Nova Scotia Aging & Brain Health Innovation (NSABHI) Program

Application Process
Review Process
Assessment Criteria
Resources and Assistance


The objective of the NSABHI Program is to seek and support innovative solutions that address challenges associated with aging and brain health, including dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Funding for this joint initiative is provided by the Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF).

The NSABHI Program will support teams of researchers’ and clinicians to fund projects that refine, test, validate or disseminate innovative aging and brain health solutions in seniors’ care settings. The solution must be “innovative” in that it deviates from standard practice or common procedure and demonstrates purposeful differentiation from existing and/or widely adopted solutions. Solutions must be at an advanced stage of development, with promising scalability.

The purpose of the program is:

  • To support collaborative, interdisciplinary innovation activities.
  • To support scalable innovation projects, looking to accelerate pilot, test/validation or translational research.
  • To encourage knowledge sharing and collaborative relationships within and beyond the academic and clinical community.
  • To support innovation with potential to benefit the health of people living with dementia in Nova Scotia and across the world.

The program is not intended to support the following activities: 

  • Basic research;
  • Primarily academic goals;
  • Capital investment in a portfolio of intellectual property;
  • Pharmaceutical clinical trials; or
  • Incubators for startups.

In 2018-19, the NSABHI program is focusing on the following priority innovation themes. All projects considered for funding must focus on one or more of the following themes:

1.    Aging in place: solutions that enable older adults with dementia to maximize their choice, independence and quality of life regarding where they live.
2.    Caregiver support: solutions that support caregivers (formal and informal) in providing care to older adults with dementia.
3.    Care coordination and navigation: solutions that help older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers coordinate care and transitions for older adults with dementia.
4.    Cognitive health: solutions focused on health promotion, prevention, early diagnostics, and slowing the progression of cognitive impairment in aging adults.

For more information on these priority innovation themes visit here



To apply for funding, the Principal Investigator must:

  • Be a researcher or clinician with an academic appointment at a Nova Scotia university or affiliated research institution, or with an appointment (with research responsibilities) at an affiliated hospital, research centre, or institute; 
  • Be affiliated with an institution that is Canadian Revenue Agency “qualified donee”; and
  • Reside and work in Nova Scotia during the funding period of the grant.

Academic Appointments

The NSHRF considers the following to be academic appointments:

  • Tenured appointments
  • Tenure-track appointments
  • Probationary tenure-track appointments
  • Limited-term appointments
  • Clinical scientists, clinical faculty or other appointments approved by a senior official (i.e., CEO or VP Research) 

Adjunct and instructor positions are not considered academic appointments. 

Limited Term Appointments

Applicants with limited term appointments are eligible to apply, however, the grant funding period must end before the end date of the appointment. Applicants with a limited term appointment must clearly indicate the end date of the appointment on their CCV. 

Applicants must also provide a letter from a senior official at their institution indicating the start and end dates of their appointment. This letter can be combined with the project description section upload in the GMS.

If, at the time of application, the PI holds a limited term appointment that ends prior to the funding end date, he/she is eligible to apply; if successful, a condition of funding will be institutional confirmation of a new appointment. 

Funding Amount and Duration

Up to $150,000 per project will be issued for a funding period of one year. 

All funds must be spent by January 31, 2020.

Funding is non-renewable.  

Multiple Submissions

Applicants may submit only one application for consideration.  

Dates and Deadlines

Application Available in the GMS: June 27st, 2018

Application Deadline: September 19th, 2018 at 2:00 pm AT

Results Available: December 2018

Project Start Date: January 2019

Project Completion Date: January 2020


Application Process  

Step 1: Confirm Eligibility

Consider whether you meet the eligibility criteria (outlined above).

If applicants have any questions about their eligibility, they are encouraged to contact the Manager, Research Programs before submitting an application.

Step 2: Review Application Requirements

Be sure to carefully review all application requirements, as outlined in the document below:

2018-19 NSABHI Program Application Requirements (PDF)

Step 3: Register in the Grants Management System (GMS)

Applications must be submitted through NSHRF’s online Grants Management System (GMS).

To access the application in GMS, the Principal Investigator (PI) must create an account. For step-by-step instructions for creating an account, please click here.

Step 4: Complete Application

To apply, login to GMS to access the application, where information will be either entered directly into GMS or uploaded as PDF documents.

Be sure to refer to the Application Requirements for detailed instructions.

Step 5: Obtain Team Member Application Consent

Ensure all team members have provided their consent in GMS prior to submitting application. 

Step 6: Obtain Institutional Approval

Institutions must approve the application in GMS after it is submitted and prior to the application deadline.

Be sure to contact your institution to inquire about their process and deadlines for approval. 

More information about these steps is outlined in the Application Requirements.


Review Process

1.    NSHRF staff will assess applications to determine whether they meet the eligibility criteria.

2.    Applications will be reviewed by CABHI to assess relevancy for each application using the criteria outlined below.

3.    A NSHRF peer review panel will review applications in accordance with NSHRF’s peer review guidelines and the assessment criteria outlined below.

CABHI Relevacny Determination Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used by CABHI to approve applications for review by the NSHRF peer review process:

Applicant Information

  • Team has a demonstrated track record of relevant successes and appropriate qualifications to undertake the trial
  • Host Institution has a track record of implementing and mobilizing innovations, capacity and expertise to undertake research, provides evidence of strong local support

Innovative product, service or practice (“Solution”)

  • Clear description of the solution’s key features, qualities and how it is used
  • Clear and convincing description of the benefits of the solution and how it improves the current status quo (such as outcomes, efficiencies and cost savings); presents compelling and clear evidence (in the form of scientific evidence and/or user testing) to support claims
  • Solution is at a current state of development (including licensing and certifications) to be evaluated in an operational setting

Dissemination, adoption and future financial sustainability

  • Clear plan to disseminate and adopt solution by clinicians and/or other end users, including an analysis of target audiences, anticipated barriers, and how to address them
  • Solution can be scaled to impact a large number of users regionally, nationally or globally; Have the applicants adequately identified and addressed requirements to scale?
  • Where applicable: clear strategy for financial sustainability, including target market segments and competitive landscape analysis; plan includes financial assumptions and supporting data

Strategic Alignment with Innovation Themes 

  • Convincing description of how the solution specifically addresses an important, and concrete problem faced by the health system and/or older adults, and how it aligns with at least one of CABHI’s priority themes; supported by data from previous research completed in simulated environment. 

Project Overview & Research Approach

  • Clear and concise overview of the project provided, including the main goals and activities to be funded as part of this project and the key questions the research will answer
  • Approach to data collection and analysis is well designed given the research questions being addressed and project metrics being captured; reasonable outcome targets are identified
  • Project is well planned and sufficiently resourced
  • Project budget leverages contributions from other sources through cash or in-kind contributions


NSHRF Peer Review Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used by the peer review committee to assess applications:

Project Description


  • Clarity, appropriateness and scope of objectives (to encompass main project activities)
  • Clarity and appropriateness of methodology
  • Extend to which proposed solutions are innovative and improvement on current state. Benefits of how solution compares is specified and quantified (e.g. improved clinical outcomes, efficiencies or cost savings)?
  • Compelling and clear evidence (in the form of scientific evidence and/or user testing) is provided to support the potential of the innovation
  • Appropriatenessand experience of research team
  • Potential contribution to the CABHI innovation theme identified
  • Potential for impact on the economy, clinical practice, health policy and/or health services in Nova Scotia/Canada
  • Clarity and feasibility of project timeline 
  • Clarity and feasibility of project activities 
  • Alignment of timeline and work plan with objectives
  • Clarity and feasibility of dissemination plan 


  • Principal investigator and team members demonstrate evidence of a track record of committed interest in health research/clinical interventions and suitable research productivity (i.e. publications, policy papers, government reports, issue papers, etc.) appropriate to their career stage and funding history. 



  • Appropriateness and adequacy of budget expenses and their justification 
  • Availability of in-kind contributions and other sources of funding

Letters of Support

  • Letter(s) of support commit appropriate resources to be provided, including (as relevant) clinical units, laboratory space, financial support, etc.

Overall Merit of the Application

  • Significance of proposed project and expected overall contribution to addressing challenges associated with aging and brain health


Resources and Assistance

Application Support

Applicants are invited to contact the Manager, Research Programs for assistance prior to submitting an application. 

GMS and CCV Support

For questions related to navigating the GMS please refer to the GMS User Guide that will outline the application process.