IPPH Funding – Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Applied Public Health Chairs Funding Opportunity - 2013

  1. What is considered an eligible collaborator for this competition?

    CIHR’s definition of a collaborator is as follows:

    Collaborator (Grant and Salary Programs only)
    CIHR defines a Collaborator as an individual whose role in the proposed activities is to provide a specific service (e.g., access to equipment, provision of specific reagents, training in a specialized technique, statistical analysis, access to a patient population, etc.).

    The definition of a Decision-maker as per CIHR:

    Decision maker: An individual who makes decisions about, or influences, health policies or practices. Decision makers can be practitioners, educators, health care administrators, elected officials (Exception: Federal elected officials), and individuals within the media, health charities, patient user groups or the private sector. They can work at the local community, municipal, provincial or national level. Decision makers are those individuals who are likely to be able to make use of the results of the research.

    Seeing as the Applied Public Health Chair funding opportunity requires you to have a decision-making collaborator, the collaborator would have to align with both definitions above.

  2. How ‘firm’ does the institutional commitment need to be within the letter of support? Will this be an eligibility issue or a peer review issue or both?

    At the eligibility screening, the letter of support from the institution/organization will be reviewed to ensure it indicates a commitment/willingness to commit from the institution/organization. The adequacy and completeness of the documentation provided will be assessed by the Peer Review committee in line with the Peer Review Evaluation Criteria under “Environment and Support”.

    Confirmation of a commitment from the applicant’s institution to establish a new Canada Research Chair or endowed chair in applied public health at their institution by the end of the five year award period is one criterion among many that will be considered in order to evaluate the degree of commitment from the applicant’s institution. To make it easier for the Peer Review Committee to assess this commitment, you should include as much detail as possible to demonstrate the level of commitment.

  3. What criteria must a community partner fulfill?

    For an application to be eligible, the Nominated Principal Applicant must identify a decision-maker as a collaborator who will be directly engaged in their research program. Beyond what is listed in the eligibility criteria, there are no other requirements.

  4. Are PINS, CCVs, etc. required to be submitted from collaborators?

    No, PINS and CCVs are not required for collaborators.

  5. Is there an advantage to have multiple decision-makers involved in the program?

    No. The minimum requirement is at least one letter of support from a decision-maker collaborator, but applicants may choose to collaborate with more than one decision-maker. Partnerships need to be aligned with/support the achievement of the applicant’s program of research.

    The letter(s) of support from the decision-making collaborator(s) must outline how the decision-maker will be involved in the research, mentoring and knowledge translation program. In the case of global health research applications, a letter(s) of support must be provided by the decision-making collaborator in a low- or middle-income country that outlines how the collaborator(s) is involved in the research, mentoring and knowledge translation program. Also, applicants can highlight collaborators/collaborations in their research proposal.

  6. What if the applicant has a research program with multiple interventions and wishes to select multiple decision makers as a collaborator?

    Applicants are able to have more than one collaborator for their application and more than one letter of support can be attached. You should have a letter of support for every collaborator mentioned on the application. Please refer to the instructions in the Funding Opportunity for more information on where all the information should be included.

  7. What is the definition of “mid-career”?

    In order to be eligible, you must have a minimum of 6 years’ and a maximum of 12 years’ experience since you received your qualifying degree (a post-doctoral fellowship does not count as a qualifying degree). This is calculated from the date you received your degree (not your first appointment) and it is calculated as of the full application deadline for this funding opportunity (May 2014). Therefore, the eligible dates are May 1, 2002 - May 31, 2008.

    As for exceptions, these are acceptable:
    Childrearing, illness, health-related family responsibilities, patent approval, and engagement in post-degree non-research related clinical training (residency), environmental factors.

    For the purposes of this competition, we have chosen to focus on a particular window of mid-career that is in line with our strategic objectives, results of our mid-term evaluation and other analyses, and meets the needs of the research community.

  8. Are global health applications eligible?

    Yes, as outlined in the CIHR Grants and Awards Guide Global Health Research Section and the International Collaborations Section, applicants who are eligible for CIHR funding may apply to CIHR’s funding opportunities for funds to support research to be carried out in, or in direct collaboration with researchers and/or knowledge users based in, other countries. CIHR contributes to, and supports international research projects and international collaborations to address a range of research areas, including but not limited to established priorities in global health research and contributes to the development of health-research capacity both internationally and at home.

    Researchers: A Nominated Principal Applicant (trainees excluded) holding a position outside of Canada or living abroad must spend a minimum of six months per year at a Canadian institution (the six months are calculated annually from the start date of funding). Please see the CIHR Grants and Awards Guide for more information.

  9. What if the applicant worked at a research institute versus full time academic institute where tenure doesn't apply?

    Tenure would not be an issue for a research institution position. Eligibility criteria 5 & 7 do not apply in this case. Therefore, as long as all other eligibility criteria are fulfilled, you are eligible for this competition.

  10. Can you clarify the difference between research that will inform interventions versus intervention research?

    All applications must focus on a program of population health intervention research to promote health and health equity. A program of research outlines multiple research projects that are conceptually linked and implemented over several years, based on an analysis of gaps in current knowledge in the field, especially gaps of importance to knowledge users engaged in relevant policies and programs in public health and other sectors.

  11. Does my application need to focus on a research project or research program?

    Your application must focus on a program of population health intervention research, defined above (Q10). Population health interventions can include policy, programmatic and resource distribution approaches. These interventions are often complex and operate within and outside of the health sector (e.g. education, housing, built environment). Population health intervention research involves the use of scientific methods to produce knowledge about policy and program interventions that operate within or outside of the health sector and have the potential to impact health at the population level.

  12. If an applicant is submitting an application for the PEKE funding opportunity, how will the role of the chairs fit into the pathways and PEKE initiative?

    If the applicant is a principal applicant on the PEKEs initiative he/she is not permitted to apply. However, a collaborator of a research project is permitted.

  13. Is the LOI evaluating eligibility only or is there a process of "quality" evaluation?

    The LOI will go through an eligibility screen as well as a peer review process in line with the Peer Review Evaluation Criteria.

  14. What are the deadlines for LOI and application?

    Deadline for LOI: October 30, 2013; Deadline for Applications: May 1, 2014

  15. Is an employee of PHAC eligible to be a decision-maker collaborator? If so, what is the best way for researchers to identify decision-making partners within the Public Health Agency of Canada?

    Yes. Please contact Katherine Cole, Associate, Institute of Population and Public Health, CIHR to coordinate this process.

  16. How does qualitative research fit into the population health paradigm?

    This funding opportunity is open to researchers who use quantitative, qualitative and/or mixed methods to study population health interventions.

  17. Will candidates with a health economics background be considered?

    Population and public health economics is one of research areas listed in the funding opportunity.

  18. Are teaching release expenses an eligible expense for any institution-controlled salary funds that are released as a result of this award?

    Yes, they would be an eligible expense.

  19. What is the connection between the Applied Public Health Chairs’ funding opportunity and the priority in community-based primary health care?

    First, if your area of research is not primary health care, there are other priorities within the funding opportunity that you might align with. Second, we see opportunities to implement population health interventions that are working at the interface between public health and primary care that could be woven together in a program of research and therefore would be eligible for Chair funding opportunity. The definition of primary health care is broad, but focus within the Chair funding opportunity would need to be on population health interventions.

  20. For the Applied Public Health Chair, can an applicant be co-supported by two institutions?

    You cannot receive Salary support funding from two federal institutions.

  21. What type of track record are you looking for in the Applied Public Health Chair application?

    As outlined in the Chair funding opportunity, the applicant should demonstrate that they have already established a track-record of significant achievement that shows their commitment to research and the originality and impact of their research relative to their career stage. The Chair award application should also demonstrate that the applicant is forging a reputation for excellence in and continued contributions to their field.

    • To what extent does the applicant demonstrate a research/knowledge translation track-record in population and public health, in particular research on population health interventions, and not simply clinical approaches emphasizing one-on-one programs and services?
    • To what extent does the applicant have experience working with public health and/or other sectors at international, national, provincial/territorial, regional and/or local levels?
    • To what extent does the applicant demonstrate a commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to PHIR (e.g. collaboration of experts from a broad range of research disciplines and sectors)?

Open Operating Grant Funding Opportunity (OOGP)

  1. Are the scores applied to each of the five criteria? Or just an overall rating? Do you need at least 3.5 in each five criteria?

    The five individual criteria are not rated separately; it’s just one overall rating for the entire proposal.

  2. Are scores and ranking available to all applicants (even if unsuccessful) after the announcement is made?

    Yes. In the OOGP, after peer-review is complete, you are told your final computed rating, rank in the committee, number of applications reviewed and funded in the committee, and your percent rank (rank/number of applications in committee). This gives you a sense of how close you were to the funding cut off.

  3. Since many social scientists typically work as solo investigators (under SSHRC funding), is it recommended that they consider adding a co-investigator or collaborator with medical / clinical type expertise?

    No, committees review “like against like”. It is not a matter of biomedical individuals reviewing social science proposals. Adding a clinical/biomedical investigator is recommended only if this individual’s expertise directly contributes to achieving the objectives of your proposal. It is not a requirement. Adding more people on your team is not necessarily better, it is important to think about who is on your team and their contributions to the research.

  4. What is the process for being a reviewer? What factors are taken into account for recruitment?

    There are a number of different inputs including consultation with chairs/different committee officers. CIHR undertakes the recruitment. There is no formal process at CIHR for self-nominations. If you are interested and have not been contacted by CIHR, contact Greg Huyer directly. Include your CV (we look not only at the expertise of the potential reviewer but also their research productivity – publications, etc). We want people who are productive in the field, and have the necessary expertise. We are working on a re-vamped recruitment system that can include people in a larger database and match them more effectively to peer review committees as needed – hopefully this will come online in the next few years. It is also helpful for CIHR to know other peer review experience you have had (with other organizations).

  5. Do you have any advice for social science type applicants concerning the relative importance of training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP), especially in smaller universities with limited or no graduate students or programs?

    Unlike NSERC and SSHRC, training of HQP is neither a stated objective of the OOGP nor an expectation. It is not required that funding for students are included in the proposal and it is not an evaluation criterion. It depends on what is appropriate to the type of research. What gets you funded is having an important, original, relevant research question. If training of students is relevant – great. If not, do not include it in the proposal.

  6. Can you clarify the maximum amount and duration of an OOG application?

    There's actually no limit to duration and budget, save for the $12.5M large grant envelope: the maximum total budget request over the full term of a grant is capped at $12.5M.

  7. Are large research undertakings — such as global health research — eligible for OOG funding? If so, is bridge funding an option?

    Definition of Bridge Funding: The objective of bridge funding is to offer short-term support to researchers who submit excellent research operating grant applications in areas that are not funded through the regular CIHR competition to which they were submitted. This funding will be awarded to allow these excellent researchers to reapply to future competitions.

    Global health research is an important part of CIHR's mandate. The Nominated Principal Applicant must be based in Canada, but the other co-Principal Applicants and co-Applicants can be from outside of Canada. The research can be conducted entirely outside of Canada, but the funds are provided to an eligible institution in Canada that manages the expenses. All proposals in the OOGP are eligible for bridge funding. Certain types of bridge funding are untargeted, and others are targeted to specific priorities. Applications that receive bridge funding are fundable (3.5 or above) but typically ranked just below the overall funding cut-off and the funding amounts are normally only a portion of the total request (often a max of 1 year, $100K).

  8. If a grant is re-submitted, will it automatically be reviewed by the same committee?

    No, it won’t automatically be reviewed by the same committee, but there is a very good chance it will be. There are times where it may be changed (following discussion with the applicant, and agreement that the previous committee was not the best for the review), but it usually goes back to same committee.

    However, even if it goes to the same committee, it may not be reviewed by the same reviewers because they may have rotated off the committee, are away, or have other applications that are more relevant to them.

Population Health Intervention Research Funding Opportunity

  1. What do you mean by a population health intervention?

    Population health interventions can include program, policy and resource distribution approaches in public health and other sectors (e.g. education, recreation, transportation, employment and housing).

    Population health intervention research involves the use of scientific methods to produce knowledge about policy and program interventions that operate within or outside of the health sector and have the potential to impact health at the population level.

  2. Does my research study have to focus on health equity?

    Research supported through this Funding Opportunity is expected to contribute to our understanding of how contextual conditions may intersect with population health interventions to promote health and health equity.

    Health equity suggests that everyone can reach their full health potential and that they should not be disadvantaged from attaining this potential as a result of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, social class, socioeconomic status or other socially determined circumstance.

  3. What do you mean that the intervention must not be under the direct control of any member of the team?

    This means that any member of the research team is not directly responsible for designing or implementing the intervention.

  4. Can decision-makers be named as co-PIs or co-applicants if they are directly responsible for the intervention under study?

    No. The intervention must not be under the direct control of any member of the team, including co-PIs or co-applicants. They can, however, be listed as collaborators.

  5. What do you mean by a "natural experiment"?

    This means the investigator does not have control over the timing and nature of the intervention or to allocation of those exposed to the intervention. For more information please consult the following reference: Petticrew, M., Cummins, S., Ferrell, C., Findlay, A., Higgins, C., Hoy, C., Kearns, A. & Sparks, L. (2005). Natural experiments: An underutilized tool for public health? Public Health, 199, 751-757.

  6. Can an ongoing intervention or an intervention that has not yet been designed be the subject of the proposed research?

    This Funding Opportunity will support research that examines timely population health interventions. This includes population health interventions that are about to be implemented. Ongoing population health interventions can be studied provided the research aims to understand a change in the delivery of that intervention (e.g. a program is about to be cancelled or major changes to a policy are about to be implemented). While this explicit requirement has been removed from the current funding opportunity, rapidly unfolding time sensitive intervention studies are still eligible.

Relevance Review/Peer Review

Is ranking of proposals affected based on which partner is being linked to at the relevance review stage?

Proposals (specifically letters of intent) are not ranked during relevance review. Relevance review is a process undertaken prior to peer review of the letter of intent in order to determine alignment between the submitted anonymized project title, summary and relevance form and the objectives and eligible research priority areas listed in the "Objectives" section of the Funding Opportunity.

If the anonymized project title, summary and relevance form are deemed to be not relevant the application will be withdrawn from the competition.

If the proposal is ranked relevant at the relevance review stage the associated letter of intent will be sent to peer review for grading. Partners will be considered during peer review.

Research Teams/Partnerships/Collaborations

Is balance between social sciences and medical sciences a requirement in proposals?

It is wonderful to see social scientists working with medical scientists. We are targeting researchers inside and outside of the health sector from a variety of disciplines including the social sciences and humanities. We encourage relevant collaborations based on the proposal, but there are no requirements for the disciplinary background of researchers.

Global Health

There is a strong international focus in the Funding Opportunity, but will local issues also be appealing and successful?

We made explicit reference in the Programmatic Research Funding Opportunity to global health so that global health researchers know they are included; however, decisions to fund Programmatic Research will not be based on whether the proposal is on global health, national, or local health issues.

Programmatic Research

What is programmatic research?

Programmatic research involves:

  • Multiple research projects that are conceptually linked and implemented over several years, based on an analysis of gaps in current knowledge in the field, especially gaps of importance to research users engaged in relevant policies and programs;
  • A series of research projects (addressing the eligible research area(s) of this RFA), inside a clearly conceptually linked programmatic theme;
  • An assessment of related research capacity in the eligible research area(s) to be examined and a clear rationale for the proposed program for strengthening that capacity; and,
  • An interdisciplinary group of researchers and knowledge-users engaged in the program's development and implementation.
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