Request for Applications – Strategic Operating Grants


Request for Applications – Strategic Operating Grants

The Arthritis Society is pleased to announce the 2018-19 Strategic Operating Grants (SOG) Competition.

Online Research Grants Portal open: Apr 9, 2018
Letters of Intent (LOI) submission deadline: May 14, 2018, 5:00 PM EST
Notification of LOI results: Early July 2018
Online Research Grants Portal open: Early July 2018
Full Application submission deadline: Aug 27, 2018, 5:00 PM EST
Notification of decision: By Dec 15, 2018
Funding start date: Jan 1, 2019


Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application.

The Strategic Operating Grant (SOG) program provides funding to support research proposals aligned with the Arthritis Society's priorities. Consistent with the Arthritis Society’s 2015-2020 Research Strategy, Requests for Applications (RFAs) for SOGs will be made available by theme (typically one theme a year).   The Arthritis Society will be accepting applications relevant to:

Strategic Theme II: Improving the care and management of arthritis
Research under this theme will seek to uncover new knowledge that will inform better ways to optimize the health of people with arthritis through improved treatment, management and self-care strategies.
Research programs relevant to Strategic Theme II will include intervention research, observational studies and systematic reviews with a main objective of:

  • Primary prevention of arthritis (including: individual characteristics, risk behaviours and influences, public policy and educational interventions/programs; environment; nutrition; and, vaccines);
  • Treatment and disease management in clinical, community or population settings (including: pharmaceuticals; biologics; gene/cell/tissue therapies; medical devices; surgery; physical agents – including radiotherapy, ultrasound, laser and phototherapy; physical, behavioural, and complementary therapies);
  • Researching the individual's care (psychosocial impacts and economic consequences of disease, quality of life, management of pain and other symptoms, education), self-management (attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of health care providers; decision making; guidelines; education; and, work) of arthritis and its outcomes;
  • Psychological, physical (PT/OT, exercise), lifestyle, coping (adaptations, accommodations) and complementary treatments, programs and interventions;
  • Investigating influences and implementation issues related to screening;
  • Evaluating the organization, governance and delivery of arthritis health care services, the impact of (local, regional and national) health policy and the economics of health care as well as studies into health care research design, measurement and methodologies.

Special Call
Applications are encouraged in the area of childhood arthritis. The Arthritis Society has committed $5M over 5 years to our Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative to fund ground-breaking research into childhood arthritis so that no child has to live with unnecessary pain.  We are very proud to partner with Genome Canada and other organizations to accelerate this important research.  We anticipate funding at least one award in this area, with a particular emphasis on:

  • disease mechanisms of childhood arthritis
  • new therapies and personalized approaches for childhood arthritis
  • innovations in transitions of care from pediatric to adult settings

The Arthritis Society strongly values the voice of consumers in research, both in their inclusion in grant applications and the peer review process.  Applicants are encouraged to consider this in their submission.
Applicants are strongly advised to read all program documentation listed below as well as the Research Strategy. If you have any questions, please contact the research department at [email protected].


To be considered eligible for this award:

  • Applications must be submitted by an eligible Principal Investigator (PI) at an eligible Canadian Host institution as defined by the Arthritis Society

The roles and responsibilities of the Principal Investigator and Host Institution in the management of the Arthritis Society’s research and training funds are defined on the Arthritis Society’s website.

Award amount and term

Pending available funds, the Arthritis Society will fund up to five (5) grants. The maximum grant per application is $120,000 annually for up to three (3) years ($360,000 total). These grants are non-renewable.

Peer Review

There will be a multi-stage application and review process. Applicants will be required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) and after peer review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full application. A multidisciplinary peer review committee will be assembled to review the LOIs and full applications. The peer review committee will consist of Arthritis Society Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) members, other scientific and clinical experts as well as arthritis consumers (patients).

Letter of Intent applications

The Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted through the Arthritis Society’s online research grants portal and include the following:

  • Application Cover Page (signed by Principal Investigator (PI) and Host Institution)
  • Project Team Description (PI , Co-PIs, Co-applicants, Collaborators, Consumers and Trainees),
  • PI and Co-PI CVs (Canadian Common CV – CIHR Project Biosketch version)
  • Scientific abstract
  • Project proposal (3 pages)
    • Scientific summary including specific research question to be addressed
    • Relevance of the proposal to this year’s research theme
  • Lay summary
  • Names of suggested reviewers and exclusions

Only the strongest applications will be invited to submit full applications.  All applicants will be notified of the results of the LOI review in early July 2018.

Full Application

A maximum of one application per Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator will be permitted in each competition. 

Applications must be submitted through the Arthritis Society’s  online research grants portal and  include the following components:

  • Cover page (signed by the PI and Host Institution)
  • Description and role of all team members (PI, Co-PIs, Co-applicants, Collaborators, Consumers and Trainees, as applicable)
  • Canadian Common CV - CIHR Project Biosketch of the PI and all Co-PIs
  • Project description (maximum 5 pages, single-spaced text)
    • A detailed scientific proposal clearly stating the aims of the project including any previous work done in the area, experimental design, methods and analysis. Details of the investigator(s) including which member(s) of the research team will be responsible for which aspect of the project and a rationale for their inclusion in the project are required, as well as a description of the research environment where the work will take place. 
    • Relevance of the proposal to the Arthritis Society’s 2015-2020 Research Strategy and research theme II: improving the care and management of arthritis  
    • List of references
    • Timelines and Milestones
    • Knowledge Translation plan
  • Appendices: tables/charts/graphs and associated legends, supporting publications
  • Lay Summary
  • Letter(s) of support from collaborators and consumers, as needed
  • If the success of the research proposed depends on a critical agent/material from a third party, a letter of collaboration must be included
  • Budget justification

Any significant changes to the proposed program, environment or mentors after the Letter of Intent deadline should be communicated to the Arthritis Society as soon as they are known. Substantive changes that significantly alter the overall goals and aims of the proposed program relative to the Letter of Intent are not permitted.

Review Process

All submissions will be screened for completeness and eligibility.  Applications that are incomplete or do not contain all the required information will be deemed ineligible and withdrawn from the competition process.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that full applications are complete at the time of submission. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

The review criteria for applications will include, but not necessarily be restricted to the following:

1.   Quality of PI and the research team

  • Qualifications of the applicant(s), including training, experience and independence (i.e. relative to career stage)
  • Experience of the applicant(s) in the proposed area of research and with the proposed methodology
  • Expertise of the applicant(s), as demonstrated by scientific productivity over the past five years (e.g. publications, books, grants held, etc.). Productivity should be considered in the context of the norms for the research area, applicant experience and total research funding of the applicant.
  • Evidence that the personnel, facilities and infrastructure required to conduct the research are available

2.    Quality of project

  • Scientific merit of the project and its potential to create new knowledge, significantly advance our understanding of arthritis, and/or improve care or support for people affected by arthritis
  • Importance and novelty of the research question, proposed project and objectives
  • Strength of the rationale for the research approach and methodology
  • Knowledge translation plan
  • Appropriateness of term and support requested

3.    Relevance of the proposal to arthritis and to the following Research Strategic Theme
It is the applicant’s responsibility to make convincing arguments supporting the relevance of their proposals to the Arthritis Society’s Strategic Theme II: Improving the care and management of arthritis.

Applicants will be notified of the results by mid-December 2018.

Multiple applications/multiple sources of funding

The onus is on the applicant to indicate the extent (or absence) of overlap.  Funding overlaps with other agencies may result in a reduction in funding from the Arthritis Society.

Grantee and Host Institution requirements

In addition to the requirements set out in the Host Institution agreement, grantees and Host Institutions who receive Arthritis Society funds are expected to act as ambassadors of our mission and may be called upon to communicate about their research with donors and other stakeholders. Funded researchers are expected to support the Arthritis Society’s efforts to engage the arthritis research community, support the development and dissemination of Arthritis Society tools and resources, and provide expertise to engage people affected by arthritis when called upon (for example, through expert community presentations).  We also encourage grantees and Host Institutions to reach out to us to discuss opportunities for engagement.

Applicants are reminded to access the Arthritis Society website for details on the administration and reporting requirements (scientific and financial reporting, funder acknowledgement, policies, etc.)