Research Software Development Support Program

*** Please note: The deadline for this call has now passed. Thank you to all the applicants and for your interest. The below information is being left up for reference.***


This program helps researchers refine existing software tools to improve usability and robustness or build new tools, disseminate research software beyond the research space in which it is created, and to enhance existing functionality.

The Research Software Development Support Program provides research groups access to a professional research software developer. The research software developer will work alongside the research group on a part-time (up to a 0.5 FTE) basis for 2 to 6 months. There is no direct funding available through this program, but rather access to time from the Data Sciences Institute Research Software Development Team.

  1. Eligible applicants include all professorial staff eligible to hold research funding at the University of Toronto (U of T) or external funding partners and must satisfy the additional eligibility criteria below.
  2. Each PI and any co-PIs must have a budgetary appointment at U of T or at a DSI External Funding Partner. For U of T, budgetary appointments are continuing, full-time academic appointments with salary commitments from a University of Toronto academic unit.
  3. Applicants must be a member of the DSI. See here to join.
  4. Researchers can be Co-PIs on only one submitted application.

Interested researchers can apply to this program by completing a short application form that:

  • Describes the problem requiring support from the Research Software Development Team (1/4 page)
  • Describes the scope of the required software, how it is intended to be used, and how it might be used by other groups. Explain why existing software is not sufficient. (1/2 page)
  • Explains the current status of the software to be developed, including an estimate of the number of current users and an estimate of the number and range of intended users after working with the Research Software Development Team. (1/4 page)
  • Proposes a strategy for engaging with and supporting the Research Software Development Team to ensure a successful outcome within the intended timeframe. (1/4 page)
  • We would like to encourage cross-disciplinary interactions to increase the impact of this program. Please describe how the software could be re-used outside of your discipline and include a plan for such re-use if possible (e.g., describe a specific data set from another discipline that would be usable by the software, include a co-applicant and corresponding use case from another discipline); (1/4 page)

Please email the application form as a PDF document to by
November 24, 12 pm noon EST. The file should be named [Last name, First name DSI ResSoftware]

Applications will be assessed by a selection committee made up of researchers from the DSI Research & Academics Committee using the criteria outlined below. We will also match the project to the available software development skills of the Research Software Development Team.

  • Quality of supported research project
  • Quality of the technology choices required for the software project, and requirement for new software compared to using existing solutions
  • Project scope, timelines and goals are clear and appropriate for the resources of the call
  • Impact and re-use potential of the software for research
  • Fit with research software developer team skills
  • Quality of plan to engage with the research software developer team (e.g., defining requirements, involvement with software development and testing process)

The three to five most highly ranked applications will be invited to discuss their proposals in more detail with the selection committee who will then pick the two or three projects that they consider to be the best fit for the program.

  • November 24, 2021: Applications are due at 12pm noon EST
  • December 10, 2021: Notification of initial application outcomes will be delivered
  • January 10-21, 2022: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to discuss their proposals with the selection committee.
  • After February 7, 2022: Projects will begin

  • The Project and related findings must be presented in oral or poster format at the DSI Research Day in the year or in the immediately subsequent year the award is made.
  • As a reporting requirement, it is expected that applicants respond promptly to surveys, questionnaires, or enquiries from the DSI on topics such as papers submitted to or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, oral and poster presentations given at seminars, scientific meetings, or conferences and competitive applications submitted to external agencies for funding. Applicants will be clearly notified of submission dates and format requirements.

Research Software Development Support Application Form

The form must be filled and saved using Adobe Acrobat (rather than a browser preview)

Please email the application form as a PDF document to by November 24, 12 pm noon EST. The file should be named [Last name, First name DSI ResSoftware]

Further Information

Professor Gary Bader, Associate Director, Data Management, Research Software, Advanced Research Computing, Data Sciences Institute, hosted an information session on research software development support on November 11, 2021.

The webinar’s recording and slides are available here.

PDF Slides

For more information, please contact: