Application Process

The application package and instructions are modelled after the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation and Project Grant programs.

Please click the link to view the 2020-2022 application instructions and we have included helpful grant writing tips  to help with your application.

The applications will be assessed by an independent review committee (details will be announced soon).

Faculty applying for an award will not be invited to review applications. Decisions will be based on the score and ranking of the application and eligibility criteria.

 

scoring criteria                                                         senior applicants
(excluding new investigators)                             
new investigator applicants
(<5 yrs from completion of residency or Fellowship training)
Research Summary Page                           Not Scored                                    Not Scored
Research Concept: Idea & Originality                                 20%                                       20%
Research Approach and Expertise                                 40%                                       40%
Mentorship, Training and Research Environment                                 10%                                       30%
Curriculum Vitae and Research Metrics                                 15%                                        5%
Further Criteria                                 15%                                        5%

 

CRITERION 1: Quality of the Program

1.1 Research Concept

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the research component of the program, as well as the significance of the anticipated outcomes. This section allows you to describe your research program at length and to get the reader excited about its potential. It is important to have a well-organized discussion. A running theme of the application should be that the new infrastructure is absolutely essential for conducting your research. The following structure is one suggested way to present your discussion:

Introduction: Begin by outlining the overall vision of your research program. State the major research goals and explain how the program of research will significantly advance the field.

Proposed Research: Follow the introductory section with a more substantial discussion of your research. Discuss the current state of knowledge and the pressing questions you plan to address. Discuss the present research opportunity and how you will capitalize on it. Describe realistic timelines and be sure to discuss short-term and long-term program outputs.

Significance and Innovation: Compare this work to other research being done nationally and/or internationally, and discuss what sets your work apart. Do similar projects exist in Canada or worldwide? Can you differentiate your project from them? (e.g., “We are currently the only team in the world investigating ‘Y’” or “Although research in the field of ‘X’ has been done before, this would be the first time that...”). Make a case for the uniqueness of your research.

Translation: Address your translation strategies. These may include how you will secure the required resources or ensure effective collaboration. Provide specifics about the nature of the translational opportunity and do not simply state that “we hope translational opportunities may arise from this work.

Tips for this Section:

  • Present a coherent vision of your project: build a narrative that explains how the various elements discussed form a cohesive program and not a disconnected collection of experiments.
  • Be sure that your goals are extremely well-articulated by placing them in single, succinct sentences at the beginning or end of paragraphs so they stand out.
  • Make sure your proposed research program is in line with your expertise described in Stage 1.
  • Divide your project into themes subdivided into subsections that clearly defined the justification of the proposed approaches.
  • Balance AMBITION and FEASIBILITY by offering quantitative evidence and a realistic timeline for a project that will “significantly advance knowledge and/or its translation into improved health care, health systems and/or health outcomes.”

1.2 Research Approach

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the quality of the approach of the proposed program of research. Consider the below paragraph structure:

Begin this section by describing a specific and detailed research program, research strategies and key activities (including methodological approaches and procedures for data collection and analysis). Describe why the approach is appropriate and how it will allow for flexibility as the program evolves. Describe how progress and success will be measured against key milestones and explicitly describe the milestones.

Follow the above discussion with a detailed analysis of potential challenges/risks that might arise to the research program and the knowledge translation. Demonstrate that you have considered realistic mitigation strategies.

Tips for this section:

  • Ensure that your research approaches are based on well-established techniques that are well aligned with your expertise and the team assembled by the applicant.
  • Offer details of the methodological approaches and make sure they are capable of being carried out in your lab or available by the collaborators and program experts involved.
  • While ambitious, make sure that the plan is a logical extension of existing methods.
  • Use the word “flexibility” to make it easier on your reviewers who will be looking for this key term in your proposal in relation to the evolving changes in your project.
  • Explicitly address your challenges.
  • Use bullet points to show reviewers you have a specific step-by-step plan to track progress and mitigate potential pitfalls. Be very specific here.
  • Part of your mitigation plan should include alternative strategies.
  • The inclusion of a scientific advisory board for measuring progress and success is an excellent idea
  • Don’t forget to frame your discussion as offering a promising new direction or as developing new methods.

CRITERION 2: Quality of the Expertise, Experience and Resources

2.1: Expertise

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the expertise and experience of the Program Leader(s) as well as any collaborators to collectively deliver on the objectives of the proposed program. It is the responsibility of the Program Leader(s) to ensure that the proposed research program is poised for success. Below is a recommended structure for this section:

Describe the expertise and experience (disciplinary, professional, or methodological) of the proposed Program Leader(s), as well as any collaborators (e.g., researchers, technicians, knowledge-users, partners, patients and trainees, etc.) Explain how you are a world leader in the field and have been recognized. Include h-index and number of citations as well as significant agency funding.

Describe the roles and responsibilities of the Program Leader(s) and link them to the objectives of the research program. Explain how the collaborators, if any, have been carefully selected to complement the PI’s expertise.

Describe the level of engagement (e.g., time commitment and contribution) of Program Leader(s).

As applicable, describe the commitment (cash or in-kind) from interested or engaged knowledge user(s) and/or applicant partners.

Describe the coordinated roles of the Program Leader(s) and any collaborators in the oversight and management of the program of research.

Consider including a plan to seek out expertise (new collaborators based on the anticipated future needs of the program of research, as it is expected that the current collaborators may evolve over the duration of the grant, based on the needs of the proposed program.

Tips for this section:

  • If there are a large number of key collaborators, ensure that all contributions are explained.
  • Emphasize the complementary nature of the experience of the group of experts and collaborators and how this collaboration will maximize the chances of success.
  • Ensure that the contributions of all collaborators named in the research program are well defined.
  • If relevant, be sure to describe the engagement of translational experts.
  • Offer details regarding the managerial expertise of the PI.
  • Check to make sure that the grants discussed in this section are listed on the CV and that collaborators mentioned in this section are also mentioned in the form pages.

2.2: Mentorship and Training

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the quality of the mentorship/training plan, through the demonstrated commitment to/level of engagement in shaping the future of the applicant’s students, trainees, emerging scholars, and New/Early Career Investigators, as well as other individuals in non-academic, health-related fields.

Begin by offering an outline of training goals, learning opportunities, and key activities. Emphasize how the mentorship and training you offer will position students/trainees for successful research careers or non-academic careers in health-related fields.

Describe specific skill development (e.g., technical/methodological, oral and written, teaching, grants management, budgeting, research values and ethics, and, if appropriate, lab management).

Include structured specifics: consider training programs that include projects targeted to the student’s interests, regular one-on-one meetings, and feedback.

Emphasize your own track record in providing this type of training and provide examples of the high positions that some of your former trainees now hold in academia and industry.

Describe planned collaboration with individuals from non-academic spheres

Then offer a rationale for the proposed training approach (a pedagogy).

Discuss potential challenges of the mentorship and training plan and a strategy for identifying and mitigating these challenges.

Offer a plan for how progress and success will be measured and tracked.

Tips for this section:

  • Explicitly state that you have graduated [#] PhD students and [#] [postdoctoral fellows over the past [time period].
  • Explicitly highlight several trainees that now are [name of position] at [institution, company, etc.]
  • Be comprehensive when describing the aspects of your training program. Include technical training, oral and written communication skills, career development, informal mentoring.
  • Offer detailed description of mentorship roles and activities. Provide specific examples.
  • Consider describing opportunities for trainees to gain exposure to international research and (for senior trainees) teaching other trainees.
  • Strike a balance between the supervision and independence offered to trainees.
  • Be careful not to over-emphasize recruitment strategies that benefit you while forgetting to assess post-training placements that benefit the students.
  • It is also encouraged for reviewers to consider collaboration with individuals from non-academic spheres. It is advised that “Non-academic professionals benefit from both interactions with and access to research resources, and training on use of these resources. The reverse is also true.” Consider including discussion of this point.

2.3: Quality of Support Environment

This criterion is intended to assess whether the applicant has the resources necessary in order to successfully deliver on the objectives of the research program in both the short- and long-term. Do not just describe the environment, justify why it is appropriate to the program of research. Devote a paragraph, as applicable, to each of the following issues:

  • Physical infrastructure (and/or other types of infrastructure such as consortia, professional networks, etc.)
  • Support personnel
  • Equipment
  • Specialized facilities
  • Supplies

Tips for this section:

  • Explicitly state that you have graduated [#] PhD students and [#] [postdoctoral fellows over the past [time period].
  • Explicitly highlight several trainees that now are [name of position] at [institution, company, etc.]
  • Be comprehensive when describing the aspects of your training program. Include technical training, oral and written communication skills, career development, informal mentoring.
  • Offer detailed description of mentorship roles and activities. Provide specific examples.
  • Consider describing opportunities for trainees to gain exposure to international research and (for senior trainees) teaching other trainees.
  • Strike a balance between the supervision and independence offered to trainees.
  • Be careful not to over-emphasize recruitment strategies that benefit you while forgetting to assess post-training placements that benefit the students.
  • It is also encouraged for reviewers to consider collaboration with individuals from non-academic spheres. It is advised that “Non-academic professionals benefit from both interactions with and access to research resources, and training on use of these resources. The reverse is also true.” Consider including discussion of this point.
  • Describe key infrastructure in the environment and how it is state-of-the-art.
  • Offer specifics regarding the management and support personnel for the proposed project.
  • Emphasize, if applicable, the close proximity of the various labs.
  • Emphasize the degree of applicant access to all of the specialized technology needed for this project.
  • Do not forget to describe the long-term resources to support the facility: mention your leadership in raising the funds to improve facilities.