CCNA - frequently asked questions

  1. Can an individual researcher apply to be part of the CCNA?
  2. Are international co-applicants, collaborators allowed to participate and apply for funding within this initiative?
  3. To what extent should budgets be clarified in the Expression of Interest (EOI)?
  4. Clarify “core funding” vs. partners.
  5. Does the NPA need to bring in matching funds?
  6. What is the selection process for each of the various Principal Applicants?
  7. Who will be the researchers interested in applying from University X and what are their areas of interest/expertise?
  8. How to build shared resources/platforms into the EOI?
  9. Are you planning to organize meetings for academic and clinical researchers to interact with companies and health care professionals?
  10. Is there no way to coordinate the CCNA EOI and other Initiatives on the same topic?
  11. Please provide details on the role of training and mentoring.
  12. Governance and structure of CCNA, collaboration with CLSA, involvement of partners-details, involvement of KT and the cross-cutting themes.
  13. Additional program details.
    1. What is/are the eligibility criteria?
    2. Is the CCNA a team grant?
    3. How many Principal Applicants (PAs) are allowed?
    4. How many grants will be given?
    5. What would be a typical grant amount?
    6. What is the grant duration?
    7. Is it renewable?
  14. Teams must include New Investigators, will the budget allow for funding of New Investigator?
  15. Intellectual Property generated; Can we protect and commercialize?
  16. Are there specific Neurodegenerative Diseases that are emphasized in the CCNA?
  17. What are the criteria used by Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) to select the team members?
  18. There is nothing explicit in the CCNA Expression of Interest funding opportunity regarding support of clinical patient cohorts, an essential resource for most clinical teams. Why are there no defined funds for this cross-cutting aspect?
  19. How does the budget have to be specific for partners?
  20. Who decides on budgets to be allocated to individuals?
  21. Is the CCNA webinar link available?

1. Can an individual researcher apply to be part of the CCNA?

No, an individual researcher cannot apply to the CCNA. Only a full application, meaning an application that describes the whole consortium including the three themes, is eligible for this competition. The Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) submits the application on behalf of all applicants that will be part of the Consortium.

Researchers or groups interested in joining the CCNA should signal their interest to potential NPAs by completing the on-line form available through the website.

The NPAs will be accountable for considering any researcher or group declaring themselves interested via the web site. Reviewers will have access to this information and will consider it in their review.

2. Are international co-applicants, collaborators allowed to participate and apply for funding within this initiative?

Yes, for this funding opportunity, like all CIHR funding opportunities, international co-applicants or collaborators can participate.

3. To what extent should budgets be clarified in the Expression of Interest (EOI)?

The budget at the EOI stage is composed of two components:

  • 1st component: budget allocated to support the travel and accommodation of participants to attend the First Partners’ Forum, and the activities to help the researchers prepare for the First Partners’ Forum. A budget up to $75,000 can be requested for that purpose by the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA). The only information required for this budget request is the list of participants that will be part of the First Partners’ Forum and a brief description of upcoming planning activities for the Forum.
  • 2nd component: A three-page document providing an overview of the estimated costs associated with the implementation of the vision proposed. This information should be high-level. It will be useful for CIHR, partners and the review committee to understand the resources required and the state of collaboration and contribution from different partners and participants.

4. Clarify “core funding” vs. partners

There is no term “core funding” in this Funding Opportunity. However, as specified in the funding opportunity, the $30M budget corresponds to:

  1. Approximately $4M to cover the costs of the governance (coordination and synergistic activities) and the cross-cutting components of training, ethical, legal and social implications and knowledge translation
  2. Up to $9M across the 3 Themes- the funding partners did not specify the theme of interest for the use of these funds
  3. Approx. $7M on Primary prevention
  4. Approx. $5M for Secondary prevention
  5. Approx. $5M for Quality of life

The partner funding will be allocated as described in the Partner Description section of the funding opportunity. The CCNA Partners will confirm their exact contributions to the CCNA following the First Partners' Forum.

5. Does the NPA need to bring in matching funds?

There is no requirement to bring in additional partners or funds.

6. What is the selection process for each of the various Principal Applicants?

If multiple Expression of Interests (EOIs) are submitted, one leadership team (composed of the Nominated Principal Applicant and three theme Principal Applicants) will be recommended by the review committee to attend the 1st Partners’ Forum. The peer review committee may also recommend the involvement of other participants from other teams to participate in the Forum. It is expected that the selected leadership team will make every effort to include a wide range of expertize to their final research team.

7. Who will be the researchers interested in applying from University X and what are their areas of interest/expertise?

If a researcher is interested in expressing their interest to be part of an application, they can directly contact the Nominated Principal Applicant (if known) or they can declare their interest to participate by following the instructions described in Question 1.

8. How to build shared resources/platforms into the EOI?

It is expected that the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) and theme Principal Applicants (PAs) will not only describe the governance structure within the EOI, but also the shared resources and platforms that will be necessary to carry out the research programs. The NPA and theme PAs could propose platforms or resources that they think will support innovative research within each theme or across themes. The use, leveraging or expansion of existing platforms, or the networking of these platforms, may be necessary to carry out the proposed research. It is up the applicants to make the case in their application. A platform may not be innovative in and of itself, but it may be necessary to support innovative and high impact research. Leveraging resources/platforms that are funded elsewhere is also a possibility and encouraged within the CCNA.

9. Are you planning to organize meetings for academic and clinical researchers to interact with companies and health care professionals?

The annual Partners’ Forum is such a meeting. It is an obligation for the CCNA Nominated Principal Applicant and Theme Principal Applicants to plan an annual Partners’ Forum where all partners and researchers will participate. However, if applicants would like to suggest innovative and added opportunities to exchange with stakeholders they are, of course, invited to do so.

10. Is there no way to coordinate the CCNA EOI and other Initiatives on the same topic?

There is an overlap on topics between the CCNA and several other funding opportunities that are currently ongoing as well as with those that may arise in the near future. For instance, the COEN (Centresof Excellence in Neurodegeneration) initiative, which is part of the international component of CIHR’s International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease, is currently in peer review and also involves research in the area of neurodegenerative diseases. The CCNA is designed to be able to integrate and welcome applicable/relevant teams and shared resources or platforms that may be funded by other sources or initiatives.

For any funding opportunity on the topic of neurodegenerative diseases that affect cognition and the research teams that are funded within these initiatives, there is a possibility of being considered by the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) of the CCNA to be included in the synergy of the Consortium.

The CCNA is an evolving entity that will represent the best of Canadian research in this field. The teams supported by the CCNA may be complemented by welcoming other teams, which will come with their own funding from different opportunities or initiatives, to be included in the CCNA.

It is encouraged by CIHR to maximize the synergistic environment created between all Canadian researchers in this area.

11. Please provide details on the role of training and mentoring.

It is up to the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) and themes PAs to include these elements in their application and to propose innovative research on these subjects (within or across themes and teams). This is also an area where building on existing initiatives could be important and innovative. An example could be building on existing training tools such as the CIHR-IA Summer Program in Aging.

12. Governance and structure of CCNA, collaboration with CLSA, involvement of partners- details, involvement of KT and the cross-cutting themes.

CIHR is not recommending a specific CCNA governance structure or operation. It will be up to the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) and theme PAs to develop and justify the proposed structure to the peer review committee. The specifics related to the governance of the CCNA will be an important part of the final application in Phase II of the application process.

Discussions that will take place at the Partners’ Forum will help to advise the CCNA leadership team in making optimal decisions related to the governance and structure of the Consortium. These recommendations may include, as an example, the inclusion of a scientific advisory committee as part of their governance structure.

With respect to collaboration with the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), it is clear that the CLSA is a unique research platform from which the origins of neurodegenerative diseases and other diseases may be deciphered. There is no specific expectation from this initiative to collaborate or include the CLSA within this initiative.

The CLSA is one among many other opportunities, such as other CIHR Signature and Strategic Initiatives that can be partly integrated or aligned with the CCNA. All of these existing opportunities can be seized by applicants in their applications. Again, it is the vision and the choice of the NPA to put these ideas and links forward.

The NPA and theme PAs are required to include cross-cutting components (training, knowledge translation, ethics) in their application and to propose innovative activities to support these components (within or across themes and teams). This is also an area where building on existing initiatives could be important and innovative.

13. Additional program details.

  1. What is/are the eligibility criteria?

    The CCNA Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) and the three theme PAs must be independent researchers and each individual can only play one role in the CCNA. Detailed information on eligibility criteria can be found in the funding opportunity.

  2. Is the CCNA a team grant?

    The CCNA is not a team grant. The application is for one Canadian Consortium that will be submitted by one Nominated Principal Applicant and will include all of the required components.

  3. How many Principal Applicants (PAs) are allowed?

    There is no pre-defined number of PAs in the CCNA. There is however, a minimum of one Nominated Principal Applicant, and 3 theme PA plus the PAs for each team within the three themes. There are also co-applicants and collaborators.

  4. How many grants will be given?

    Only one CCNA will be funded and this represents one grant.

  5. What would be a typical grant amount?

    The current grant amount is $30M but this is expected to increase with the inclusion of new partners in the CCNA. The final amount available will only be known after the First Partner’s Forum, and will be detailed in the funding opportunity for the full CCNA, that will be posted on the CIHR website shortly after the First Partners’ Forum.

  6. What is the grant duration?

    This is a 5-year grant.

  7. Is it renewable?

    The CCNA has not been designed as renewable program.

14. Teams must include New Investigators, will the budget allow for funding of New Investigator?

There is no restriction on that front and the Nominated Principal Applicant is encouraged to justify inclusion of New Investigators to maximize the impact of the Consortium. The balance between New and other Investigators is reflected at the Consortium level. There is no requirement to balance within the leadership team or within themes, etc…

15. Intellectual Property generated; Can we protect and commercialize?

Intellectual Property emerging from the CCNA funding opportunity will be handled as in any CIHR grant.

16. Are there specific Neurodegenerative Diseases that are emphasized in the CCNA?

No, all Neurodegenerative Diseases having an impact on cognition in aging are included in the CCNA. For instance, ALS research is a specific component that is supported by a partner organisation.

17. What are the criteria used by Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) to select the team members?

The NPA will put forward the best possible group of researchers in their application. The NPA will be expected to consider the inclusion, within the CCNA, of researchers who have declared their interest to be included in the CCNA. The NPA is expected to consult the list of researchers that have declared their interest. See the link provided to the summary table of interested researchers in Question 1.

18. There is nothing explicit in the CCNA Expression of Interest funding opportunity regarding support of clinical patient cohorts, an essential resource for most clinical teams. Why are there no defined funds for this cross-cutting aspect?

The CCNA is composed of three theme areas where clinical cohorts could be important and contribute to the research. If a clinical patient cohort is seen as important for more than one theme, then applicants should consider including this cohort within the application as a platform or shared resource. Although this type of cohort is not specifically mentioned in the funding opportunity, it is certainly not excluded. It is up to the Nominated Principal Applicant to make the argument and justify inclusion in the CCNA. CIHR did not want to pre-engineer the consortium, but did want to ensure that research will be conducted within the three themes.

19. How does the budget have to be specific for partners?

Partners are specified in the funding opportunity, the Theme(s) in which they are prepared to fund research. It is up to the Nominated Principal Applicant to ensure that the requirements of partners are met.

20. Who decides on budgets to be allocated to individuals?

The Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) and theme PAs will submit a budget for the governance, cross cutting components as well as budgets for each proposed team along with their research program, for review. The review committee will make recommendations to CIHR for the funding of each individual component of the CCNA. At the full application stage of the CCNA, each team will be evaluated individually and only excellent teams will be included in the CCNA. More details will be available in the funding opportunity rules for the full application once the Expression of Interest stage is completed.

21. Is the CCNA webinar link available?

If you would like to obtain the link to the recorded webinars, please contact:

Michelle Peel
Assistant Director
CIHR Institute of Aging
Phone: 613-952-4537
Email: michelle.peel@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

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