2024 Network Catalyst Grant Competition

Introduction:

The Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations (NHP) is committed to supporting multi-disciplinary, collaborative teams to co-design projects that will support the development of interventions and programs in the Peel Region focused on reducing the burden of diabetes and chronic disease. The NHP will support an evidence-to-practice approach to tailor, adopt, and integrate evidence-informed practices, programs, and policies into local health care, community services, and living environments. This grant opportunity will catalyze partnerships between researchers and local stakeholders to bridge the divide between research and practice and bring programs that work to communities in need.

Catalyst Grant Description:

The NHP’s Catalyst Grants will focus on building and growing collaborations between academics, researchers, clinicians and the Peel Region community. Grants will be awarded to support projects that aim to develop, expand, or adapt evidence-informed programs, interventions, or evaluations that align to the Network’s mission:  To reduce social inequities in risk and burden of diabetes and other chronic diseases through better care, lower risk factors and healthier living environments.

Awards will be granted following a rigorous peer review by the Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations’ Review Committee which is comprised of individuals with expertise in the proposal’s subject area.

The goals of this catalyst grant opportunity are to: 

  1. Identify, adapt, and pilot test evidence-informed solutions to address the rising risk or burden of diabetes and chronic disease that are locally relevant, feasible, and equitable for Peel Region. 
  1. Spark interdisciplinary collaboration across sectors to foster the creation of partnerships between researchers, policymakers, knowledge users, and people with lived experience to collectively implement relevant, feasible, effective, and equitable solutions. 
  1. Mobilize diverse methodologies from across multiple disciplines and perspectives, and knowledge mobilization approaches to generate evidence that is relevant and useful for local stakeholders. 
  1. Generate pilot data on local implementation of evidence-informed interventions to support longer-term evaluation of impact on health outcomes and scale and scale to other regions. 

Funding Guidelines:

  • Award Amount: Grants will be awarded up to $100,000 for 1 year, based on submitted budgets.
  • Deadline: Full applications are due April 1, 2024, 5:00pm EDT (Online Form)
  • Exclusions: Current Catalyst Grant Fund holders are excluded from applying as Nominated Principal Applicants and cannot hold funds for more than one NHP Catalyst Grant at a time. Current NHP Catalyst Grant holders may apply as Co-Applicants, Collaborators etc., as long as they are not holding funds.
  • This funding is not to be used as bridging or emergency funding, nor is it intended to support ongoing studies. It may, however, support a new direction of a previously funded project, and can be combined with additional funding to support new projects. A clear rationale for this should be provided in the application.

Review the Grant Guidelines Here!

Catalyst Grant Project Objectives (projects may be relevant to multiple objectives):

Catalyst grant projects must be aligned with one of the following themes that have been identified through the NHP community engagement activities:

A. Micro Focused Projects

Projects that will support the development of evidence informed interventions focused on the ‘micro’ health level (i.e. the individual level where people seek care), that improve the quality of chronic disease care through the development of accessible, equitable, and effective healthcare services. We are seeking projects that will inform evidence-supported interventions focused on patients and families, health care providers and health care administrators that will help make health services more coordinated, effective and accessible. Projects within this category will address one of the following topic areas:

  1. Identify opportunities for diabetes and chronic disease prevention in the healthcare system that will lead to healthier communities
  2. Improve screening and early detection of diabetes and chronic disease
  3. Create tailored chronic disease care pathways that improve coordination and equitable access to services

B. Meso Focused Projects

Projects that will support the development of evidence informed interventions focused on the ‘meso’ health level (i.e. the community level where people spend their time), that promote healthy living and encourage the development of informed, empowered, and connected communities and services.

We are seeking projects that will inform evidence-supported, accessible, and culturally adaptable interventions that aim to increase diabetes awareness and optimize health behaviours within specific high-risk groups, community-based organizations or local business settings. Projects within this category will address one of the following topic areas:

  1. Improve health for priority populations and those living with social disadvantage, including but not limited to:
  • Optimize health for immigrant populations and equity-deserving groups
  • Improve health for visible minorities that are at high-risk
  • Educate and inform communities about risk factors and healthy living
  • Connect and empower communities to accelerate action for social change
  1. Promote positive health behaviours for communities and individuals, including but not limited to:
  • Increase opportunities to improve nutrition
  • Improve opportunities for leisure activities
  • Enhance social capital and empowerment

C. Macro Focused Projects

Projects that will support the development of evidence informed interventions focused on the ‘macro’ health level (i.e. the ‘city/policy’ level where people live and work), that create healthy environments through the development of health-centered policies and health-promoting living, learning, and working environments.

We are seeking projects that will inform evidence-supported interventions that target areas such as municipal and regional policies and urban planning to optimize the built environment, access to healthy foods, physical activity and medicines. Projects within this category will address one of the following topic areas:

  1. Facilitate physical activity choices in the built environment, including but not limited to:
  • Increase active transit
  • Increase neighbourhood walkability
  • Increase neighbourhood safety
  1. Prioritize health and wellbeing in systems and structures, including but not limited to:
  • Promote healthy food environments
  • Enhance access to adequate housing
  • Increase useable parks and green spaces
  1. Optimize health promotion in working and learning environments

Research proposals must demonstrate that the goal is to develop, expand or adapt evidence-informed programs, interventions, or evaluations that address the risk or burden of diabetes and chronic disease and demonstrate an evidence-to-practice or Implementation Science approach.

Project Requirements:

  1. Evidence-informed: Projects must justify how evidence generated will inform the development of an intervention, program or policy that will improve indicators of diabetes and chronic disease; or a proposed intervention, program or policy must be informed by prior evidence showing promise at improving service indicators, risk factors and/or outcomes for diabetes and chronic disease;
  2. Equitable: Must have a population health and equity focus and aim to positively affect all or priority populations within Peel Region, improving the environmental, social, cultural, and/or structural determinants of health related to diabetes and chronic disease;
  3. Implementable: Can include policy changes, introduction of a new program or practice, and/or physical changes to the environment to improve risk and/or outcomes of diabetes and chronic disease that can adapted and feasibly be implemented within the Peel Region;
  4. Engaged: Must engage community stakeholders as equal partners in the research. Stakeholders should be involved in developing the research questions and methodology, as well as in data collection, the interpretation of findings and dissemination of results.

Application Process Timeline:

Activity

Deadline

Full application submissions due

April 1, 2024, 5:00pm EDT

Notice of decision

Week of May 13, 2024

Funding to begin

June 1, 2024

Roles and Responsibilities: Opportunities for Participation and Team Structures:

There are a number of ways interested organizations can participate in the NHP catalyst grant program.  While detailed descriptions of roles and responsibilities for each participating organization are outlined below, each team has the flexibility to articulate more specifically how each team member will be involved in the project. Also, team members can fulfill more than one role.

Composition of Project Team

Project teams are expected to have a core group that includes individuals that fulfill the following roles:

  • 1 Nominated Principal Applicant - must be a faculty member at the University of Toronto (affiliated or full-time status) or one of its affiliated hospitals 
  • At least 1 trainee or early career researcher (within 5 years of faculty appointment)
  • At least 1 senior or mid-career researcher
  • At least 1 team member that is a person with lived experience
  • At least 1 community organization (Applications with more than one community partner will be rated more favorably.)

Below is a description of all possible team member designations. Please note: one team member can have multiple roles.

Role

Description

Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA)

The role on a project application for individuals who are responsible for leading the overall direction of the proposed activities. NPA’s are responsible for leading and coordinating the project’s financials and will enter into a transfer payment agreement with NHP. The NPA is accountable for all deliverables, financial management, project tracking and reporting. They will receive all related correspondence from NHP. Must be a faculty member at the University of Toronto (affiliated or full-time status) or one of its affiliated hospitals.

Co-Principal Applicant (Co-PA)

The role on a project application for multiple individuals who are responsible for leading community engagement or research methodology, depending on their area of expertise for proposed projects. Please note: All Co-PAs are accountable for deliverables.

Co-Applicant

(Co-A)

Provide support in shaping the project. Co-As are involved in key decision making related to the project, and will be kept informed of all project timelines, findings, deliverables. Co-As may provide in-kind contributions to the project and may lead implementation of certain aspects of the project.

Collaborator

An individual whose role in the proposed activities is to provide a specific service (e.g., specialized expertise, training in a specialized technique, statistical analysis, access to a patient population, etc.).

Knowledge User

Individual who is able to use the knowledge generated through research to make informed decisions about health policies, programs and/or practices. Level of engagement in the research process may vary in intensity and complexity depending on the nature of the research and their information needs

Decision Maker

An individual who makes decisions about, or influences, health policies or practices. They can work at the local community, municipal, provincial or national level. Decision makers are those individuals who are likely to be able to make use of the results of the research.

Advisor

An individual who provides information, recommendations, and advice that ensure project success. This individual can be a scientific, systems, and/or community engagement expert.

Community Organization

An organization that has direct involvement with an affected community, understands the needs of the community and how research can lead to useful practical outcomes for the community, and who can facilitate the involvement of the community in the research process.

Person with Lived Experience

Contribute insights about project priorities, methods, and knowledge translation based on an understanding of their living or lived experiences and/or those of others in their community.

Senior or Mid-Career Researcher

A researcher who, at the time of application has assumed his/her first independent research position,

Senior Researcher: more than 15 years ago.

Mid-Career Researcher: 5-15 years ago.

Trainee or Early Career Researcher

A researcher, who at the time of application, has assumed his/her first independent research position less than 5 years ago.

Trainee/Student

An individual who is enhancing their research skills and who works under the formal supervision of an independent researcher; or an independent researcher who has taken a leave of absence from their academic or research position.

Knowledge Translation/Mobilization Plan

A key aspect of Catalyst Grant Program is for project teams to develop knowledge translation/knowledge mobilization plans. By bridging the gap between research outcomes and practical implementation, this plan ensures that the project's insights are not confined to academia but are effectively disseminated and integrated within the community. It empowers stakeholders by making research relevant and accessible, enabling informed decision-making, promoting sustainability, fostering collaboration, measuring impact, catalyzing innovation, and optimizing resource allocation.

It is expected that all project teams include a comprehensive knowledge translation/knowledge mobilization plan. Project teams will also be expected to present the results of their projects at the NHP Research Seminar, a monthly lunchtime webinar series that presents current research in the field.

Budget Considerations

  • Applications must include a detailed budget, as well as a description of how the funds would be allocated to meet the project goals.
  • Allowable expenses include trainee salaries, research activities (i.e., analyses), conferences and knowledge translation activities, equipment and open access journal fees, as well as additional administrative costs required to support the project. Nominated Principal Applicant’s and Co-Principal Applicant’s salaries are not considered an allowable expense.

Catalyst Grant Submissions and Review

Full Application: Applicants are required to develop a comprehensive full application. This application will provide a more detailed overview of the project and its implementation plan.

  • Deadline: The deadline for submitting the full application is April 1, 2024 (5:00 PM EDT)
  • Submission: Please submit completed application forms online: https://forms.gle/z4VTdFprFFxx5fui8
  • All documents, forms, and CVs should be converted into PDF format for submission and can be uploaded using the link above.

The submission package must include:

  1. The completed NHP Catalyst Grant Application Form with the signature page uploaded to the online form.
  2. CV of the nominated Principal Applicant, Co-Principal Applicants, and Co-Applications, including current appointments, grants and relevant publications (abbreviated version, maximum 5 pages).
  3. Proposed project budget using the excel spreadsheet provided by NHP.
  4. A letter of support from each knowledge user, collaborator, decision maker and/or advisor
  5. Other appendices (such as draft data collection tools and interview guides, references, etc.) in a single PDF file.

All applications must be submitted using the templates provided by NHP. Files should be submitted in formats as specified above.  You will receive confirmation of receipt within 2 business days. Submissions that do not adhere to the NHP submission guidelines will not be accepted.

Review Process: The submission form, budget, and attachments will be reviewed by a NHP Review Committee, consisting of individuals with expertise in the proposal’s subject area. Teams will receive reviewer comments on their proposals.

Funding Notice:  Successful applicants will receive a funding notice that outlines the terms and conditions of the grant, including the awarded amount, reporting requirements, and other relevant information.

For questions, please contact: director.novonordiskhp@utoronto.ca