New Faculty Onboarding: Getting Started in Research & Innovation at the University of Toronto

What do I need before I can begin?

There are no prerequisites to complete before referencing this guide.

Download a PDF version of the New Faculty Onboarding Guide.


Congratulations on your faculty appointment and welcome to the University of Toronto (U of T)! The Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) created this onboarding guide to help you get oriented to research-specific resources and processes as you transition to your new role at U of T.

The VPRI has the expertise and connections to help researchers at every stage, by providing advice and resources. Working with our Faculties and affiliated hospitals, we are the administrative support hub for U of T's research and innovation activities.

IMPORTANT: This guide is meant to complement the general onboarding process managed by your unit head and home department/faculty. Please ensure you consult with your unit head and home department/faculty for a complete set of steps. As department/faculty structure can vary, please take note of the following information.

  • Multi-department faculties: Most departments within multi-department faculties at U of T have not only a Chair, but also an Associate Chair – Research, or similar. Your Chair can refer you to the relevant leader within your unit for advice and mentorship relating to research that is specifically tailored to the academic norms within your field(s)
  • Single-department faculties: Typically, a single-department faculty has an Associate Dean – Research, or similar, who is available for expert advice and mentorship

The Onboarding Guide


  1. Please review the guide and customize it to your research situation as needed. The guide is organized into these sequential phases.
    • Prior to Start Date
    • Upon Start Date (First day and first few weeks)
    • Commencing Research (In your first few months)
  2. Complete the actions in a timely manner to build upon your learning and minimize potential problems with sequential steps.
  3. Explore the Other Resources section and VPRI Acronym Glossary for additional helpful information.

Prior to Start Date

Action Contact for Assistance

Explore the VPRI website 
The VPRI is the administrative support hub for U of T's research and innovation activities. Find information about procedures, regulations, web systems & tools, and who to contact for support.

  • See the ‘Contact Us’ section at the bottom of each page for a subject-specific contact, or search the VPRI staff directory

Explore the  Centre for Research & Innovation (CRIS) website 
Find researcher-centered services, training, tools and expertise offered across the university, such as the following.

General inquiries: Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS)
Transfer existing research funds 
Contact VPRI staff (see Contact for Assistance) to check that the transfer of research funds from your current institution to U of T is underway.

Canadian Funds

  • Search the VPRI staff directory by sponsor name to find the relevant contact

US & International Funds

  • Contact a Research Funding Manager, US & International Funding
Understand who can be a Principal Investigator (PI) at U of T 
Learn how U of T, for research purposes, defines who is eligible to be a PI on a research grant or contract.
  • Unit head / home department or faculty staff

If your research involves biological agents, chemicals, lasers, radioisotopes, and/or x-rays
Plan ahead to ensure your research space meets safety requirements and will be ready to use. Please note:

  • Any renovations or preparation of the research lab(s) may take time and is dependent on the nature of the renovations
  • Some work with biological agents regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (such as foreign or emerging animal pathogens) may require special infrastructure and certifications
  • Contact the appropriate EHS Program staff (see Contact for Assistance) for an assessment of your research needs

Review the relevant EHS Programs

Laboratory Space Needs

  • Unit head / home department or faculty staff

Specific Infrastructure Requirements

Upon Start Date

First day to first few weeks

Action Contact for Assistance
Activate your UTORid 
Your UTORid (with password) is your key to numerous services at U of T, including a range of essential VPRI systems.
Information Commons Help Desk416-978-HELP (4357)
Orient yourself to U of T’s research systems and web tools 
Refer to this list of Key Information Systems Used in Research Administration as you complete further steps.
Information Commons Help Desk416-978-HELP (4357)
Access your My Research (MR) system account 
Check to make sure you can login to your MR system account.
RAISE Helpdesk416-946-5000

Orient yourself to research funding/career development resources.

Connaught Fund Research Funding Manager, Internal Programs
Industry Partnerships 416-978-5557
Institutional Strategic Initiatives
All other resources See the ‘Contact Us’ section at the bottom of each page for a subject-specific contact, or search the VPRI staff directory.
Learn how to Apply for Funding

Consult your Chair, Vice-Dean Research, and/or Research Facilitator

  • for services available at the department and faculty level for specific funding programs
  • Direct supervisor/home department or faculty staff

Review U of T’s Guide to Financial Management,

  • a key resource on how to handle financial related matters, including research funding
Financial Services Department416-978-2140
Financial Services Staff Directory

Complete relevant MR system training

RAISE Helpdesk416-946-5000

Create a DiscoverResearch profile

  • Showcase your research and expertise; signal availability for media requests, graduate student supervision, industry and academic collaboration, etc.; identify other academics for collaboration opportunities; leverage automated data from trusted sources; and download up-to-date CVs or a listing of your scholarly activities
  • Log into Elements to create your profile; you will need a valid UTORid
DiscoverResearchDiscoverResearch Community Site
Attend Basic Health & Safety Awareness Training Environmental Health & Safety

If your research involves human participants

General Inquiries: Human Research & Ethics Unit (HREU)416-946-3273

If your research involves animals

  • please review Ethics in Animal Research & Teaching for requirements regarding animal use protocols, mandatory animal handler training, field work, controlled drug exemptions, and biohazard permits.
General Inquiries: Animal Ethics & Compliance Unit416-946-3273

If your research involves biological agents, chemicals, lasers, radioisotopes, and/or X-rays

Permits A valid university permit is required for possession of, and before work with, hazardous materials including biological agents, certain chemicals, radioisotopes, lasers and x-rays, Please review the relevant programs for further information.

Contact the applicable EHS team for guidance before starting your permit application(s).

Attend relevant Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Training and review the EHS website.

If your research involves cannabis

Research Compliance Manager416-436-0452

If your research involves controlled or dangerous goods,

Export Controls Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO)
(416) 978-5557
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)
(416) 978-6011
Controlled Goods Research Compliance Manager
(416) 436-0452

Review key U of T research related policies.

Office of the Governing Council416-978-6576
Review the University’s expectations regarding Research Integrity Manager, Research Oversight and Compliance416-946-0836
Review the University’s expectations for Research Data Management General inquiries: Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS)
Attend U of T's new faculty & staff orientation The Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture: Contact

Sign up for Research Alerts

  • to get e-mail notifications about your preferred research topics
  • You will need a valid UTORid
Sign up for communications from CRIS General inquiries: Centre for Research & Innovation Support (CRIS)

Commencing Research

In your first few months

Action Contact for Assistance
Learn how to Manage Funding
Ensure all relevant permits & approvals are in place (e.g., biosafety permits, ethics protocols, etc.)
Ensure that your research staff complete all required and relevant training (e.g., MR Systems, Environmental Health & Safety, etc.)

Learn how to move your research output to the market through Inventions, Commercialization & Entrepreneurship and the following helpful handbooks.

Find entrepreneurship-specific resources at University of Toronto Entrepreneurship

Review key U of T innovation related policies

Office of the Governing Council416-978-6576

Orient yourself to a few of the centrally supported services available at U of T

(416) 978-2922
Toronto RDC

Tips for Success

  1. Take advantage of available online resources
  2. Incorporate time in your research planning for necessary administration (e.g. application processing, ethical review)
  3. Understand your responsibilities as a PI. You are responsible for adhering to University policies, research integrity, sponsor requirements, policies concerning humans and animals in research, ethical conduct of research, etc.

Forms & Downloads


  • Provide assistance and advice on a wide range of research & innovation matters

VPRI Contact

Find the appropriate VPRI staff member to assist you by checking our staff directory.