HSF of Ontario - Program Grants for 2009/2010 - TOR

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Timeline for Program Grants
Deadline for submission of Full Program Grant Application: 
If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the Heart and Stroke Foundation must receive the application by 4:00pm the previous Friday.
January 16, 2009
Site-visits: May 2009
Notification of funding decision: June 2009
Full applications for Program Grants are to be received in their complete form by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario no later than January 16, 2009, to become tenable July 1, 2009. If this deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the HSFO must receive the applications by 4:00 p.m. the previous Friday.  Late applications will not be accepted.

A. General 

  1. HSFO Program Grants are designed to provide support for teams of three or more investigators engaging in collaborative multidisciplinary research in the fields of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease in Ontario institutions. This research must be consistent with the goals of the HSFO. An HSFO Program Grant proposal must consist of at least three HSFO-funded projects, each scientifically meritorious in its own right, and which together form an integrated research program. Other "non" HSFO projects may be included; however, a clear indication of the role of "non" HSFO-funded projects and how they relate to the research program must be included.
  2. The Program Grant must have a clearly defined unifying central theme to which each component grant-in-aid (GIA) relates, and to which each investigator contributes. Each component GIA must be scientifically meritorious and led by a different principal investigator. The sum of the component GIAs and of the Program Grant core resources must form an integrated research program. Existing operating grants included in the application must be at least 18 months from expiration at the onset of a Program Grant. 
  3. Each individual researcher must contribute sufficient time to the Group to ensure the achievement of its research objectives. A clear description of the role of each investigator, how their membership in the group contributes directly to the overall goals of the application, and the amount (%) of time each member will provide to the Program Grant must be included. The members of the team may conduct research in other areas in addition to their commitment to the Group. Members may be located in one or several departments, faculties or institutions in Ontario. 
  4. The Director of the Group must be a scientist with proven excellence in cardio/cerebrovascular research and with proven leadership capabilities required to fulfill the role as Director. The Director will be the Principal Investigator of the group. The Director of a Program Grant must hold a HSFO GIA and that GIA must be included as part of the Program Grant application. 
  5. Component GIA turnover may occur during the term of the Program Grant as long as the integrity of the Program Grant objectives and team dynamics remain intact. If the number of individuals participating in the Program falls below 3 or there is a loss of a critical group, the program may be terminated. A period of one year will be granted for the remaining individuals in the Program to find a replacement participant to maintain a minimum level of 3 participants. Prior approval must be obtained from the HSFO for any proposed change in the Program participants. 
  6. If the Director of the Program leaves the Program, the Program may be terminated. A period of one year will be granted in order that the Program participants may find a suitable replacement Director. Prior approval must be obtained from the HSFO for any proposed change in the Directorship of the Program. 

B. Commitment of the Institutions 

  1. Each institution in which a member of an HSFO Program Grant holds an appointment is responsible for providing adequate space, facilities, furniture and general services. Institutions are required to provide the principal investigators with an appropriate appointment and salary commensurate with such a position (see HSFO operating grant regulations.) Salaries can be obtained through HSFC/HSFO personnel programs.
  2. Institutions will be asked to provide assurance that an adequate amount of time for research is protected for the Director and the Program Grant members. 
  3. The Financial Officer of the institution where the Director of the Program Grant is located is responsible for administering the Program Grant budget, in addition to the Director's individual component GIA. 
  4. Each individual GIA will be administered by the institution where the principal investigator of the GIA holds an academic appointment. Each institution continues to be responsible for the provision of adequate space, facilities, furniture and general services for the component GIA.

C. Funding 

  1. An HSFO Program Grant may be awarded for five years and is renewable, conditional on the approval of the HSFO Board of Directors and subject to the availability of funds. Please note that the maximum term of funding on successful Program Grants will be a total of 10 years i.e. initial 5 year award and one 5-year renewal.
  2. Core support may be requested for the support of items which are of direct benefit to the Program Grant and are expenses of shared facilities used by most of the investigators in the Group. The maximum amount of funds available for core support is $250,000 per annum. Such expenses include salaries for technicians; equipment and maintenance contracts; materials and supplies; extra travel funds required for investigators of the group; and other shared expenses. Requests may be made for salaries of a limited number of research assistants and research trainees with justification as to how their participation will enhance the productivity of the Program. All personnel support requested must be accompanied by a copy of the individual's curriculum vitae. 
  3. Salary support for investigators cannot be funded by the Program Grant and may only be applied for through the HSFO/HSFC personnel support programs. 

D. Application 

  1. The Director of the Program Grant is responsible for completion of the full application, as well as for communicating all Foundation decisions to the Program Grant team members.
  2. For renewal Program Grant applications, if the renewal submission is substantially different from the current grant (membership or direction), the procedures for a new Program Grant proposal should be followed.
  3. The deadline for receipt of the new and renewal Program Grant full applications (core component) is January 16, 2009. One original collated copy of the Program Grant Full Application Form and six collated copies must be forwarded to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.Original copies of materials that do not photocopy well must be included in each copy. Late applications will not be considered. The courier/mailing address is as follows: 

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
    Research Department
    2300 Yonge Street, Suite 1300
    Toronto, Ontario M4P 1E4

  4. It is essential that an overall communication plan, which describes how the Program Grant team will interact, be delineated in the proposal.
  5. Investigators conducting projects currently supported by HSFO operating grants who wish to apply for continuation of their projects through an HSFO Program grant, or investigators who do not currently hold operating grants may apply for a Program Grant. 
  6. Details and full justification of all items requested under the budget must be provided. Equipment items included in the budget must indicate the availability and status of similar equipment; the reasons for choice of specific type, model or service contract, in relation to alternatives; and where applicable, the necessity of upgrading existing equipment or service contract. There should be no duplication between equipment requests for the component GIAs and equipment requests for the Program Grant. 
  7. Program Grants will be reviewed in two stages. Each individual project will be evaluated by the appropriate HSFC National peer review committee on its own merits as an operating grant. The Program Grant application will then be assessed, by HSFO in the context of a program and evaluating the added value of bringing projects under the umbrella of the HSFO Program. The Program Grant application may also be reviewed by a site visit team, as appropriate. 
  8. If the Program Grant is successful, the individually approved operating grants will be incorporated into the Group. If the Group does not succeed, each individual operating grant application will be treated according to its success in the operating grants competition. 

E. Evaluation Criteria 

The criteria used for the evaluation of Program Grants is as follows: 
  1. Scientific merit
    The application will be evaluated on the following:
    1. quality of the research program
    2. productivity of the researchers
    3. relevance and impact of anticipated results on the area of research
    4. current or potential collaborations locally, nationally and internationally
  2. Synergy
    Please elaborate on how bringing the individual projects together under the umbrella of an HSFO Program Grant will enhance the quality and productivity of the research as an integrated program. Define the individual roles of each investigator, time commitment and priorities of the various projects.
  3. Core facilities
    What is the role of the core facilities in supporting the objectives of the Group? 
  4. Organization and communication
    Will the organizational aspects of the Group structure allow the proposed collaborative research to occur? Indicate the plans for meetings, other interactions, and exchange of data, material and techniques among the Group members. Highlight the geographical distribution of the Group members. 
  5. Training
    Indicate the appropriateness of the Group as a training environment. 
  6. Institutional and other sources of support
    Please provide details on the institutional commitment to the Group and the impact of the Group on the institutions involved in terms of research priorities of the institution, financial support, time protection, and laboratory space and equipment. Specify other sources of financial support for the request, which could include: cost-sharing arrangements with the sponsoring institution(s), industry, or other agencies; estimates of institutional expenditures involved in upgrading or constructing laboratory facilities; estimates of indirect institutional support such as provision of services and computing resources; user fees. Letters from appropriate authorities at the supporting organizations must be attached to the application. 

F. Progress Reports 

  1. Continuing funding of the Program Grant is contingent upon submission of a satisfactory progress report to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario by December 15th of each year of the award, and upon annual approval of funding by the HSFO Board of Directors. The progress reports should consist of a brief description of research activities carried out to-date, funding status of the component GIAs, and a list of publications arising from the work completed. Funding beyond year 3 is contingent upon submission of a detailed progress report that presents a description of the Program accomplishments during the first 3 years of the award and the proposed studies to be completed in years 4 and 5.
  2. A progress report is not required in the final year of a new or renewal Program Grant award.

G. Program Grant Renewals 

  1. Please note that the maximum term of funding on successful program grants will be a total of 10 years i.e. initial 5 year award and one 5-year renewal, subject to the conditions outlined in Section C (1).

H. Termination of Grants

  1. At the time of the award, and for the duration of the term of the award, there should be a minimum of three HSFO-funded component GIAs. If at any time, there are less than three actively funded Ontario based HSFO-funded GIAs, the Program/Group Grant will be terminated. A period of one year will be granted for the remaining individuals in the program to find a replacement participant to maintain a minimum level of 3 participants. Prior approval must be obtained from the HSFO for any proposed change in the Program participants.
  2. An HSFO Program may be terminated by either the Director and members of the Program or by the HSFO through its Research Committee. If the Director elects to terminate the Program, support will end at the effective date of the end of the award. If the HSFO elects to terminate the Program, a terminal grant will be provided, subject to availability of funds. 
  3. If a Director or member relinquishes a position within a Program during the period of support, the HSFO will review the situation, and may decide to continue the Program with appropriate modifications, or to terminate the Program. A period of one year will be granted in order that the Program participants may find a suitable replacement Director. Prior approval must be obtained from the HSFO for any proposed change in the Directorship of the Program.