Innovation Grants

Innovation Grants

NEW!!  The Arthritis Society is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of the 2021-22 Innovation Grants Competition.

Online Research Grants Portal open: April 5, 2021
Abstract Registration submission deadline: May 3, 2021 5:00 PM EST
Full application submission deadline: June 30, 2021, 5:00 PM EST
Notification of decision: mid-December 2021
Funding start date: January 1, 2022

Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application and read through the tips sheet for applicants below.
Tips Sheet for Applicants

Description

The goal of the Innovation program is to support the development and testing of transformative, paradigm-shifting, concepts and approaches to address critical barriers to progress in arthritis research, challenge our understanding of arthritis and its management, and generate novel approaches to confront the challenges we face in defeating arthritis and delivering the best evidence-informed care possible. The program intends to foster novel, high-potential projects and ideas that could be  expanded in the future  through additional funding sources (i.e. successful operating grants, industry partnership programs, cross discipline funding opportunities, etc.).

Successfully funded Innovation projects are based on “high risk” ideas that have a strong potential for “high reward”. The scope of high-risk projects could include proposals that focus on novel or untested tool development, cellular pathways, behavioural or psychosocial methodologies, research to address or ameliorate social or structural inequities, novel methods for delivering evidenced-based treatment or self-care interventions, unconventional devices or techniques/procedures (including measures) and/or have potential for unique translation. As projects are at an early stage of development, a high level of risk is expected and not all projects will yield anticipated results. High reward is defined as the potential to create a significant and real change or impact. Applicants must explain the anticipated change or impact that is likely to result and to whom or what will be affected by the change, and its significance. To support the novelty of the project, a thorough evaluation of the literature should be included. Applicants will be required to describe why the project is novel, as it relates to the latest methods, concepts, information, and techniques.

This program encourages bold attempts to test novel hypotheses and/or generate new knowledge and/or improvements related to prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and support; therefore, while projects must be feasible and doable by the applicant(s), preliminary data is not necessary.

Applications are encouraged from all areas and disciplines of arthritis research, as well as from investigators in other disciplines whose ideas are relevant to the field of arthritis research. Diverse partnerships that advance and accelerate the application of the research are encouraged.   These may include transdisciplinary research approaches and/or partnerships with industry, policy makers, consumers, health care providers and others. Note that the next logical step or incremental advancement on published data is not considered innovative and should not be submitted to this competition. 

This program supports different types of projects including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Pilot or feasibility studies;
  • Secondary analysis of existing data;
  • Small, self-contained research projects;
  • Development of research methodology; and
  • Development of new research technology.

The Innovation grant program provides funding to support research proposals aligned with the Arthritis Society's priority focus areas.  The Arthritis Society’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025: Accelerating Impact - Research Strategy aims to identify research avenues that focus on areas of highest priority to patients and achieve the highest levels of scientific excellence and rigour.  Applications must focus on innovative research efforts in the following priority areas.

  • Arthritis pain research in:
    • Improving our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of pain
    • Translating basic science discoveries into practice
    • Improving techniques to measure pain
    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches
    • Alternative approaches to pain management including research on medical cannabis from basic science, clinical, health services and policy perspectives
    • Improving self-management tools and technology enablers to help manage and communicate about pain
  • Osteoarthritis (OA) research in:
    • Improving our understanding of what cause different forms of OA, including the underlying biological mechanisms and how the disease progresses
    • Understand sex and gender differences in patients with OA
    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches
    • Developing more effective self-management tools
    • Improving health services and systems
    • Reducing health disparities in vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations
  • Inflammatory arthritis (IA) research in:
    • Improving our understanding of what causes different forms of IA, including the underlaying biological mechanisms and how the disease progresses
    • Developing new and more personalized treatment approaches
    • Improving strategies to manage symptoms
    • Developing more effective methods to support patient-physician communications
    • Improving health services and systems
    • Reducing health disparities in vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations
  • Childhood arthritis research in:
    • Improving our understanding of what causes childhood arthritis, how to detect it earlier, and diagnose it most effectively
    • Developing new and more personalized therapies that are safe and effective
    • Innovations to improve transitions in care as children navigate from pediatric to adult healthcare settings and improve unique quality of life issues through other life changes (e.g. education, employment)
  • Work-related research in:
    • Providing a strong evidence base to inform arthritis-related workplace policies and accommodations
    • Ensuring that employees and employers have effective tools and resources to communicate how to manage arthritis in the workplace
    • The prevention of arthritis-related workplace disability and the most effective accommodations

Special Call
Thanks to two generous donors, we are pleased to announce the availability of a pool of funds to support up to two new Innovation Grants led by researchers based in Nova Scotia. Researchers from Nova Scotia are encouraged to apply.

Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative
The Arthritis Society has committed $5M over 5 years to our Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative to fund ground-breaking research, across all competitions, 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 grant in this area.

Consumer Engagement
The Arthritis Society strongly values the voice of consumers in research, both in their inclusion in grant applications and the peer review process.  Applicants should consider this in their submission and are encouraged to integrate input from consumers in the development of research questions and/or design as appropriate. Productive engagement of consumers in the conduct, analysis and/or dissemination of the research should be described, where appropriate.

Sex and Gender
Applicants should account for sex as a biological variable and/or gender as a sociocultural determinant of health in basic science, clinical, health services and population health studies where appropriate.  Applicants will be required to articulate this within their application.  Sex and Gender in Health research resources and training modules can be accessed here.

Applicants are strongly advised to read all program documentation listed below as well as the Arthritis Society's Strategy Plan 2020-2025: Accelerating Impact - Research Strategy. If you have any questions, please contact the research department.

Eligibility

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 full description of eligibility, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the PI and HI in the management of the Arthritis Society’s research and training funds are defined on the Arthritis Society’s website.

Award amount and term

Our research funding is always contingent on the generosity of our donors and given the financial implications of the global pandemic continue to have an impact, we anticipate it will influence our available research funding envelope.  The maximum grant per application is $50,000 annually for up to two (2) years ($100,000 total). These grants are non-renewable. 

Peer Review

The peer review committee(s) will consist of relevant scientific and clinical experts, along with consumers to provide patient perspectives.

Abstract Registration

There is a limit of one Innovation application per Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator in a competition. In addition, a PI can only hold one grant or award across all Arthritis Society or partnered competitions as PI/Co-PI at any time. Applications for subsequent funding can be submitted in the final year of a current grant.

All submissions will be screened for completeness and eligibility. Note that incomplete applications by the deadline will be deemed ineligible and withdrawn from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that applications are complete at the time of submission. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

All applicants are strongly advised to read all program documentation listed below. If you have any questions, please contact the research department at research@arthritis.ca.

Abstract registrations must be submitted through the Arthritis Society’s online research grant portal. The abstract registration will inform the panel composition.  Registration is mandatory and will require applicant and team members details, scientific abstract, keywords, innovation and relevance statements, and suggested reviewers and exclusions.

Any significant changes to the proposed program after the Abstract Registration 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 Abstract Registration are not permitted.

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

  • Scientific Abstract (Max. 500 words)
  • Keywords
  • Project description (Max. 2,000 words), including:
    • A detailed scientific proposal clearly stating the aims of the project including a thorough review of the literature to prove novelty and/or any related work done in the area, experimental design, methods and analysis.
    • Preliminary data may be included but is not a requirement. Investigators must provide a compelling rationale for the hypothesis.
    • 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.
  • References 
  • Innovation statement (Max. 400 words) explicitly describing how the project is transformational and innovative
  • Vision statement (Max. 250 words) explicitly describing how the proposed work could move the field forward and accelerate progress in arthritis research
  • Relevance of the proposal to the Arthritis Society's Research Strategy priority areas (Max. 250 words)
  • Project team description (Max. 400 words)
  • Description of any partnerships with industry, policy makers, consumers, health cre providers and others that advance and accelerate the application of the research (Max. 250 words)
  • Lay summary sections (Max. 100-150 words each)
  • Knowledge translation plan sections (Max. 250 words each)
  • Proposed budget and budget justification (Max. 1500 words)

Required attachments

  • Signature page (signed by the PI, Department Head/Dean and Host Institution(s))
  • PI, co-PI and co-applicant CVs (Canadian Common CV – CIHR Project Bio sketch version)
  • Timelines and Milestones (1 page, PDF upload)
  • Letter(s) of support from collaborators, partners 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

Optional attachments

  • Appendices (Max. 5MB per document)

Review Criteria

The review criteria for applications will include, but not necessarily be restricted to the following assessment categories: Investigator(s) and Environment, Research Strategy, Innovation, and Relevance:

1. Quality of PI, research team and environment

  • 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 and compelling rationale
  • Importance and novelty of the research question, proposed project and objectives
  • Strength of the rationale for the research approach and methodology
  • Identification of potential limitations of the proposed research strategy and how they will be addressed and alternative approaches
  • Knowledge translation plan
  • Consumer engagement plan, as appropriate
  • Sex and gender considerations  
  • Appropriateness of term and support requested

3. Innovation

  • Potential to address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field
  • Potential to improve or apply a novel theoretical concept, approach, methodology or tool
  • Degree to which the research is transformative, original, unique and creative, in the context of the current state of the field
  • Potential gain relative to (any) perceived risk
  • Degree to which the research proposes new paradigms or challenges existing ones

4. Relevance of the proposal to the 2020-2025 Arthritis Society's Research Strategy
It is the applicant’s responsibility to make convincing arguments supporting the relevance of their proposals to the Arthritis Society’s Research Strategy, specifically one or more of the five research priority areas (arthritis pain, OA, IA, childhood and work). More details can be found in the Accelerating Impact: Research Strategy

The role of the consumer is to assess the feasibility, relevance to the strategic priorities and potential impact of the research to address an important problem, to have a significant and broad impact and its contribution to the understanding of arthritis and/or how to treat or improve outcomes for people who live with arthritis. Consumer reviewers will also assess the quality of the lay sections.

Applicants will be notified of the results by mid-December 2021.

Multiple applications/multiple sources of funding

There must be no overlap (0%) with any held or pending applications to any agency as of this competition due date. The Innovation grant must contain 100% unique aims to comply with this policy (conceptual overlap is permitted but must be explained by the applicant). Duplicate applications will not be accepted. Applicants may leverage funds from other sources to expand the scope of the project, if appropriate, and should clearly describe how they support the overarching objectives.

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 reportingpolicies, etc.)

Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative
The Arthritis Society has committed $5M over 5 years to our Stop Childhood Arthritis initiative to fund ground-breaking research, across all competitions, 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 grant in this area.