Getting Funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health
By Maurice A. Feldman, PhD and C. T. Yu,
As stated on their website (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca),
"CIHR is Canada's premier federal agency for health research. Its
objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted
standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new
knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians,
more effective health services and products and a strengthened
health care system."
CIHR consists of 13 "virtual"
institutes, two of which are most relevant to behavior analytic
researchers: (a) Human Development, Child and Youth Health and (b)
Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. Moving beyond the
traditional medical model ("body parts research"), CIHR institutes
strive to fund multidisciplinary research that encompass four
"pillars," (1) biomedical, (2) clinical science, (3) health systems
and services, and (4) social, cultural and other factors that
affect the health of populations. Currently, CIHR funds 3,251
grants, 1,625 awards, 644 Career Awards and approximately 4,000
What is Entailed in Applying for Grants from the
Canadian Institutes for Health Research
Rather than duplicating information,
we refer readers to the link "How to apply for funding",
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/795.html. We would add that CIHR
is revising its peer-review committee structure. Studies dealing
with childhood and adolescent disorders should be submitted for
review to the new committee on Children's Health (CHI). Studies
related to the behavioral problems of the elderly should be
referred to the new committees on Biological and Clinical Aspects
of Aging (BCA), or Social Dimensions in Aging (SDA). Other applied
behavioral research should be referred to the long-standing
"Behavioral Sciences B Committee," whereas basic research should go
to the "Behavioral Sciences A Committee".
Advice for Behavioral Researchers Seeking
Again, we refer to another "must read"
link, "Tips for writing a successful CIHR grant application or
request for renewal," http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/204.html.
In addition, we offer the following advice that may not be covered
in the above link (these suggestions probably are relevant for any
grant application, not just CIHR).
Write in language
understandable to non-behavioral researchers. While CIHR asks you
to provide the names of several possible external reviewers,
reviewers of your proposal will most certainly include researchers
from diverse disciplines. Members of CIHR review committees are
listed on their website.
who appreciate and understand behavior analytic research. CIHR is
quite open to suggestions for foreign reviewers. This is
particularly important for Canadian behavior analytic researchers
because there are so few of us, and we often collaborate, making us
ineligible to review each other's applications (even when we are
not on them).
Your summary is
crucial because when the committee meets to make its final funding
decisions, not everyone on the committee would have read your
entire proposal. Ensure that your summary conveys the originality
and potential contribution of your proposed study to knowledge
translation and improving the health of Canadians.
It is highly
desirable to include pilot data to support proposed studies.
analysis to justify your proposed sample size for group designs or
justify the use of within-subject and/or time series designs.
Include statistical consultation where appropriate (this is a
Include letters of
support from partners and agencies, especially those you will be
approaching for participant recruitment.
Collaborating to Support Behavioral Funding
CIHR strongly supports multi-site,
interdisciplinary collaborative projects. Behavioral scientists can
often contribute to large-scale applications, for instance, by
designing and conducting sub-projects covered within the larger
application. For example, we are Team or Site Leaders of an
international consortium of autism researchers (
www.autismresearch.ca) headed by Jeanette Holden, a geneticist
at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The consortium has
obtained over C$4 million funding from CIHR to run a suite of
studies examining genotyping, phenotyping, early identification and
prevention of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Among other
things, our behavioral expertise is being utilized to design and
conduct the latter two initiatives.
Check the CIHR website regularly for
updates and announcements of new requests for applications, beyond
the regular funding programs. Frequently, requests for applications
are announced for multi-site collaborations in specific areas or by
CIHR provides grants for multidisciplinary research training to
build capacity in traditionally under-represented areas of health
research. For example, we are part a six-year transdisciplinary
training program in ASD that has just been funded by CIHR. We will
offer training in behavior analytic research models and techniques
to students and research trainees from a variety of
CIHR also offers salary awards for
researchers at different levels. There is significant new funding
for post-doctoral fellows and new health researchers. Again, CIHR
is committed to a broad definition of health research and
innovative approaches, particularly for marginalized populations
and under serviced conditions. Thus, CIHR may be more disposed than
in the past to fund behavioral researchers who often conduct
treatment research with persons who have developmental
disabilities, behavior disorders, or acquired brain injury.