the online application:

  1. Review the following guidelines to ensure applicant eligibility and project alignment with the LEAF program’s goals, priorities and criteria:
  2. Complete an Expression of Interest form.
  3. At this point, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full LEAF Proposal. Before advancing to this next stage, applicants are required to contact your Dean’s Office to determine divisional processes and deadlines.
  4. The VPIUE Office will send applicants a link to complete the online application form and a downloadable template after their initial consultation.
  5. Final applications require letters of endorsement from a Dean or Dean’s designate. In departmentalized faculties, letters are also required from the academic unit head.

A draft template of the full Seed Submission form is available (PDF).

All proposals will require a detailed budget with the following sections:

  1. A spreadsheet of expected expenses and funding sources (including in-kind sources).
  2. A budget justification for each item in the spreadsheet (250 words).
  3. A description of existing University resources leveraged in support of the project (100 words).

General Guidelines

  • It is recommended and encouraged that LEAF recipients use existing University of Toronto resources where appropriate; that is, student participation, technical support services, professional services, etc.
  • Identifying divisional in-kind support prior to LEAF submission will strengthen applications.
  • LEAF 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.
    • Costs associated with project dissemination.
  • The most valuable resources that LEAF 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.

Budget Samples

We have included a number of exemplar budgets to applicants identifying best practices for budget submission. We also want to flag that these are real examples and, as such, are not perfect. Please use these as a template for developing ideas.