PHAC Evidence Review Synthesis Centres

F.A.Q.
Objective and Background
Eligibility
Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
Funding and Duration
Application Dates and Funding Decisions
Allowable Costs

Overview of Application Requirements

Title of Proposal
Key Words
Institution Administering Funds
Canadian Common CV/Resumes
Team Member Information
Team Member Categories

Budget Table

Application Template Sections

Team Composition
Centre Management
Relevant Experience
Work Plan Monitoring and Evaluation

Budget Justification

Signature and Submission
Contact Information
Timeline
 

[NOTE: This text has been revised as of 2015-08-10, and will be applicable to all applications received under this competition]

PHAC ERSC F.A.Q.

The F.A.Q.'s below provide additional clarity to the competition guidelines or other pertinent information. Please review before completing an application to this competition. As well, please check back regularly for updated F.A.Q.’s.

Please note: Any questions submitted after August 14, 2015 may not be included in the final F.A.Q. which will be posted August 19, 2015. NSHRF will make every effort to respond to emails received between August 17-21 but this may not be possible depending on the volume received. For technical or GMS questions please use the contact us form in the GMS. The NSHRF Helpdesk will respond to these queries as usual.

F.A.Q. #1 (2015-07-29)
F.A.Q. #2 (2015-08-10)
F.A.Q. #3 (2015-08-19)

Objectives and Background

The objective of this competition is to identify two Evidence Review Synthesis Centres (ERSC) to produce systematic reviews in order to support the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Task Force) guidelines and recommendations. The ERSCs will provide synthesized evidence to the Task Force experts and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The Task Force is supported by the PHAC though the Prevention Guidelines Division in the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention.  The selected ERSCs will undertake evidence reviews and provide scientific support for the development of the Task Force’s clinical practice guidelines. In addition, the Task Force works with other health professional groups and organizations to support the development of prevention tools to aid implementation of their guideline recommendations.

It is the purpose of this call to identify up to two ERSCs which will be provided with an annual operating grant. The selected ERSCs will be funded for an initial period of 2 years. At the discretion of PHAC and the Task Force, a renewal may be offered ranging from 1-3 years.

The selected ERSCs will be required to submit an annual proposal to undertake work for the Task Force based on the Task Force’s annual priorities. Proposals will be assessed based on the ERSC’s expertise and ability to complete the review in a timely and cost effective manner. In the first year of operation each ERSC will be expected to complete two systematic reviews on topics identified by the Task Force and reviewed by PHAC. In subsequent years, each ERSC will be assigned a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 reviews based on the strength of their proposal. In addition, one centre will be assigned to complete a guideline update every year.

Potential topics of interest to the Task Force and PHAC include but are not limited to:

  • Prevention of key chronic and infectious diseases;
  • Prevention and care of major chronic disease risk factors (e.g. obesity, smoking status, hypertension);
  • General preventive care approaches;
  • Health promotion/healthy living approaches;
  • Injury prevention;
  • Behavioural change/counselling; and
  • Other topics relevant to preventive health care.

The timeframe for each deliverable will depend on the topic and status of the review (guideline update, new review). New systematic reviews are expected to take a maximum of 12 months to produce (from receiving a finalized protocol to the time a draft review is submitted) and no more than 8 months for systematic review updates and endorsement/adaptation of existing guidelines (excluding peer review). Applicants to this Request for Proposals should carefully review the Task Force Procedure Manual prior to developing an application. (Please note that the Task Force Procedure Manual is currently being updated and a new version will be available in the Fall of 2015. Please pay particular attention to the methodology section of the manual, rather than the governance section which is undergoing revisions.)

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Eligibility

The Centre must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be affiliated with a Canadian academic institution (eligible to hold Tri-Council funding); and
  • Must be an existing Centre or Research Team (a Centre recognized as such by the institution that will administer the funds or a research group with a track record of working together on multiple projects) with the capacity undertake projects of this nature.

Note: If ethics approval is required to complete the work associated with the ERSC, the Principal Investigator must provide documentation from a Tri-Council compliant Research Ethics Board demonstrating that an acceptable review has been completed and the project approved.
 

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

The NSHRF will undertake an initial screening of all applications to determine the completeness of the application and applicant’s eligibility. A peer review panel will review applications in accordance with NSHRF’s peer review guidelines and the evaluation criteria.

The applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Academic Excellence of the Applicants

  • Knowledge, expertise and experience of the applicants
  • Past contributions to evidence synthesis, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses of health research
  • Complementary expertise among team members and access to additional topic-specific expertise.
  • Experience working in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary initiatives, including those with various partners and stakeholders
  • Project management experience and expertise
  • Overall organizational impact (H factor; published works including systematic reviews and meta-analyses with journals and impact factors)
  • Experience with GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation); membership on GRADE Working Group is considered an asset.

Merit of the Application

  • Originality and innovation
  • Significance and anticipated contributions
  • Clarity and scope of objectives
  • Clarity and appropriateness of work plan
  • Varied expertise within and across disciplines
  • Feasibility
  • Expertise, creativity and originality in information sciences topics
  • Institutional support

Budget

  • Appropriateness and justification of budget
  • Special needs related to the project, such as collaborative activities or infrastructure costs

Relevance to the Task Force Mandate

  • Understanding the objectives of the ERSC, PHAC and the Task Force
  • How the project will address the requirements of the Task Force

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Funding and Duration

Up to two (2) ERSCs will be funded through this competition. Each ERSC will be provided with a core operating budget of $100,000 per year, for two years. Additional funding is tied to the deliverables which would be assigned to each centre based on expertise and ability (up to $115,000 per review; up to $40,000 per guideline update). Funds will only be issued to institutions located in Canada. Funded applicants must demonstrate the ability to generate financial statements which comply with NSHRF requirements. The selected ERSCs will be funded for an initial period of 2 years. At the discretion of PHAC and the Task Force, a renewal may be offered ranging from 1-3 years.
 

Application Dates and Funding Decisions

All applications must be submitted using the NSHRF’s Grants Management System (GMS). Applications submitted by mail, fax or email will not be accepted.

Please visit our Schedule of Funding Opportunities page for current grant offerings and applicable dates.  

ERSC Application Deadline: Friday, August 21, 2015 at 2pm (AST).


Allowable Costs

Please refer to the Evidence Review Synthesis Centres Allowable Costs document to learn more about allowable costs specific to this competition.
 

Overview of Application Requirements (12 Pages)

The application must demonstrate expertise in 1) systematic review/meta-analysis methodology; 2) statistics for meta-analysis; and 3) information sciences for systematic reviews.

Application components are submitted directly in GMS or as PDF uploads submitted through GMS. The application and budget justification must be written in the template provided and the PDF must be uploaded in GMS in the Application Details section. The application details, CCVs and budget table must be completed in GMS directly.

Items required in GMS include (detailed explanations are provided below):

  • Title of Proposal
  • Key Words
  • Institution that will administer funds
  • Institutional Agreement Form
  • Application template (see below)
  • Canadian Common CV (CCV)/Resumes
  • Team member information
  • Budget table

Items Required in the Application Template (detailed explanations are provided below):

  • Team Composition (2 pages )
  • Team members should have experience and methodological and statistical expertise to conduct high-quality evidence synthesis and meta-analyses. Experience in economic analyses, network analyses and modelling is beneficial
  • The team should include a research librarian with expertise in review synthesis. (A PhD-prepared librarian is considered an asset)
  • Demonstrate how the expertise of the applicant and team members ultimately benefits the Task Force and related work
  • Describe the expertise and skills in the team related to:
  • clinical epidemiology
  • biostatistics;
  • public health;
  • systematic review methodologies (range of methods including qualitative, quantitative, economic analyses);
  • prevention interventions; and
  • specific topic expertise (as outlined in the objectives and background)
     
  • Centre Management (Infrastructure) (1 page)
                       Describe:
  • Plan for the core infrastructure for the Centre
  • How the Centre will be managed
  • Relevant affiliations
     
  • Relevant Experience (2 pages)
  • Demonstrated experience working jointly with government agencies or other knowledge users in the production and use of syntheses in health/healthcare settings
  • Demonstrated expertise in 1) systematic review/meta-analysis methodology; 2) statistics for meta-analysis; and 3) information sciences for systematic reviews
  • Proven track record of timely productivity
     
  • Work Plan (4 pages)
  • Technical approach to the topics identified
  • Plan for how the systematic reviews, communications and reporting will be conducted and managed consistent with the Task Force Procedural Manual
  • Demonstrate that the proposed approach is reasonable and feasible
  • Demonstrate an understanding the objectives of the ERSC, PHAC and the Task Force
  • Proposed plan for acquiring appropriate content expertise for each synthesis if not part of the ERSC team 
     
  • Monitoring and Evaluation (1 page)
  • Capacity for evaluation and monitoring
  • Overall approach to evaluation
     
  • Budget Justification (2 pages)
  • Provide the budget for use of the core operating funds ($100,000 annually) and provide justification of associated expenses.

Items Required in GMS

All applications must be submitted using GMS. Specific direction is provided in GMS and listed in the following application requirements. This section describes each requirement in detail.

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Title of Proposal

This title will be used for communication purposes. It should include the name of your Centre or the research team for which you are seeking support. Please spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Key Words

You will be asked to provide six key words that describe the focus or strengths of the Centre as outlined in your proposal.

Institution Administering Funds

Applicants must indicate which academic institution will administer the funds. If the application is from an existing research centre affiliated with an academic institution this should be the institution administering the funds. This institution will be required to approve the application and agree to the terms and conditions listed in the Institutional Agreement Form (attached below). Applicants are advised to contact their institution to determine internal institutional deadlines, requirements and potential support offered by the institution in advance of the NSHRF application deadline.

The Institutional Agreement Form must be signed by the institution that will administer the grant funds. A scanned or electronic copy of the complete signed form should be uploaded into GMS.

Institutional Agreement Form (PDF)

Please note: The Institutional Agreement Form must be uploaded directly into GMS. Applications are required to have institutional approval and appropriate signatures before the application deadline. Applications that have not obtained institutional support will be considered incomplete and will not be considered for funding.

Canadian Common CV (CCV)/Resumes 

A Canadian Common CV (CCV) validated for CIHR is required for any Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator or team member for the ERSC who has an academic appointment. If an applicant does not hold an academic appointment, a resume or CV should be uploaded. All uploaded documents will be included in the final application. The PI must provide consent in GMS. To learn more about the process for providing consent in the GMS, please see the GMS PI User Guide.

All team members with academic appointments must provide the PI with a CIHR-validated CCV. Team members who do not have academic appointments must provide the PI with a copy of their professional resume or CV. All CVs and resumes must be uploaded by the PI into GMS. Collaborators do not require a CV or resume.

Team Member Information

  • All team members (if applicable) must be listed in the Team Member section of the GMS application form.
  • A team member category (role) must be selected for each member.
  • Team members are not required to provide consent in the GMS.
  • All team members with academic appointments must provide the PI with a CIHR-validated CCV to be uploaded to the GMS. Team members who do not have academic appointments must provide the PI with a copy of their professional résumé or CV to upload. All CVs and résumés must be in PDF format and uploaded by the PI into GMS. Collaborators do not require a CCV or résumé.

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Team Member Categories

The NSHRF considers the following to be research team member roles on its applications (it should be noted that Collaborators are not considered members of the team).

Research Program Team Member Categories:

  • Principal Investigator (PI): The researcher with overall responsibility for directing the application and proposed work and has the primary responsibility for the intellectual direction of the research. The PI also assumes administrative and financial responsibility for the grant or award and is the primary contact with NSHRF. The PI must provide a current CCV.
  • Co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs): There may be additional PIs, referred to as a Co-Principal Investigators. The Co-PIs must provide a current CCV if she/he has an academic appointment and a resume if she/he does not. 
  • Co-Investigators (Co-Is): Make a significant contribution to the intellectual or scientific direction of the application and proposed work, play a significant role in the conduct of the work and may, at the discretion of the PI, have some responsibility for administrative aspects of the activities. Students, fellows or research associates/assistants may not be Co-Is. The Co-I must provide a current CCV if she/he has an academic appointment and a resume if she/he does not.
  • Associates: Individuals who make a substantial intellectual contribution to the application or proposed work. They may include graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates/assistants and colleagues. The Associate must provide a current CCV if she/he has an academic appointment and a resume if she/he does not.
  • Partners: May be associated with an organization not affiliated with a post-secondary institution, which may include participation from the public, private or non-profit sector.  The Partner must have an interest in, and make a strong contribution to, the application and proposed work.  Partners’ material contributions may be financial or in-kind (e.g., monetary or providing use of facilities, access to expertise, networks or communities and staff time). All Partners are expected to contribute intellectually and to participate in the work. Partners must provide a current CCV if they have an academic appointment and a resume if they do not. 
  • Collaborators: are individuals who provide special services, advice, etc. to facilitate the proposed work. Their intellectual contribution to the work may be limited. They may be reimbursed from grant or award funds for the services, materials, etc. that they provide. Collaborators may be local, regional, national or international. Collaborators are not full team members and as such are not required to provide a resume or CCV.  A description of the role the Collaborator plays in the project may be included in the Team Composition section of the application, and a resume or CCV may be uploaded if deemed relevant by the PI.

For information regarding academic appointments Click Here

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Budget Table

Details must be entered into the budget table with the maximum funding available of $100,000 per year and $200,000 per application.
 

Application Template Sections

All Application Sections are uploaded to the GMS using the Application Template and must adhere to the following format requirements:

  • Uploads cannot exceed section page limit and must be in PDF format (please ensure uploaded documents are not locked or password protected);
  • Font must be 11 pt minimum, 1.5 line spacing, 0.5 inch (1.27 cm), left and right margins;
  • PI's last name and application ID number (available in the GMS) must be at the top-right of each page in the header;
  • Pages uploaded for each section should be numbered in the footer;
  • Page numbering can start at one (1) and end with the maximum page limit for that section; applicants do not need to attempt consecutive numbering between sections.

Team Composition (2 pages)

Describe the knowledge, expertise and experience of the Principal Investigator, and all associated team members, including collaborators. Describe the team’s experience in conducting systematic reviews and how the expertise of the Principal Investigator and each team member ultimately benefits the project. Demonstrate how the team has the right complement of expertise and skills related to the identified potential topic areas. Team members should have the experience, methodological and statistical expertise to conduct high-quality evidence syntheses and meta-analyses, including but not limited to screening and treatment interventions and diagnostic test accuracy. Experience in economic analyses, network analyses and modelling is beneficial. The team should include a research librarian with expertise in review synthesis. (A PhD-prepared librarian is considered an asset).

This section is limited to a maximum of two (2) pages, 11pt font minimum (PDF). 

Centre Management (1 Page)

Describe the plan for the core infrastructure of the ERSC, including how the ERSC will be managed, physical space available, and oversight. Describe any relevant affiliations or partners who may participate in the completion of the systematic reviews.

This section is limited to a maximum of one (1) page, 11pt font minimum (PDF). 

Relevant Experience (2 Pages)

Highlight any relevant accomplishments of the Centre or research team to date, especially as it relates to conducting systematic reviews. Demonstrate expertise in systematic review and meta-analysis, statistics for meta-analysis; and information sciences for systematic reviews. Describe how the Centre or research team has worked jointly with government agencies or other knowledge users in the production and use of knowledge syntheses in health/healthcare settings. Demonstrate how the Centre or research team has a track record of timely productivity.

This section is limited to a maximum of two (2) pages, 11pt font minimum (PDF).

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Work plan (4 Pages)

Provide a clear and concise description of how your Centre or team will approach a systematic review. This is not a description of your research interests, but rather a description of how these funds will be used to accomplish the goals set out for the ERSC. Summarize your understanding of the objectives of the ERSC, PHAC and the Task Force. Describe the technical approach that will be taken to produce systematic reviews on the topics identified. Describe the plan for how the systematic reviews, communications and reporting will be managed. Describe the plan for acquiring appropriate content expertise for each synthesis if not already part of the ERSC team. Reflect an understanding of the required procedures as outlined in the Task Force Procedural Manual.

This section is limited to a maximum of four (4) pages, 11pt font minimum (PDF). 

Monitoring and Evaluation (1 page)

Applicants will also be required to conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Provide details on the monitoring activities of the Centre; capacity for evaluation and monitoring; potential indicators and ability to measure and report on them; and an overall approach to evaluation.

This section is limited to a maximum of one (1) page, 11 pt font minimum (PDF).

Budget Justification (2 Pages)

Please refer to the Evidence Review Synthesis Centres Allowable Costs document to learn more about allowable costs specific to this competition.

The budget table should be completed directly in GMS. A detailed budget justification should be included as part of the application form which is uploaded in GMS. Peer reviewers carefully review budgets. Only those expenses deemed necessary for the proposed work will be approved. Below are details as to what should be included in the two (2) page budget justification, as well as additional requirements within the budget table.  A description is required for each budget item entered in the table. Please note, it is helpful to use similar descriptions when writing the detailed budget justification.

Professional/Technical Services: Provide details of any contracts or arrangements that have been made.  A separate upload will be required for this budget item and can consist of correspondence confirming the details of the services that will be purchased or additional justification (i.e., why a particular vendor was selected). Up to three (3) files can be uploaded if multiple vendors were contacted for quotes/availability. Refer to your institution’s policies pertaining to procurement.

Equipment and Materials and Supplies: Price estimates, including applicable taxes, shipping costs and other costs that are part of the purchase must be detailed in the justification. Budget items that exceed $2,000 require additional justification (i.e., quotes for equipment, computer hardware and software). Up to three (3) files can be uploaded. This additional upload provides applicants with the opportunity to provide more details to reviewers related to expenses, therefore do not re-upload the required budget justification in these additional uploads. Refer to your institution’s policies pertaining to procurement. Equipment purchased with grant funds becomes the property of the institution administering funds. 

Meeting Expenses and Honoraria: Provide relevant details related to any items listed under these budget items. 

Other: Provide relevant details related to any items listed under this budget item not already covered in another budget area. 

In-kind contributions do not need to be listed in the budget table but should be outlined in the budget justification section. Contributions from other funding sources should also be identified in the budget justification section. If any proposed activities are dependent on other sources of funding, this contingency should be clearly identified and its impact on the execution of the work addressed. The NSHRF does not provide funding for research already funded by another agency.  If an application is approved for funding, the Manager, REAL Knowledge Program will discuss with the applicant and the other funding source (if necessary) to determine whether duplication or overlap exists and determine appropriate means of eliminating duplication/overlap.

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Signature and Submission

Applicants must review the terms listed in the Signature and Submission section of the application in GMS, as well as the Signature and Submission section on the General Program Requirements page.

Applications submitted to the NSHRF that do not contain all of the necessary information will be disqualified from further consideration in the competition process. The NSHRF assumes no responsibility to notify applicants or follow-up with respect to particulars of incomplete or noncompliant applications. Applicants may view application information prior to submission, and the entire responsibility of ensuring proper submission of a complete application rests with the applicant. Our systems have been designed to ensure that applicants have every opportunity to view the application information before it is submitted. Applications submitted late will not be accepted.
 

Contact Information

All applicants are encouraged to contact the Manager, REAL Knowledge Program, with questions prior to submitting an application (George.Collier@novascotia.ca, 902-424-1528).

Participants should contact the Manager, REAL Knowledge Program in order to indicate their interest in applying. Any generally applicable questions received and the responses provided will be sent to all applicants who have expressed interest.
 

Timeline:

Notification: Applicants will be notified by October 22, 2015

Start Date: November 2, 2015

Topic Identification: The topics for the upcoming year will be provided to successful applicants on November 2, 2015.  

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