Vascular Health and Dementia - Request for Applications 2003

The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Alzheimer Society of Canada, together with the CIHR Institute of Aging, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, and the fund/Rx&D Research Program, supported by Pfizer Canada Inc. are pleased to announce a Request for Applications in the area of:

Vascular Health and Dementia - A research operating grant initiative in vascular health, vascular dementia, Alzheimer disease and related dementias


  • July 15 2003 - Letter of Intent due
  • October 17 2003 - Full proposal due
  • January 4 2004 - Announcement of decisions
  • January 4 2004 - Anticipated start date
  • Duration of funding - 3 years
  • Funding - Up to $120,000/year, including equipment
As the Canadian population ages, the incidence of cognitive decline and dementia is expected to increase markedly in the next 30 years, reaching epidemic proportions. However, the etiology, pathophysiology and sequelae of dementia remain not well understood, indicating the need for further research. While there are clear links between vascular health, stroke, and dementia, there is growing evidence that vascular risk factors may also predict the onset, severity and progression of Alzheimer disease. There are many unanswered questions, ranging from definition, diagnosis and basic mechanistic aspects, through to prevention and treatment strategies, caregiving and societal and economic impacts. Over this broad range of topic areas, the major focus of this Initiative is to explore the interrelationships between vascular health, vascular dementia and Alzheimer disease.  


The objective of this strategic initiative is to promote research in the area of vascular aspects of dementia. Eligible projects include but are not limited to:
  • definition, detection, screening, and diagnosis
  • disease profile
  • patterns of cognitive decline
  • mechanisms underlying disease causation and progression
  • epidemiology, risk factor identification and management
  • prevention strategies
  • treatment, disease management and care giving
  • pharmacodynamics of drug therapies
  • sequelae of disease and comorbidities
  • health economic impacts
Collaborating Organizations and Institutes
The Vascular Health and Dementia Initiative is an example of an innovative collaboration among the voluntary health sector, the private sector and government (CIHR). The following organizations have made this strategic funding opportunity possible:
The Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) is one of Canada's largest health charities and funds the majority of heart disease and stroke related research in Canada. The mission of HSF is to improve the health of Canadians by preventing and reducing disability and death from heart disease and stroke through research, health promotion and advocacy. Funds for this initiative are available through the Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Fund - a strategic fund comprising contributions from all 10 provincial Heart and Stroke Foundations and the HSFC.
The Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC), at national, provincial and local levels, forms a nationwide network of services to help Canadians affected by Alzheimer Disease. The Society provides Research Grants and Training Awards to support Canadian investigators conducting biomedical research into causes and a cure for Alzheimer Disease, and research into social and psychological aspects of Alzheimer Disease, including caregiving, family support and long-term care.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada's premier federal funding 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 Canadian health care system.
  • Institute of Aging - The CIHR Institute of Aging supports research that promotes healthy aging and addresses causes, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation for a wide range of conditions associated with aging.
  • Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction - The CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction supports research to enhance mental health, neurological health, vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning and to reduce the burden of related disorders through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation.
The fund/Rx&D Research Program is a partnership between Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and CIHR, established to provide an opportunity for health researchers to work in collaboration with Rx&D companies. Research undertaken must be beneficial to all parties with a view to improving the quality of health of Canadians.
Pfizer Canada Inc. is a leading Canadian pharmaceutical company which has research interest covering cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, diseases of the central nervous system, metabolic disorders, cancer and inflammatory disease.  


The initiative is designed to provide research operating funds with similar criteria and requirements as the regular or open competitions of the funding organizations, namely the Grant-in Aid program of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Research Grants competition of the Alzheimer Society, and the Operating Grant competitions from CIHR. The initiative will provide operating funds in support of research projects by individuals or small groups of investigators. Funding is provided to a maximum of $120,000 per year, including equipment, for up to 3 years.  

Funds Available

The maximum funding for a single grant is $120,000 per year for up to 3 years. Up to four operating grants will be offered in the first year of this initiative.  

Allowable Costs

Funds are provided for the direct costs of research. This excludes indirect costs of research (e.g., library, heat and light, office furniture, overhead, administrative charges and fees). The application must include a detailed justification of all costs. The following are permitted to be included in funding requests:
  • salaries for technicians and other research personnel
  • salaries of research trainees - graduate and postdoctoral
  • equipment purchase (up to 50% of the first year's budget and requested in year 1 only) and maintenance contracts
  • operating costs for the research project
  • costs of data collection and maintenance of information holdings
  • travel costs up to $2500 per year
Full disclosure of other funding currently held or applied for, and any agreements that pertain to the application must be made. Such disclosure must include information on overlap with the current application.  

Funding Conditions

Upon notification of decisions by HSFC, grant offers must be accepted in writing. Funding of successful applications may begin from as early as January, 2004.
The business office of the Principal Applicant's host institution will administer the grant funds. Transfer of a grant to another institution to which the grantee has relocated will be at the discretion of the funding Parties.
Should a grantee be unable to continue the research project for which support was received, HSFC should be notified immediately and provisions be made for the return of unexpended funds.
During the period of grant support through this initiative, any changes in funding status that pertain to overlap are to be reported to HSFC.
A progress report and financial statement are required at the end of the first year. Failure to provide this information will result in a delay in the release of funds for the second year.  


The Principal Applicant must be based in, or be formally affiliated with (but not necessarily receive salary support from) a Canadian university or affiliated institution. For additional information please refer to Eligibility for Research Funding Programs on the CIHR website.  (DEAD LINK)

Review Process

Letters of Intent must be submitted prior to full application as these will be used to screen for relevance to the objectives of the Vascular Health and Dementia Initiative and to determine expertise requirements for the peer review committee. Delegates from HSFC, ASC and CIHR will take part in the relevancy review. The peer review committee will be created specifically for this Initiative. Committee members are selected based on suggestions from the funding organization and other sources. Names of committee members will be available upon request. The peer review process, which will be conducted in accordance with HSFC, ASC and CIHR standards and guidelines. Funding decisions will be based on the evaluation in accordance with the general criteria for assessing applications listed below:
  • How important and/or original are the hypotheses or the questions to be addressed, and how clearly are they formulated?
  • How important and original are the contributions expected from the research proposed? What is the potential for important new observations or knowledge?
  • How well will the proposed experiments address the hypotheses or questions? How appropriate are the methods to be applied and the proposed analyses of data? How well will the applicant implement new methods that are to be introduced and/or explored? How well have the applicants anticipated difficulties in their approach and considered alternatives?
  • How critically is the relevant literature appraised and evaluated?
  • How appropriate to the research proposed is the training or track record of the applicant(s)? How important and original is the recent productivity of the applicant(s)? Can the applicant do the work proposed? (The proposed time commitment to the research may influence this judgment.)
Based on the total funds available for the Initiative, applications will be funded from the top-ranked down as far as budget will allow. The funding organizations seek to invest in high quality projects ranking among those judged to be very good to excellent through peer review. Applications receiving a score less than 3.5 will not be considered for funding.
Copies of reviewers' reports on the applications are provided to the applicants at the end of the competition. The funding organizations are not bound to disclose specific reasons for the rejection of applications. HSFC makes every effort to ensure the confidentiality of each application.  

Policy Requirements

The host institution must take full responsibility for the conduct of the research being funded, in accordance with all HSFC, ASC and CIHR policies. These include maintaining integrity in research and scholarship, full ethical review and surveillance, compliance with accepted biohazard and animal care regulations, and full financial accounting and control.
Research may be conducted at the host institution or any other location as deemed appropriate. The latter may include the facilities of for-profit organizations. However, for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for a grant through this Initiative.
Copies of all necessary ethical and safety certificates must be received before funds will be released. In the case of animal experimentation laboratory procedures must be consistent with the Guiding Principles enunciated by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Where biological and chemical hazards are involved, documentation must be provided demonstrating that the procedures meet the requirements as outlined in the CIHR 'Guidelines for the Handling of Recombinant DNA Molecules and Animal Viruses and Cells'.  

Intellectual Property

The funding organizations do not and will not claim any proprietary right to any intellectual or tangible property resulting from the research grants made under this Initiative. However, HSF, ASC and CIHR must be informed of any commercialization outcomes derived from the research supported by these funds. Accordingly, the grantee's host institution (university or hospital) will be expected to have a clear policy regarding the grantee's right to publish and intellectual property, in order to provide adequate protection and management of intellectual property of potential commercial interest. The onus is on the grantee holder to seek patent protection in collaboration with the host institution for inventions or developments arising from research supported under this Initiative.
The grantee and his or her host institution should make every reasonable effort to maximize beneficial impact to Canada from the exploitation of the knowledge and intellectual property resulting from the research supported under this Initiative.  

Performance Measurement and Evaluation

It is intended that performance of this Initiative will be assessed through ongoing monitoring and periodic evaluation. All funded applicants will be expected to participate in the evaluation strategy, contributing advice, data and reports as required for assessment purposes.  


Recipients of grants under the Vascular Health and Dementia Initiative are required to acknowledge all funding organizations in any communication or publication relating to this grant. A reprint of each accepted publication and conference presentation must be forwarded to HSFC for distribution to all funding organizations. The grantees will be required to provide, in lay terms, a brief overview of their research to be used in announcing the Grants.  

How to Apply

There are two stages to the application process.
  1. Letter of Intent (LOI)
    The applicant must submit one original and six copies of a Letter of Intent, which will be reviewed for responsiveness. Letters of Intent must be received by the HSFC no later than 4:00 p.m. on July 15, 2003.

    The Letter of Intent is comprised of:  (DEAD LINK)

    1. A completed LOI form indicating the names of the investigators, keywords, title of project and institutional information.
    2. A two-page letter describing the proposed project and how it relates specifically to the objectives of the Vascular Health and Dementia Initiative.
    3. Attachments (a) an abbreviated CV (maximum 2 pages) for the applicant and any co-applicants which must include information on grants held, relevant publications from the last five years and expertise key words; and, (b) a short biblography of any references cited in the Letter of Intent
  2. Full application
  • Full applications (original, plus 10 copies) must be received at the HSFC office by 4:00 pm on October 17, 2003
  • The application form is available at: and (DEAD LINK AND GENERAL ONE) and must comply with the requirement to include an appropriate structured lay summary of the proposed work.
  • Personal information should be completed using the Canadian Common CV, details of which can be found at:
Applications should be sent to:
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
222 Queen Street, Suite 1402
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V9
Phone: 613-569-4361
For more information please contact:
Jennifer Gee
Manager, Research
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Phone: (613) 569-4361, Ext. 350

Nalini Rattan

Acting Research Director
Alzheimer Society of Canada
Phone: 416-488-8772

Linda Mealing, PhD

Deputy Director
Innovation and Industry
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Phone: 613-957-8762