Sustainability Funding Opportunity
The Sustainability Funding Opportunity provides bridge funding for Alberta health researchers who have submitted renewal applications that, although highly rated, were not funded in the CIHR Open Operating Grants or NSERC Discovery Grant competitions. The objective of these bridge grants is to ensure the maintenance of excellent research programs without loss of momentum, staff, or trainees until the Principal Investigators have the opportunity to resubmit their research proposals.
Health researchers whose operating grant renewal applications to a Tri-Council agency fall close to the agency’s funding competition cut-off, but are not funded often intend to re-apply at the earliest possible opportunity. Submission of successful reapplications often occurs within a year of the time of their original application, but this can leave a gap of funding. Funding interruption as a result of an unsuccessful operating grant renewal application to a Tri-Council agency can have a significant and long-lasting negative impact on the progress of research.
To address this funding gap, and to help sustain ongoing high quality research activity that maintains and improves Alberta-based researchers’ competitiveness, AIHS is providing bridge funding support through a Sustainability Fund block grant to the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Lethbridge.
To watch Pam Valentine, PhD, Vice President, Research & Innovation describe the Sustainability Fund, see her video presentation here.
The goals of this Sustainability Funding Opportunity are to increase the competitiveness of Alberta’s health researchers in obtaining federal health research funding and help maintain the critical capacity of the wide spectrum of highly skilled people within the academic and clinical health research environment.
The Sustainability Funding Program will not supplement existing grants or cover shortfalls in approved grant support.
The total annual funding available for this opportunity starting in 2011-12 is $1.20 million. This is a pilot program with an initial three years of funding. AIHS has provided the Sustainability Funding Program in the form of a block grant to each of three Alberta-based universities, and they, in turn, will distribute bridge funding to eligible individual health researchers within their institutions.
Total value: The maximum amount that can be provided to an individual grant from the AIHS Sustainability Funding Program is $50,000.
Term: Up to one year (12 months). The Sustainability Funding Program support allocated for an individual grant will not be renewable.
Sustainability Funds are only available to health researchers who meet all of the following criteria:
- The recipient is a full-time university-based independent investigator;
- The health researcher applied to a Tri-Council agency for a peer-reviewed, individual research grant renewal in the CIHR Open Operating Grant or NSERC Discovery Grant competitions within the prior year (deadline not earlier than March 2011 for the 2011-2012 allocation) and was deemed excellent but was not funded.
Note: Since 2009, SSHRC’s policy precludes agency support of social science or humanities research that is primarily intended to improve and/or increase knowledge of health, health care, and healthcare systems in Canada or internationally. Therefore, this grant may extend to investigators who held a health-related SSHRC grant and were unsuccessful in an application to CIHR which linked directly to the original SSHRC-supported research.
- The unsuccessful grant application to the Tri-Council agency’s competition was ranked in the excellent range in the competition at CIHR Open Operating Grant (rating of 4.0 or higher) or NSERC Discovery Grant (in the top 25% percentile ranking). The applicant must have at least one more opportunity for reapplication of grant renewal with the external agency.
- The initial renewal application to the Tri-Council agency’s operating grant competition was internally peer-reviewed according to processes defined at the institution prior to submission to the Tri-Council agency.
- Recipients must provide specific plans for a future application to the Vice President Research of their university.
Application and Selection Process
Each institution will work through the Office of the Vice President Research for the review of applications and selection of health researchers to be offered support under the Sustainability Funding Opportunity according to the defined eligibility criteria. Applications will be evaluated by the university receiving a Sustainability Funding allocation, not by AIHS.
This is a three year pilot program beginning September 1, 2011 that will be evaluated prior to December 31, 2013.
Pamela Valentine, Ph.D.
Vice-President, Research & Innovation
1-877-423-5727 ext. 230