|Call for Proposals
Published June 13, 2003
To address today’s and tomorrow’s health challenges, Canada needs to focus on excellence and innovation. Support is needed for research that will lead to groundbreaking discoveries and knowledge that can be translated into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products, and a better health care system.
Research hospitals and universities are meeting these transformative challenges by forming new multidisciplinary and problem-oriented structures and partnerships. To tackle research that is increasingly multidisciplinary and sophisticated and to translate research results in a timely fashion and compete at the forefront in this area, Canada’s research community requires, among other things, access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure.
As part of the 2003 Accord on Health Care Renewal with the provinces, the federal government has allocated $500 million to the CFI. The purpose of this allocation is to help address the need for further investment in research hospital infrastructure, especially for new and different research space. This will make it possible to take full advantage of state-of-the-art equipment, innovative ways of doing research and the hospitals’ increased research capacity as a result of hiring additional highly qualified personnel.
The Research Hospital Fund (RHF) is designed to contribute to research hospital-based projects that support innovative research and training. Of particular interest are those large-scale infrastructure projects that take a more integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health research – biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research.
These projects will have significant research infrastructure needs, especially research-related space requirements beyond what is normally supported under the Innovation Fund (IF). They will be able to demonstrate that new and different facilities are essential to support a new research vision that could not be pursued otherwise. These enhanced facilities will house equipment and bring researchers and highly qualified personnel together in new and innovative ways, including integrated same-site facilities.
Projects for which a notification of intent to apply was submitted in December 2002 and a complete application submitted on May 30, 2003 are eligible to submit a RHF project outline by August 15, 2003.
Only infrastructure projects approved for funding under the fourth Innovation Fund competition may be invited to submit a full application.
An eligible hospital may submit an RHF application itself or apply through another institution, e.g. a university. In the event that the applicant is a university, both the university president and the hospital president must sign the application. By signing the application, the hospital president is attesting that the project serves directly the research and research training missions of the hospital and its affiliated research institutes.
The CFI will approve a hospital as an eligible recipient if it is a public hospital (as defined by provincial legislation) which has a demonstrable capacity (e.g. an institute) to support and conduct research and research training. Specifically, it must demonstrate that it:
- has a research and research training mission;
- has its own researchers or has developed an arrangement with a university for the appointment of researchers and provides them with the time to conduct research. These researchers are fully qualified to carry out independent research and have a track record in research;
- has no institutional constraints on the publication of research results;
- has the resources, including on-going operating funds, basic facilities and services to enable its principal researchers to carry out research;
- has administrative structures, policies (e.g. ethical review) and resources to administer research funding or has made arrangements with a university for this administration; and
- has directly received and administered peer-reviewed research funding or has made arrangements with a university to administer these funds.
Hospitals with less than $500,000 of total sponsored research funding per year must determine their eligibility with the CFI.
Hospitals which are not currently eligible recipients must seek eligibility before August 15, 2003.
The CFI will provide funding for up to 40% of the eligible costs of a project. The costs eligible under the RHF are those that will help build on and enhance hospital infrastructure projects successful under the fourth Innovation Fund competition, especially those large scale projects that take a more integrated approach to the full spectrum of health research – biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research.
Costs eligible for enhancement through the RHF are defined as:
- Costs that are normally eligible under CFI policies: costs for the expansion in scale or scope of a successful project under the fourth Innovation Fund competition through the acquisition of additional equipment (for example, purchasing more equipment to enhance and accelerate research results) and the acquisition of space including dry labs and examination rooms.
- Costs that are not normally eligible under the CFI policies: building space beyond that which is essential to house equipment and use research infrastructure e.g. office space for researchers, seminar rooms, and space for integrated facilities. This includes new and different research space to take full advantage of state-of-the-art equipment, new ways of conducting research and hospitals’ increased research capacity as a result of hiring highly qualified research personnel.
- Communication infrastructure and space used for research collaboration, the dissemination of research results and research training, beyond that which is essential for the conduct of research activities.
Non-eligible costs for the RHF are defined as:
- Non-eligible space or non-eligible infrastructure that was included in the IF application and should not have been.
- Portions of an IF project not funded because they did not meet the criteria.
In either case, these costs cannot be resubmitted under the RHF 2004.
Enhancement of the university component of an IF project that involves both a university and a research hospital component will usually not be considered eligible. In exceptional circumstances, infrastructure can be located outside an eligible hospital. In these cases, the president of an eligible hospital must attest to and demonstrate that the proposed approach best meets the needs of the hospital and is more effective and cost efficient than locating the research infrastructure in the hospital.
Note the following important conditions:
- In-kind contributions from external partners and cash expenditures by the institution must have taken place after January 1, 2002.
- Institutions that would like to be considered for an enhancement that builds on one or more Innovation Fund project(s) submitted on May 30 are required to submit a project outline by August 15, 2003.
- From amongst those IF awards which also have an associated RHF outline submission, the Board will decide in February 2004 which institutions should be invited to develop their outlines into full applications for RHF funding. The closing date for the full applications will be May 3, 2004.
- Each RHF submission may normally request up to the amount approved under the IF for the research hospital component of the project.
The project outline should be no more than 8 pages and should demonstrate how the project meets the purpose of the RHF by:
- describing the research and training envisaged, addressing in particular how a more integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health research will be taken
- explaining how additional investments will build on and enhance the IF project
- describing the infrastructure and showing how it is essential to the research vision and providing an overview of the main items to be acquired and their estimated costs
- listing the researchers, institutions and partnerships involved beyond those in the IF project, if applicable (No CVs are required).
- addressing the socio-economic benefits of the research to Canada
- providing timelines for the commissioning of the infrastructure
There is no electronic application form. Submissions should be prepared on paper only, maximum of 8 pages (8.5” x 11” paper). Diagrams and pictures may be included within this page limit.
A cover letter is required which must be signed by the Hospital President. If the infrastructure is to be located outside the eligible research hospital, justification must be provided, and the President of the institution where the infrastructure will be located must co-sign the cover letter.
The criteria for reviewing Project Outlines take into account the criteria that will be used to assess complete Applications to the RHF (see below). The criteria will be used by the Expert Committee which evaluates the associated IF proposal, and also by the Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee. The Project Outlines will be assessed on the extent to which they show the most promise of a complete application meeting the following:
- The proposed research is innovative, transformative, and takes a more integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health research - including biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research.
- The infrastructure needs are significant, especially in the area of research related space.The infrastructure is efficient, effective and essential for the proposed research vision
- The project builds upon the associated IF project to enhance hospital, regional and national capacity for internationally-competitive health research
- The project addresses the goals of the RHF by enhancing and building upon a project submitted under the fourth Innovation Fund competition to create new, multidisciplinary and problem-oriented facilities, structures and partnerships. These will take full advantage of state-of-the-art equipment, innovative ways of doing research and their increased capacity as a result of hiring highly qualified personnel.
- The project has the potential to lead to significant economic and social benefits to Canada.
The deadline is May 3, 2004. Complete applications must be submitted on a CFI electronic form to be developed over the coming months. Institutions invited to submit an application will also be advised of any specific conditions or requirements arising from the review of the project outline e.g. exclusion of components, or combining of projects into one application.
In reviewing the complete applications to the RHF, the CFI will apply the following three criteria:
1. Quality of research and need for the infrastructure
- Quality, innovation and transformative potential of the research
- Enabling more integrated, multi-disciplinary approaches to health research - including biomedical, clinical, health services and population health research, through enhancement of a successful Innovation Fund project.
- Research contributions of the principal user(s) or their potential to capitalize on innovative research opportunities
- Effectiveness and efficiency of the infrastructure for the proposed research, and for the development of enhanced, integrated research facilities
- Effective management, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure on an ongoing basis
2. Contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation
- Enhance research hospital capacity to undertake integrated, multidisciplinary and problem-oriented health research in its strategic research priority areas through innovative structures and partnerships
- Build regional or national capacity for innovation and for international competitiveness in health research
- Attract and retain the best researchers or those with the highest potential
- Create a stimulating and enriched environment for training highly qualified personnel
- Strengthen collaborations among researchers and partnerships among institutions or sectors
3. Potential benefits of the research to Canada
- Translate research results into improvements to the health and quality of life of Canadians, including creation of policies and practices, more effective health services and products and a better health care system
- Contribute to job creation and economic growth in Canada
The CFI will review all IF projects in accordance with the process described for the Innovation Fund. For projects recommended for funding under the IF, the Multidisciplinary Assessment Committees (MACs) will also make recommendations on whether or not to invite an enhancement request on the basis of the information provided in the project outline submitted on August 15, 2003 and expert advice.
The Board will then make final decision in February 2004 on both the IF project and on the invitation to proceed to a full application under the RHF.
The CFI will use expert committees and a MAC to review RHF applications. The Board will make the final decisions on RHF projects in the Summer or Fall of 2004.
The CFI expects to commit the whole Fund of $500M by April 2008. In the current Innovation Fund competition, the CFI will invest up to $100 million of the RHF, leaving an adequate amount for enhancements in future Innovation Fund competitions.
The next Innovation Fund competition is likely to be launched later in 2004. The longer term preferred approach would be to have an application and review process for the IF and the RHF components to allow for the fully integrated design of truly excellent and transformative projects. The experience gained from this round will be valuable in designing future competitions that would allow for a more integrated approach at the outset.