Catalyst Grants

Overview
Grant Value
Up to $100,000
Grant Duration
1 to 2 years
Theme Area
Development of data science methodology and/or its innovative application
Stage 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) Deadline
July 15, 2022, 11:59 PM
Notification on LOI and invitations sent to submit full application
August 30, 2022
Stage 2: Full Application Deadline
November 4, 2022, 11:59 PM
Application Procedure
Proposals are to be submitted using the online application form

Purpose

DSI Catalyst Grant

The research Catalyst Grant is a competitive seed funding program for multidisciplinary teams forming a Collaborative Research Team (CRT). Funding from this program supports CRTs focused on the development of novel statistical or computational tools or the use of existing methodology in innovative ways to address questions of major societal importance and effect positive social change.

Catalyst Grants are expected to align with the Data Sciences Institute (DSI) mission to catalyze the transformative nature of data sciences across all disciplines, in fair and ethical ways, and to solve some of society’s most complex and pressing problems. Data Sciences is defined as the science of collecting, manipulating, storing, visualizing, learning from and extracting useful information from data in a reproducible, fair and ethical way.

CRTs must include one domain expert and one methods expert, or two methods experts from different fields working together. One of these experts should be the Nominated Principal Investigator; the other should apply as Co-PI. CRTs can include multiple Co-PIs beyond these two.

A proportion of the Catalyst Funding is prioritized for research projects related to the DSI Thematic Programs. To encourage new CRTs, a proportion of funding will be set aside for new collaborations. We define a new team as one where the NPI and equal Co-PI have not received funding or published together in the past five years.

DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health

The DSI is pleased to partner with the Temerty Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM) to co-fund two additional Catalyst Grants focused on innovative and novel data science methodologies in medicine and health. CRTs can indicate that they are applying for the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health on the application form. 

Please note that the eligibility requirements for the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health are expanded to allow for T-CAIREM scientists and researchers who are not currently at DSI partner institutions to apply with CRTs as Co-PIs. NPIs on these applications must have a budgetary appointment at the University of Toronto

  • Each Nominated Principal Investigator (NPI) and Co-PI must have a budgetary appointment at the University of Toronto (U of T) or at a DSI external funding partner institution. Current external funding partner institutions: Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, University Health Network, The Hospital for Sick Children, Unity Health Toronto and Baycrest.*  Faculty budgetary appointments for U of T are continuing, full-time academic appointments with salary commitments from a U of T academic unit.
  • NPIs and Co-PIs must also be eligible to hold research funding at the University of Toronto or external funding partners.
  • Applicants must form and apply as a CRT. CRTs are multidisciplinary research teams composed of at least two co-PIs, one of whom serves as the nominated PI (NPI). CRTs can represent new or existing research collaborations. There is no limit to the number of Co-PIs or co-investigators in a CRT.
  • At least one Co-PI must have a research focus in computational or data science methodology. A computational or data scientist may include individuals working in foundational data science disciplines such as statistics, mathematics, engineering, information sciences, and computer science, or individuals engaged in big data-driven research, such as computational biology, computational social sciences, or digital humanities. This is not an exhaustive list and applicants may provide justification for their role as a computational or data scientist in a CRT, if applicable. Co-PIs from the same unit can apply, as long as they represent different disciplinary areas. 
  • Researchers can be a Co-PI on only ONE submitted application in each DSI competition.  
  • NPI and Co-PIs must be members of the DSI. CRTs with Co-PIs who are not members of the DSI will not be eligible for funding. See here to join 
  • CRTs may also include faculty members as co-investigators. Co-investigators can be appointed at any institution in Canada or Internationally. Researchers may be listed as a co-investigator on multiple submissions.
  • For applications to the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health, Co-PI eligibility is expanded to include scientists and researchers who are T-CAIREM members. Co-PIs with primary budgetary appointments at non-DSI partner institutions should select “Other” when asked to select their institution and will then be given the option to include their institution in a text box. CRT members should be members of both DSI and T-CAIREM. 
  • Please note that this expansion of eligibility requirements only applies to applications for the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health.

* If you wish to be a Co-PI of a CRT and your primary budgetary appointment is not at U of T or a DSI external funding partner, please email us at awards.dsi@utoronto.ca to discuss how your organization can partner with us and become eligible for DSI funding and supports.

Stage 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) – Deadline July 15, 2022, 11:59 pm ET.

Eligible LOIs received by the deadline will be reviewed and only successful CRTs will be invited to submit a full application.

 

The LOI includes an online form and a merged .pdf that includes the written component of the application and CVs for all PIs.

  • If the NPI or the person uploading the information on the NPI’s behalf has a UTOR account, please use this Online Application. The online form will allow you to upload a merged .pdf file with the written component of your LOI.
  • If the NPI does not have a UTOR account, please use this Online Application. It does not include the option to upload your file. Please complete the form, submit, and then mail your merged .pdf file directly to awards.dsi@utoronto.ca
    with the subject [NPI Name] CG LOI.

Applicants will need the following information to complete the online form portion of the LOI:

  1. Project title.
  2. Project abstract (maximum 200 words).
  3. If applicable, whether the CRT is new (i.e., NPI and Co-PI(s) have not collaborated, shared funding, or published with each other in the past five years).
  4. Whether your CRT is applying for the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health.
  5. If applicable, whether the proposal aligns with the following programs:
    1. Thematic Program in Inequity
    2. Thematic Program in Reproducibility
  6. Which of the following divisions the project falls into:
    1. Humanities
    2. Social Sciences
    3. Physical Sciences
    4. Life Sciences
  7. Names, affiliations, emails, and Unit Head names for the NPI and Co-PIs.
  8. Optional: If confirmed, names, affiliations, and emails for Co-Investigators.

Applicants should include the following components in a merged .pdf named [NPI Name]_CG_LOI.pdf:

  1. Catalyst Grant Letter of Intent form, including:
    1. Project Rationale, Goals, and Objective: Brief overview of your project (maximum 1/3 page).
    2. Project Impact and Alignment: Explain your project’s alignment to the DSI mission. Where applicable, discuss your project’s research topic in relation to a DSI thematic program in Inequity and Reproducibility (maximum 2/3 page).
    3. Research Approach and Methods: Brief overview of the methods that you will use, noting how your project will develop novel methodology or innovatively applies existing approaches (maximum 1 page).
  2. Abbreviated CVs of NPI and Co-PIs (three-page maximum using required format for each). Please use the template provided here. Required sections:
    1. brief personal statement,
    2. affiliations and positions,
    3. contributions to research, and
    4. additional information, if any.

* Please note that page lengths include any figures.

 

Stage 2: Catalyst Grant full application – Deadline November 4, 2022, 11:59 pm ET.

Only successful LOI applicants will be asked to submit a full application by November 4, 2022, by 11:59 pm ET.

 

The full application includes an online form and a merged .pdf that includes the written component of the application and CVs for all PIs.

  • If the NPI or the person uploading the information on the NPI’s behalf has a UTOR account, please use this Online Application. The online form will allow you to upload a merged .pdf file with the written component of your application.
  • If the NPI does not have a UTOR account, please use this Online Application. This form does not include the option to upload your file. Please complete the form, submit, and then mail your merged .pdf file directly to awards.dsi@utoronto.ca
    with the subject [NPI Name] CG Application.

Applicants will need the following information to complete the online form portion of the application, ensuring to note any changes to the team or project information since the LOI stage:

  1. Project title.
  2. Project abstract (maximum 200 words).
  3. If applicable, whether the CRT is new (i.e., NPI and Co-PI(s) have not collaborated, shared funding, or published with each other in the past five years).
  4. Whether your CRT is applying for the DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant for Data Science in Medicine and Health.
  5. If applicable, whether the proposal aligns with the following programs:
    1. Thematic Program in Inequity
    2. Thematic Program in Reproducibility
  6. Which of the following divisions the project falls into:
    1. Humanities
    2. Social Sciences
    3. Physical Sciences
    4. Life Sciences
  7. Names, affiliations, emails, and Unit Head names for the NPI and Co-PIs.
  8. Names, affiliations, and emails for Co-Investigators.

Applicants should include the following components in a merged .pdf named [NPI Name]_CG_application.pdf:

  1. Catalyst Grant full application form, including:
    1. Project rationale, goals, and objectives that collectively create a clear understanding of the significant need for the research and a keen interest in its results (maximum 2/3 page).
    2. Project impact and alignment with the DSI Mission. A proportion of funds will be prioritized for projects relevant to DSI Thematic Programs (maximum 2/3 page).
    3. Research approach and methods. Note how your project will develop novel methodology or innovatively applies existing approaches (maximum 3 pages).
    4. The team. Describe the complementary disciplinary academic contributions of CRT members and any trainees who will be involved. Provide a collaboration and training plan that you will use to meet project goals (e.g., joint research group meetings) (maximum 2/3 page).
    5. Project milestones and timelines (maximum 2/3 page).
    6. Description of the feasibility of your study, the research environment and budget justification. Funds can be used to support student research assistantships (“RAs”), student stipends, research staff salaries, data access, data generation, cloud computing or storage, and fees (conference registrations, open access, etc.). Please distinguish clearly between trainee salaries (PDFs, Ph.D.s, Master’s, and undergraduate students) and staff. Funds cannot be used for equipment or administrative salaries. Eligible expenses must align with U of T’s Guide to Financial Management (maximum 2/3 page).
    7. Integration of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations. For EDI definitions, see here (source: EDIRI) (maximum 2/3 page).
    8. References (maximum 1 page).
    9. NPI and Co-PI Unit Head signatures.
  2. Abbreviated CVs of all CRT members (three-page maximum using required format for each). Please use the template provided here. Required sections:
    1. brief personal statement,
    2. affiliations and positions,
    3. contributions to research, and
    4. additional information, if any.

* Please note that page lengths include any figures.

A Review Committee will be formed to evaluate LOIs and full applications received by the submission deadline. The adjudication criteria include:  Stage One: Letter of Intent 

  • Project rationale, goals, and objectives: Rationale describes clear linkages to goals and objectives 
  • Project impact and alignment with the DSI Mission and/or Thematic Programs  
  • Research approach and methods: Approach is clearly articulated with a description of how the project will either develop novel methodology or innovatively apply existing approaches. 
  • LOI Adjudication Rubric
Stage Two: Full Application 
  • Project rationale, goals, and objectives 
  • Project impact and alignment with the DSI Mission and/or Thematic Programs 
  • Research approach and methods 
  • CRT members and trainees’ roles, collaboration, and training plans 
  • Project milestones and timelines 
  • Feasibility, research environment, and budget justification 
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations 
  • Full Application Adjudication Rubric

Letter of Intent Deadline: July 15, 2022, 11:59 pm.

LOI NOAs: August 30, 2022

Application Deadline: November 4, 2022, 11:59 pm.

CRTs that receive Catalyst Grant funding are required to fulfill the reporting obligations listed below:

  • The Project and related findings must be presented in oral or poster format at the DSI Research Day in the year or in the immediately subsequent year the award is made.   
  • A final summary report must be submitted within two months after the end of the funding period. For funding periods beyond one year, CRTs must also submit an annual progress report by January 31. Final and progress reports should include a short summary of the progress of the project during the reporting period and a brief narrative, possibly including images, on how the CRT is working collaboratively to meet project goals. The report must restate the aims of the research project, indicate whether any of the aims have changed and detail how, report on progress made for each aim, and summarize plans for the project.  
  • As a reporting requirement, it is expected that CRT members respond promptly to surveys, questionnaires, or enquiries from the DSI on topics such as papers submitted to or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, oral and poster presentations given at seminars, scientific meetings, or conferences and competitive applications submitted to external agencies for funding. CRT members will be clearly notified of submission dates and format requirements.  
  • PIs will be asked to serve as proposal reviewers for future DSI competitions.

CRTs that receive DSI-Temerty Catalyst Grant funding are required to fulfill the following additional reporting obligations: 

  • Within the first six months of the award, CRT researchers will have the opportunity to present their research at the Temerty Centre Speaker Series. 
  • The project and related findings will be presented at the T-CAIREM AI in Healthcare Symposium in 2023. 
  • CRTs will have opportunities to host project datasets in the T-CAIREM Health Data Nexus. 

Further Information

Past Recipients

The Data Sciences Institute (DSI) at the University of Toronto is funding seventeen cross-disciplinary research teams focused on using the transformative nature of data sciences to solve complex and pressing problems.

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