Request for Applications – Training Graduate PhD Salary Award (TGP)

Request for Applications – Training Graduate PhD Salary Award (TGP)

The Arthritis Society is pleased to announce the 2020-21 Training Graduate PhD Salary Award (TGP) Competition.

Online Research Grants Portal: Late February 2020
Full Application deadline: April 30, 2020, 5:00 PM EST
Notification of decision: Mid-August 2020
Funding start date: September 1, 2020

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

Description

Salary awards are offered to graduate students who are undertaking full-time research training in an area of clear relevance to arthritis and the Arthritis Society’s new Strategic Plan 2020-2025: Accelerating Impact - Research Strategy which 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.

  • 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 enables 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 workplace policies and accommodations
    • Ensuring that employees and employers have effective tools and resources to communicate how to manage chronic conditions in the workplace
    • The prevention of workplace disability and the most effective accommodations

Applications are to be completed and submitted by the candidate under the close supervision of the proposed supervisor. The supervisor must be an arthritis researcher who qualifies as a Principal Investigator as defined by the Arthritis Society.   The training program must include actual involvement in conducting research. Students enrolled in programs oriented toward clinical training with no research thesis are NOT eligible for this award.

Successful applicants will also be invited to participate in the Arthritis Society’s Trainee Workshop or attend the Canadian Arthritis Research Conference. The intent is to augment the young investigators’ training by providing a forum to share their research, gain knowledge on select topics such as consumer engagement in research, and provide networking and mentorship opportunities.

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 are encouraged to consider this in their submission.

Eligibility

To be considered eligible for this award, applicants must:

  • Be engaged in full-time training in research in a Canadian graduate school program leading to a PhD;
  • Be within the first three years of a PhD training program at the time of the application deadline; and
  • Be working on a research project with clear relevance relevance to the research priority areas in the Arthritis Society’s 2020-25 Research Strategy.

The roles and responsibilities of the Trainee 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

Our research funding is always contingent on the generosity of our donors, and while the financial implications of the current pandemic have yet to be fully appreciated, we anticipate it will influence our available research funding envelope.

Pending available funds, the Arthritis Society will fund up to seven (7) awards. The maximum award per application is $21,000 annually for up to three years (3) ($63,000 total). These awards are non-renewable. 

Please note the matching funds required for this program:

  • The program provides 50% of the salary award to successful applicants. The other 50% of the award funding must come from one or more partners (government, industry, NFP or academic institution) or be allocated from an existing research agency grant.
  • Successful candidates will receive up to $10,500 annually from the Arthritis Society for this award.

Peer Review

One or more multidisciplinary peer review committee(s) will be assembled to review the applications. The peer review committee(s) will consist of scientific and clinical experts with broad expertise, along with consumers to provide patient perspectives.

Application

A maximum of one application per trainee will be permitted in the competition. 

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.

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

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

  • Scientific abstract (Max. 500 words)
  • Project description (Max. 2,500 words) 
  • References 
  • Relevance of the proposal to the Arthritis Society’s Research priority areas (Max. 250 words)
  • Lay summary sections (Max. 100-150 words per section)
  • Knowledge translation (KTE) plan sections (Max. 250 words per section)


Required attachments

  • Signature page (signed by the candidate, supervisor(s), department head and Host Institution)
  • Candidate and supervisor(s) Canadian Common CV (CIHR Project Biosketch)
  • Timeline and milestones (1 pg diagram/chart)
  • Official transcripts (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Two letters of support, including one from from the candidate’s primary supervisor including confirmation that the trainee will devote at least 75% of their time to conducting the proposed research, providing an assessment of the candidate’s critical thinking, independence, perseverance, originality, organizational skills, interest in discovery, etc., value of the award to the candidate, the research environment and details of the source of matching funding.  
  • Letter of support from the persons and/or organizations who will be providing matched funding, if appropriate.


Optional attachments

  • Appendices (Max. 5MB per document)

Review Criteria

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

  1. Quality of the candidate and research environment
    • Strength of the CVs, transcripts, letters of support, etc.
    • Strength of the research and training environment
    • Strength and appropriateness of the supervision
    • Potential impact of the award to the candidate
  2. Quality of the research project
    • Scientific merit of the arthritis research 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. For example, the development of new therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, intellectual property, information to consumers and/or health policy makers, decrease the burden of illness, improve quality of life, etc.
    • Feasibility of the proposed research project within the time frame.  For example, are the timelines appropriate, technology and laboratory environment available etc.
  3. Relevance of the proposal to the Arthritis Society's 2020-2025 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 (pain, OA, IA, childhood and work).  More details can be found in Accelerating Impact: Research Strategy.

The role of the consumer is to assess the feasibility and potential impact of the proposed research to address an important problem and the potential of the candidate. The consumer will also assess the quality of the lay sections.

Important notes about this award

Awardees are permitted to hold additional training salary awards, however if the awardee receives an additional salary award(s) valued beyond the required matched value of the award, the amount of the Arthritis Society’s training award may be reduced accordingly. 

Awardees are expected to spend at least 75% of their time in research training (i.e. the student may spend no more than 10 hours/week in paid employment that is not directly related to their research training).

If, at any time during tenure of the award, the supervisor feels that the progress of the awardee is not satisfactory or 75% of the trainee's time cannot be devoted to conducting research, the Arthritis Society must be notified in writing immediately. The award may be terminated at any time for good and sufficient reason by the awardee, the Host Institution or the Arthritis Society. It is the responsibility of the supervisor and the Institution to notify the Arthritis Society immediately of the change of status of the awardee.
 

Awardee and Host Institution requirements

In addition to the requirements set out in the Host Institution agreement, awardees 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. We also encourage awardees 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, policies, 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 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.