Endowed Chair in Population Health Research - Terms of Reference

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A. Description

The overall objective of this initiative is to increase cardiovascular and cerebrovascular (CCVD) population health research activity in Ontario.  The Chair will provide an opportunity for an Ontario University, Hospital or Research Institution to appoint or recruit an outstanding investigator to carry out heart and stroke research in the area of population health.  If the funding is directed at maintaining an existing scientist, it is expected that some of the freed up money will be used to establish a Fellowship to support a young investigator working with the Chair.  The Chair will be funded by a $3 million endowment.  The endowment will be funded on a partnership basis with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario ("the Foundation") contributing two million dollars. The sponsoring institution ("the Institution") must have a firm commitment to their one million dollar contribution towards the endowment in place by the commencement date of this award. The sponsoring institution's portion of the endowment may not derive from the tobacco industry.

B. Eligibility

The Institution will recommend the candidate it wishes to put forward for this award.  A special, one-time peer review committee of the Foundation will carry out the scientific evaluation of the applications and select the successful candidate.
The candidate must hold an MD and/or PhD degree and have a full-time position at the Institution at the time of taking up the Chair or must have an offer of a full-time appointment at the time of accepting the award.  The Foundation will consider applications from candidates at different career stages but the award will be limited to those with 25 or fewer years experience as an independent investigator.  The evaluation will be based upon the candidate's level of experience and proven evidence of scientific excellence.  A candidate who has ceased to be competitive in either Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada or Canadian Institutes of Health Research (or other similar agencies) personnel award competitions will not be considered.
Holders of Canada Research Chairs, or endowed chairs of similar stature and value, may not concurrently hold this Endowed Chair award.
The candidate should hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status or be eligible to receive residential immigration status at the time of accepting the award.

C. Tenure

The initial appointment is expected to be for five years, with the opportunity for the host Institution to request renewal of the appointment at five-year intervals thereafter. The Institution may put the same candidate forward for a further term or it may put another candidate forward of similar calibre.  Scientific excellence in the area of CCVD population health research, and a demonstrated ability to fulfil the duties of the Chair as described herein, as determined by a special, one-time peer review committee of the Foundation, will be the requirements for a continuing appointment or for the consideration of a new candidate put forward by the Institution.
If at any time during the tenure of the award, the incumbent fails to maintain a peer-reviewed HSFO/CIHR (or other funding agency of equivalent stature) operating grant on which he/she will be the principal investigator, or for some other reason it becomes evident that the incumbent fails to meet expectations of the Foundation as outlined in these terms, the Foundation reserves the right to request that another candidate's name be put forward.
If the host institution opts not to renew the initial appointment, the agreement with the host institution will be terminated and the HSFO/… Endowed Chair in Population Health Research will be re-opened as a competition to all Ontario Universities, Hospitals and Research Institutions. The HSFO original $2 million endowment plus any unspent interest would be returned to HSFO by the host Institution in order that HSFO can commit such funds to a chair at an alternate institution.
The Chair will be considered an employee of the host institution and he/she will enjoy all the benefits of a staff member for pension, insurance and other plans.

D. Title

The name "Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario" must be part of the title of the Chair.  The holder of the Chair will be expected to acknowledge that he/she holds the HSFO/… Endowed Chair in Population Health Research in all media relations, publications, lectures, speaking engagements and any other activities supported through this fund.
External and internal signage shall be posted at the host institution recognizing the Foundation's support of the Endowed Chair. Details to be arranged in partnership with HSFO.

E. Time Commitment and Duties

The successful candidate will be expected to devote at least 75% of his/her time to heart and/or stroke research.  Details as to how this 75% allocation of research time will be spent must be provided as well as the commitments in the remaining 25%.  Items to cover with respect to the protected time should include activities the investigator will be relieved of, activities she/he will undertake that relate to building research capacity, and an assessment of the incremental benefit the investigator's activities, enabled by the receipt of this award, should have on CCVD population health research.
Specifically, the Chair will:
  1. Focus on the field of CCVD from a population health perspective, addressing scientific uncertainty and scientific advancement;
  2. Lead activities promoting knowledge transfer and exchange in population health research through initiatives such as provincial (and potentially national) collaboratives/ forums;
  3. Support the Foundation's efforts to establish a virtual network for CCVD population health research in Ontario with HSFO support. Engage in the Population Health Intervention Research Initiative of Canada (PHIRIC) led by CIHR's Institute of Population and Public Health;
  4. Support the Foundation's efforts to establish mentorship/networking vehicles within Ontario (and potentially Canada), as a means of building capacity in CCVD population health research;
  5. Actively support the Foundation as a key spokesperson and advocacy partner on issues related to CCVD population health research trends, concerns, advancements and policy development regarding heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment;
  6. From time to time, and with advance notice, support Foundation fundraising and awareness initiatives by sharing information on the nature and progress of their research. Some examples of how the Chair would be supporting the Foundation would be by delivering presentations at key national, provincial or local Foundation events, providing lab tours, and interacting with major donors/prospective donors.

F. Reporting

The Chair will provide an annual report on his/her research, teaching and mentoring activities to the Foundation. The Institution will provide an annual report on the performance of the Fund to the Foundation. 

G. Applications

Applications will be accepted only from the host institution, and not directly from the candidates themselves.  The institution must provide adequate space and facilities for the research to be carried out.  If the candidate is currently on staff at the host institution, the letter accompanying the application must provide assurance that freed-up money resulting from the award would be used to establish a Fellowship to support a young investigator working with the Chair.  This will be monitored on an annual basis.
Applications, using the Endowed Chair Application Form, shall be submitted in one original and six collated copies.  These should be submitted to: The Research Department, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, 2300 Yonge Street, Suite 1300, P.O. Box 2414, Toronto, Ontario, M4P 1E4. No copies need to be submitted to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in Ottawa.
The application shall include:
  1. A letter from the Dean (or equivalent) of the Institution appraising the candidate and the proposed research, a description of the nature and extent of any work to be carried out by the awardee apart from the research activity, and the amount and source of any income to be paid supplemental to the award.  In the case of a clinical investigator, there should be an indication that the total income, including professional earnings, is subject to a ceiling under the usual institutional full-time arrangements.  In addition, a letter of critical appraisal from the Department Head is required under separate cover.
  2. A summary of the research proposed within the first five-year term of the Chair, not to exceed three pages.
  3. A summary description, up to four pages, of how the applicant will support the Foundation in establishing a virtual CCVD population health research network and mentorship vehicles, and how the applicant will enable knowledge transfer and exchange.
  4. The applicant should provide a ten page overview of all research grants that will be or are expected to be in operation during the term of the award.  A photocopy of the original project description (maximum 10 page summary) of each grant should also be attached.
  5. A detailed progress report, not to exceed five pages. Applicants should give a clear description of all research conducted during the preceding four years, specifying what was done under funding from HSFO (GIA or personnel support) and what was done with funding from other sources.  Publications, noting the principal findings in each, the scientific contribution represented by each, and the specific role of the applicant in the work upon which the publication was based should be included.  If an applicant is part of a group or collaboration, it is important to convince the reviewers of independent contribution.  A letter specifically detailing the independent contribution of the applicant must be provided by the senior investigator in the group. In addition, the proven contribution of the applicant as a mentor must be included in a summary of trainees, students, research fellows mentored.
  6. Common CV (HSFC version).
  7. A letter from the Institution outlining their commitment to securing a $1m portion of the endowment by August 1, 2008. This letter should describe in as much detail as possible the source of the funds and the timing needed to secure these funds.