Health Care Professionals

Ministry Research Funding Opportunities

Health System Research Fund (HSRF) Program Awards

The 2017/18 HSRF Program Awards competition is now closed. This page is for informational purposes only.

Detailed Full Application Instructions

  1. Before You Begin
  2. Steps and Instructions Required for Completing Your Online HSRF Program Awards Application

1. Before You Begin

Note: If you have previously submitted a Notice of Intent to the HSRF Program Awards, Capacity Awards, Targeted Calls and/or MOHLTC partnership funding for CIHR's PHSI competition, your login information remains unchanged.

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A. Grant Application Overview

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B. Eligibility

Applications to MOHLTC for the HSRF Program Awards must meet the following criteria:

Program Leads employed by federal, provincial or territorial government departments or agencies and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for HSRF funding unless they hold an eligible academic or other institutional appointment, in which case the eligible institution must agree to be the sponsor.

Please consult the HSRF Guidelines for details regarding eligible sponsoring institutions.

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C. Assessment of Full Applications

Applications will be assessed for:

These criteria will be used by the Scientific Review Panel members in their assessment of each submission. In many cases, information from multiple sections will be used to assess a submission in relation to a criterion. How each section of the Full Application will be used by reviewers in relation to the criteria listed above is provided in detail under each section below.

For references on patient engagement, applicants can consult various resources including:

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2. Steps and Instructions Required for Completing Your Online HSRF Program Awards Application

A. Step 1: Enter Full Application Summary Details

1. Full Application Summary Page
2. Identification of Main, Sub-Priorities, and Cross-Cutting Components
3. Contact Details

B. Step 2: Enter Project Details

4a. Lay Abstract
4b. Proposal Summary
5. Rationale
6a. Program Design and Methodology
6b. Milestones and Deliverables and Expected Outcomes
7. Alignment with Leveraged Funding Opportunities from Other Sources
8. Sex and Gender-Based Analysis
9. KTE and Implementation Plan
10. Partners and Capacity-Building
11. Governance Model
12. Relevant Experience and Research Performance of Program Lead and Co-Lead, Where Applicable
13a. Data Access Plan, Where Applicable
13b. Data Sharing Plan, Where Applicable

C. Step 3: Enter Budget Information

14. Overall Budget Justification
15. Budget Template

D. Step 4: Upload Attachments

E. Step 5: Review and Submit

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A. STEP 1: ENTER FULL APPLICATION SUMMARY DETAILS

1. Full Application Summary Page (3,500 characters including spaces/approximately one page)

The Full Application Summary page is one way the MOHLTC identifies and manages your application during the review process. Provide the information requested to complete these sections.

2. Identification of Main Priority, Sub-Priorities, and Cross-Cutting Components (3,500 characters including spaces/approximately one page)

Select the main priority, sub-priority/priorities, and cross-cutting component(s) that the research/KTE program will address. The main priority must be the same main priority selected in the NOI submission. Sub-priorities and cross-cutting priorities may change.

Definitions for the priority areas and cross-cutting components can be found in the HSRF Guidelines.

3. Contact Details (10,500 characters including spaces/approximately three pages)

Provide contact details for the Program Lead, Co-Lead (if applicable), authorized signatory from the sponsoring institution, the Knowledge Translation and Exchange contact, and the confirmed Knowledge User. The following information is required for each contact:

The Program Lead cannot change from the NOI submission. A Co-Lead can be added (either from the same organization as the Program Lead or from a different organization). Please include contact details for the Knowledge User you identified at the NOI stage here. You will have an opportunity to identify other confirmed Knowledge Users under Section 10 - Partners and Capacity Building of the Full Application.

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B. STEP 2: ENTER PROGRAM DETAILS

4a. Lay Abstract (maximum 200 words)

Provide a brief description of the proposed research and/or KTE program using non-technical language. The information provided in section 4a may be made available to the public and may be used, in whole or in part, in press releases or similar communication material if the award is approved.

The lay abstract should provide information regarding:

For examples of lay abstracts, refer to the summaries of the ministry's current HSRF Program Awards recipients.

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4b. Proposal Summary (maximum 1200 words)

State the goals and objectives of the proposed research and/or KTE program. Statements detailing short and long-term objectives should be clear and concise (i.e., one short sentence for each objective).

For all programs, 2-3 examples of the types of program/policy questions that could be answered through the proposed program should be provided.

For research programs only, the research question(s) that will be addressed must be clearly identified. If a program will address multiple research questions, 2-3 sample research questions should be included along with 1-2 lines of text on the methods that will be used to address each research question.

The information provided in section 4b will be used to assess:

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5. Rationale (maximum 1600 words)

This section should provide the overall rationale for the program. Specifically, the applicants should specify and substantiate the gaps in current knowledge, research methodology, knowledge translation strategies, policy or practice that create the need for the proposed program.

For KTE programs: A strong justification that the knowledge is sufficiently robust to transfer, and the gap between evidence and practice is wide, must be made.

Up to 2 pages of references for in-text citations may be added as an attachment.

The information provided in section 5 will be used to assess:

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6a. Program Design and Methodology (maximum 4000 words)

This section should outline how the program objectives outlined in section 4b will be achieved by describing the program design and methods.

Applicants are encouraged to incorporate inter-disciplinary approaches and involve Knowledge Users throughout the program. In particular, applicants are encouraged to describe how patients (individuals, groups and/or organizations) will be involved in this work (e.g. patient-specified outcome measures, member of the review committee), if applicable. Applicants are also encouraged to include considerations of populations with specific health needs in their research design (e.g. identifying language and language preferences in the research design).

For all programs that will include/focus on Indigenous peoples, applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure the program is OCAP (Tri-Council Policy Statement and Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) compliant prior to the submission of the Full Application. In cases where administrative data will be used, the intended data source, and detail on the data access plan, should be included in Section 12. ICES data-sets, for example, are subject to special governance procedures to release specific data related to Indigenous peoples.

For research programs: The research question(s) addressed must be clearly stated. For each question, provide a detailed description of the research design and methodology, including relevant details such as data collection tools and methods, sampling frames and sample sizes (with justification for sample sizes), outcome measures, and statistical analyses (including any qualitative analyses).

Any studies proposing an intervention must sufficiently describe the mechanism of action (i.e. the process in which X [the intervention] has an effect on Y). For multifaceted interventions, the individual components must be clearly delineated and justified using appropriate evidence (either in totality or for each individual component).

In cases where administrative data will be used, this section should state the intended data source, and detail on the data access plan should be included in Section 12.

For research programs, this information will be used to assess the scientific rigour, innovation, and originality of the program design and methodology.

For KTE programs: KTE programs are expected to include a systematic and rigorous approach for identifying, selecting and/or developing knowledge content and products for translation and exchange. Provide a detailed description of the approaches/processes that will be used. For KTE programs, this information will be used to assess the methodological rigour, innovation, and originality for identifying/ developing knowledge that is disseminated, transferred and exchanged.

Information provided in this section will also be used to assess the extent to which patients will be meaningfully and actively engaged in the research/KTE program.

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6b. Milestones, Deliverables, and Expected Outcomes

For the top 5 objectives of the research/KTE program, describe 2-5 major milestones and deliverables per year for each of the objectives identified. These should be examples of tangible accomplishments, demonstrating progress towards the stated objectives of the program. Provide an estimated date of completion for each milestone/deliverable identified.

Milestones and deliverables for research programs may include: specific research activities; expected dates of completion for obtaining Research Ethics Board (REB) approval; recruitment of team members; data collection; anticipated dates for interim findings, major meetings/forums with partners and Knowledge Users; a targeted number of peer-review publications and interim and final reports. Research programs should also include at least one KTE milestone or deliverable for each year.

Milestones and deliverables for KTE programs may include: the development of targeted community and/or provider engagement strategies, establishment or work with communities of practice, websites, podcasts, conferences, seminars, webinars and newsletters.

In cases where publication in a peer-reviewed journal is a milestone, please note that the findings of ministry funded research must be publicly accessible at no cost, e.g., in an open access journal, in a report posted on the internet or in a free full text author's manuscript.

This section should also identify up to 5 of the main expected outcomes resulting from the program. For each outcome identified, applicants should provide a proposed plan on how each outcome will be documented and evaluated.

The identification of outcomes of the program differs from milestones and deliverables, which emphasizes the processes and outputs of the program. Outcomes focus on the expected impacts of the program and how the applicant(s) proposes to evaluate each impact. Information on what made the impact (e.g. type of product/process), who will be impacted (e.g. targeted group), how the targeted group will be impacted (e.g. the benefit) and the level of the impact (e.g. regional, provincial) should be provided.

Examples of potential outcomes include: KTE activities/products that will result in enhanced patient/consumer awareness and knowledge, and/or influenced behaviour related to health care services access and usage; products or processes that provided solutions to address a key knowledge gap in the health care system or has the potential of being adopted by health system provider organizations; and research and/or KTE activities that influence a program or policy process (e.g. cited as a the basis for new regulation or legislation).

The information provided in section 6b will be used to assess:

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7. Alignment with Leveraged Funding Opportunities from Other Sources (maximum 400 words)

This section should specify sources of leveraged funding opportunities that applicants have already secured and/or plan to apply for, if successful, by selecting the appropriate sources provided in the online Full Application form. In the space provided, applicants should also provide details on how these funds will be used to promote the sustainability of the HSRF Program Award by maximizing its impact and benefits while capitalizing on other existing resources (e.g. use leveraged funding to fill budget gaps needed to scale-up projects in the program, to access resources not readily available from the HSRF, etc.).

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is a key source of leveraged funding for Ontario researchers. It is recommended that applicants consult CIHR's website for information regarding its research priorities, competitions, initiatives, etc. For instance, the ministry currently provides partner funding for CIHR's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) through the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT UNIT (OSSU).

A strong assessment of this section (or the Full Application in general) is not solely contingent on the applicant's ability to leverage funding but also the strength of the applicant's proposed strategy to obtain and utilize leveraged funding should the program be in a position to bring in leveraged funding.

This information will be used in the assessment of the anticipated productivity or yield from the budget requested, e.g., the return on investment provided by leveraged funding plan.

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8. Sex and Gender-Based Analysis (maximum 400 words)

In this section, answer the following questions, as appropriate:

To effectively complete this section, it is recommended that applicants consult Women's Xchange for resources on Sex and Gender Based Analysis. Applicants may also wish to consult the POWER study, CIHR's Gender, Sex and Health resource and the ministry's Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tool.

The information provided in this section will be used to assess the extent to which sex and gender have been considered in the proposed research/KTE program (i.e., rationale, methods, and KTE plan).

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9. KTE and Implementation Plan (maximum 2000 words)

In this section, describe the integrated and end-of-grant KTE strategies, tools, methods, etc. the program will use to disseminate, transfer and exchange knowledge. Applicants should identify target Knowledge User groups and any tailored strategies to engage with these groups. Applicants must also demonstrate the use of evidence-based approaches, where feasible, when designing their KTE plans.

Where applicable, this section should also assess and describe the feasibility of implementing any intervention or policy that may result from the knowledge generated and/or mobilized from the proposed program, as well as its scalability and sustainability (at the regional level or higher). KTE activities funded by the ministry must make a measurable impact on the Ontario health system and further the objectives of the research or KTE program.

For research programs, the information provided in this section will be used to evaluate the strength of the KTE plan in mobilizing information innovatively and effectively; the potential to influence change in practice/policy; active inclusion of relevant partners, collaborators, Knowledge Users, and/or patients (individuals, groups, organizations); and the scalability and sustainability of any intervention or policy resulting from the knowledge generated/mobilized from the proposed program. All research programs are also required to use 25% of funding for Applied Health Research Questions (AHRQs). This section should describe how the AHRQ process and other KTE activities will ensure that research findings have their maximum possible impact.

For KTE programs, the information in this section will be used to evaluate the strength of the KTE strategies/activities and their comprehensiveness in addressing the program's topic; innovation and effectiveness in mobilizing information; their potential to influence change in practice or policy, the active inclusion of relevant partners, collaborators, Knowledge Users and/or patients (individuals, groups, organizations); and the scalability and sustainability of any intervention or policy resulting from the knowledge generated/mobilized from the proposed program.

The information provided in section 9 will also be used to assess:

Applicants are advised to review the MOHLTC Applied Health Research Questions (AHRQ) Guidelines to learn more about the role of Knowledge Users.

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10. Partners and Capacity Building

Provide the information requested to complete this section.

For information on collaborating researchers: List the names and institutional affiliations of up to 5 collaborating researchers and a brief description of the roles, responsibilities, and contributions of each partner in the network/centre/team. The team can consist of more than 5 researchers; however, the Full Application only requires information on up to 5 of these members.

For information on Knowledge Users: List the names and institutional affiliations of 1 to 3 Knowledge Users, and a brief explanation of the ways in which the person and his/her organization will benefit from and/or be involved in the research/KTE program. For more information about the role of Knowledge Users, see the MOHLTC Applied Health Research Question Guidelines.

For information on capacity building: List up to 5 of the most relevant specific target groups that will be engaged in this work (e.g. students, junior researchers, and other professionals), information on the group's involvement, and the capacity building outcome(s) (e.g. the skills that they will develop). In order to build research and KTE capacity in Ontario, the training and mentoring of new investigators, health professional scientists and KTE specialists is a goal of the HSRF.

For all programs that focus on Indigenous populations, it is strongly recommended that Indigenous communities and/or representative organizations are consulted and/or are key partners in the development of the application and program design.

The information provided in section 10 will be used to assess:  

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11. Governance Model (maximum 400 words)

Briefly outline the accountability mechanisms and infrastructure the research team will use to ensure that the research and/or KTE program is completed within the appropriate timelines and the anticipated budget, meeting key deliverables, and compliant with requirements outlined in the ministry's Transfer Payment Accountability Agreement (a contract). This can include details on key decision-making and planning teams within the program, the processes for managing research studies, monitoring progress, optimizing and maintaining collaborations and partnerships, etc.

The information provided in section 11 will be used to assess:

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12. Relevant Experience and Research/KTE Performance of Program Lead and Co-Lead (Where Applicable)

Provide the information requested to complete this section.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care research awards in the past 5 years: Provide information on all competitive and non-competitive research/KTE awards that the Program Lead and Co-Lead have applied for and/or received from the ministry in the past 5 years. Provide information on the name of the award, name of the program/project, status, and impact(s). If work in the proposed program has been funded previously, the applicants should specify the status of the proposed program (e.g., aspects of the program are new, continuation of previous work).

Most relevant competitive research awards in the past 5 years (non-ministry): Provide information for up to 5 research/KTE awards received by the Program Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable (i.e. 5 total, and not 5 awards for each applicant) that are most relevant to the proposed program. Information on the source of the award, total amount awarded, duration and purpose of the award should also be provided.

Relevant research/KTE activities in the past 5 years: Provide information for up to 5 relevant research/KTE activities the Program Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable (i.e. 5 total, and not 5 for each applicant) that are most relevant to the proposed program. Information including the title of the program/project/activity, budget, duration, objective(s), scope, and key outcomes, etc. should be provided.

Relevant publications in the past 5 years: Provide the complete citation for up to 5 (i.e. 5 total, and not 5 publications for each applicant) of the most relevant publications to the proposed program in which the Program Lead and/or Co-Lead, where applicable, was a co-author. For example: Smith, J., Jones, K., & Wood, L. (2010). Improving the health system. Health Journal, 22, 221-243.

The information provided in section 12 will be used to assess:

Note: Applicants will also be required to submit a Generic Canadian Common CV (CCV) for the Program Lead and Co-Lead (where applicable).

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13a. Data Access Plan - Where Applicable (maximum 400 words)

This section is to be used for research programs where there is a plan to access Personal Health Information (PHI) held by the MOHLTC or the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. The purpose of this section is to assess whether the data access plan is feasible. Please note that acceptance of this section by the MOHLTC does not constitute approval to release data.

Provide information detailing how the research team proposes to manage the regulatory and legal requirements associated with accessing PHI.

List all needed databases/datasets from the MOHLTC or ICES, and also identify other data sources (primary and or secondary), and the intended unit of analysis (e.g. individual record level, institution level, geographic area). Confirm Research Ethics Board (REB) approval has been obtained or describe the steps that will be taken to secure REB approval.

Applicants should note that accessing PHI through the MOHLTC or ICES will require an application process separate from the HSRF Program Awards competition and therefore, it is recommended that these considerations should be taken into account during planning. Applicants may be required to provide specific information to access data held by the MOHLTC or ICES (where applicable). For example, applicants may be asked to provide a rationale for specific data requested; submit details on how ministry or ICES data will be linked to other data sources, and/or describe the steps proposed for managing consent to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Applicants should leave the page blank in the online application template for Section 12 if no data access plan is presented.

The information in this section will contribute to the assessment of the scientific rigour of the program design and methodology, as well as the feasibility including appropriateness of the budget and timelines, and any other considerations than may affect the ability for the program to meet key objectives/deliverables/outcomes.

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13b. Data Sharing Plan - Where Applicable (maximum 400 words)

To leverage and maximize the impact, productivity, and return on investment of data collected under HSRF funding, the ministry is encouraging the broader sharing of data by funded researchers. Data includes primary data, samples, physical collections and other materials created or gathered in the course of work under the HSRF grant. Data sharing plans must also comply with any and all applicable legislation.

Applicants are requested to respond to the following questions:

a. What particular data would you share?
b. With whom would this data be shared (e.g. any interested party without a formal agreement regarding the use of the data, only with interested parties willing to enter into a data-sharing agreement, etc.)?
c. Under what terms would this data be shared (e.g. specified timelines)?
d. If you would not be interested in sharing any/all of the data collected under HSRF funding, please explain why (e.g. limited resources, type of data is not amenable to be stored/shared, etc.).

Section 13b will be used strictly for informational and planning purposes by the ministry regarding its data sharing plans. The information in Section 13b will not be shared with, or assessed by, the Program Area Review Committee or the Scientific Review Panel in their respective evaluations.

C. STEP 3: ENTER BUDGET INFORMATION

14. Overall Budget Justification (maximum 400 words)

This section should provide an explanation of the appropriateness of the budget (i.e. why is the requested budget realistic and feasible for the conduct of the proposed program?).

This section should also provide an account for any requests that may exceed pre-determined budget constraints, or any other issues that the applicants may want to address that the budget template does not permit (e.g. justifying the need for X to achieve Y).

The information in this section will be used in the evaluation of the appropriateness of the budget and the anticipated productivity or yield from the budget requested, e.g., the return on investment provided by the program. Reviewers may provide recommendations to increase/decrease the proposed budgets based on the information from this section.

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15. Budget

It is recommended that applicants use the Budget Template provided by the ministry to submit the information required. Applicants should refer to the Instructions for the HSRF Program Awards Budget section of the HSRF website for detailed instructions, constraints, and technical guidance to complete the budget. This information will also be available on the online grant application system.

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STEP 4: UPLOAD ATTACHMENTS

Please attach mandatory and allowable attachments only. MOHLTC will remove all non-allowable attachments before sharing the application with reviewers.

Mandatory Attachments

Allowable Attachments

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STEP 5: REVIEW AND SUBMIT

Once every section of the online application form is completed, carefully review all components of the application. If any mandatory sections are incomplete, you will be prompted to provide the missing information before you can successfully submit your application.

You will be able to save your application and return to it at any time, prior to the application deadline. You will also be able to preview the full application before you submit.

Complete the checklist that is part of the online Full Application. Any section of the Full Application that is completed incorrectly or is incomplete can result in delayed funding. The ministry has the right to request any changes to the Full Application submission, including the budget(s), prior to awarding the grant, regardless of the External Review Panel's decisions.

When you are ready to submit your application, click 'Send'. You will receive a confirmation email from the ministry when your application is received.

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For More Information
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Strategic Policy and Planning Division
Research, Analysis and Evaluation Branch
9th Floor Hepburn Block, 80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto ON M7A 1R3
Tel.: 416-327-7759
Fax : 416-327-3200
E-mail : ResearchUnit@ontario.ca