TEAM DEVELOPMENT GRANTS – SEED LEVEL

Application guidelines

Deadline: September 5, 2022

1. Objective

This funding opportunity aims to support preliminary activities for developing novel teams and the infrastructure necessary to conduct future multicentre research for the benefit of patients living with skin conditions.

2. Description

The Skin Investigation Network of Canada (SkIN Canada) is offering a funding opportunity to facilitate collaborative research that benefits people living with skin conditions. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, SkIN Canada has three main goals: a) develop national infrastructure to advance multicentre skin research; b) foster new collaborations between patients, researchers, and clinicians at academic and community sites; and c) grow the skin research community. We recognize the value of open science and patient engagement to achieve these goals, and have ensured that the patient voice is integrated throughout all our activities.

In accordance with the network’s mission, SkIN Canada will be funding a series of team development grants to catalyze novel multicentre skin research. These grants are intended to support preliminary activities that are typically not fundable as stand-alone projects. For example, operating grants usually require preliminary work and validated infrastructure to demonstrate feasibility and potential for success.

A) Research Areas

Proposals must focus on developing capacity for multicentre clinical or translational research in at least one of the following research areas:

  • Inflammatory skin conditions

  • Skin cancer (other than melanoma)

  • Wound healing, fibrosis, and regeneration

Proposals addressing the Top Ten research priorities for the following nine conditions, as identified by the SkIN Canada Priority Setting Initiative, are encouraged and will be allocated a targeted portion of the funds:

  • Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)

  • Hidradenitis suppurativa

  • Psoriasis

  • Basal cell carcinoma

  • Merkel cell carcinoma

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Burns

  • Chronic wounds (including pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers,  arterial ulcers)

  • Scars (including keloids, hypertrophic scars, surgical scars, and acne scars)

In accordance with CIHR stipulations, these SkIN Canada grants cannot be used to fund research. The goal is to support preliminary activities that will develop and validate infrastructure and data resources to strengthen subsequent operating grant applications for multicentre research. Proposals submitted under this call may include, but are not limited to, the following types of activities:

  • Preliminary work to develop, validate, and implement tools and capacity for multicentre collaboration

  • Exploratory work to collect and evaluate pilot feasibility data from multiple research sites (e.g., to inform sample size estimation) 

  • Development of protocols, methodologies, and standard operating procedures for data or biospecimen collection involving multiple research sites

  • Creation of multicentre registries and biobanks

B) Funds Available

  • The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $225,000, enough to fund approximately 9 grants. The maximum amount per grant is $25,000 for up to 1 year. 

  • Of this $225,000:

    • $75,000 is available to fund up to 3 applications led by early career investigators (defined as being within 7 years of their first independent research appointment at the grant application deadline)

    • $150,000 is available to fund up to 6 applications relevant to the SkIN Canada Top Ten research priorities

    • The above two pools are not mutually exclusive.

  • The final number of grants awarded may change depending on the availability of funds and the number of high-quality submissions.

  • SkIN Canada will provide in-kind support including research database development and resources for patient engagement and knowledge translation.

  • Based on progress achieved after one year, at least three of the projects may be awarded a larger second round of funding.

C) Questions

Any questions related to the SkIN Canada Team Development Grant Application process can be directed to info@skincanada.org

3. Eligibility

A) Eligibility to Apply

For an application to be eligible:

  • The Principal Applicant must be associated with an academic institution that can administer grant funds. This requirement does not apply to co-applicants.

  • The Principal Applicant must not have participated in a SkIN Canada workshop finalizing the Top Ten list of research priorities relevant to their application. This restriction does not apply to co-applicants or patient research partners.

  • An individual can lead only one application per competition.

  • The proposed project must involve multicentre collaboration with the following team composition (all three conditions must be met):

    • At least three applicants from three different research sites in Canada (based on their primary academic appointment or work base). These applicants would contribute data or biospecimens in future research facilitated by work completed in this grant 

    • At least two patient research partners

    • An early career investigator (defined as being within 7 years of their first research appointment at the grant application deadline).

4. Guidelines

A) Allowable Costs

Applicants should review the Use of Grant Funds section of the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) Guide on Financial Administration for requirements regarding the appropriate use of grant funds. The following expenses will be considered eligible for funding received through this funding opportunity:

  • Salaries of project personnel (e.g., research assistant), excluding grant applicants. 

  • Direct costs associated with project-related activities

  • Compensation and reimbursement for patient research partners

***Note that equipment purchases are not an eligible expense.

B) Conditions of Funding

  • The applicant must consent to the use and disclosure of full application and nominative information at the time of application, for purposes of relevance review and funding decisions.

  • The Principal Applicant is required to submit a final report at the end of the one year funding term.

  • All researchers on the team will be expected to add their profile to the SkIN Canada Research Map

  • Presentations and publications arising from this funding opportunity must acknowledge SkIN Canada support.

5. Review Process and Evaluation

A) Review Process

Eligible proposals will be categorized and evaluated by applicable SkIN Canada committees and external reviewers, as needed. 

B) Evaluation Criteria

  1. Potential impact

    • Does the project address the pressing health needs of Canadians living with skin conditions, including but not limited to the Top Ten research questions for the conditions listed above (see Research areas)?

    • Do the project outputs have the potential to stimulate a series of novel multicentre studies for specific skin conditions?

  2. Work plan

    • Is it likely that the proposed approach will achieve the project objectives?

    • Is the work plan appropriate and rigorous?

    • How feasible is the proposed approach?

  3. Applicants

    • Does the Principal Applicant have proven expertise in the research area?

    • Has the applicant team demonstrated the diverse requisite skills, experience and resources to complete the project in the proposed time frame?

    • Will the project provide experience and learning opportunities for early career investigators and trainees?

  4. Engagement of patient research partners

    • How effectively will patients be engaged throughout the project (see SPOR Guidelines)?

    • How will applicants and patient research partners acquire the skills to ensure effective and meaningful patient engagement?

C) Funding Decision

Applications that receive a rating below 3.5 on a 5-point CIHR scale will not be funded.

Applications relevant to each pool will be funded from the top down in order of ranking.

Decisions will be available in November 2022 with an anticipated funding start date of Dec. 1, 2022.

6. How to Apply

  1. Download and complete the application form.

  2. Create a project proposal that clearly addresses each of the elements presented in the evaluation criteria section. Formatting requirements are as follows:

  1. Maximum 4 pages (excluding references, tables, and figures)

  2. 12 point font (non-condensed)

  3. 1 inch margins all around.

  1. Develop a budget (1 page) listing each expense with justification. See Allowable Costs above.

  2. Prepare CVs for each applicant. Acceptable format is either:

    1. CIHR Biosketch CV, or 

    2. 3-page CV outlining education, recognitions, employment, publications in the past 7 years, and grants held in the past 5 years.

Combine the completed application form, project proposal, budget, and applicant CVs into a single pdf file and email it to info@skincanada.org by 11:59 pm EDT,  September 5, 2022. Only complete applications will be considered. Applicants will not be notified before the deadline if their application is incomplete or ineligible.