Catalyst Grants

Research Catalyst Funding for Collaborative Research Teams

Grant Value
Up to $100,000
Grant Duration
1 to 2 years
Theme Area
Development of data science methodology and/or its innovative application
Notice of Intent Deadline
October 15, 2021, 11:59 PM
Application Deadline
November 1, 2021, 11:59 PM
Application Procedure
Proposals are to be submitted using the online application form 


The Research Catalyst Funding 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 new data science methodology, or the use of existing methodology in innovative ways to address questions of major societal importance.

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. A proportion of the Research Catalyst Funding is prioritized for research projects related to the DSI Thematic Programs. Each grant is valued at up to $100,000.

  1. Eligible applicants include all professorial staff eligible to hold research funding at the University of Toronto (U of T) or external funding partners and must satisfy the additional eligibility criteria below.
  2. Applicants must form and apply as a Collaborative Research Team. 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.
  3. At least one Co-Principal Investigator (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.
  4. Each Co-PI must have a budgetary appointment at U of T or at a DSI External Funding Partner. Currently, DSI external funding partner organizations/institutions comprise:
    1. Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute,
    2. University Health Network, and
    3. The Hospital For Sick Children.
  5. Co-PIs must represent at least two complementary disciplines. Co-PIs from the same unit can apply, as long as they represent different disciplinary areas (see Team below).
  6. A Co-PI with a budgetary appointment at U of T or at a partner organization/institution must be a member of the DSI. See here to join. 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 partner organization/institution, please email us at to discuss how your organization can partner with us and become eligible for DSI funding.
  7. Researchers can be Co-PIs on only ONE submitted application in each DSI competition.
  8. 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.

There is no limit to the number of Co-PIs or Co-investigators in a CRT.

1) A notice of intent (NOI) is required to apply. The NOI must be submitted online by October 15, 2021, by 11:59 pm and include:

  1. Names and affiliations of the Co-PIs,
  2. Proposal title,
  3. A brief description of the rationale, goals, and objectives (175 words),
  4. A brief description of the approach and methods (175 words),
  5. Recommendations for five reviewers: Two reviewers who are based at U of T or at a DSI partner organization/institution and who are not members of the DSI Research & Academics Committee, and three that are external to U of T and DSI partner insitutions/organizations. Recommended reviewers should not represent a conflict of interest* with the applicants and Co-applicants. Please include reviewers’ name, title, organization, and email.

* Tri-Agencies and CFI wherein a conflict of interest may come into play if an external reviewer has collaborated, published or shared funding with the applicant within the past six years.

The application must be submitted using the online application form by November 1, 2021, by 11:59pm. Text boxes will be provided for the first eight sections. Alternatively, you may choose to upload a single PDF with the application content covering these sections. PDFs must conform to the following formatting requirements: single-spaced, body text in arial, 11 pt font, 1” margins, no condensed type or spacing.

For the CVs, please prepare them using the template provided below. They should be combined into a single PDF for uploading.

Complete proposals will include the following Program Criteria. You may use the template provided here. Required sections:

  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 300 words or ⅔ page),
  2. Project impact and alignment with the DSI Mission. A proportion of funds will be prioritized for projects relevant to DSI Thematic Programs (300 words ⅔ page),
  3. Research approach and methods (maximum 600 words or 1 ⅓ pages),
  4. The team. Description of the complementary disciplinary academic contributions of CRT members and of any trainees involved. Provide a collaboration and training plan that you will use to meet project goals (e.g., joint research group meetings) (maximum 300 words or ⅔ page),
  5. Project milestones and timelines (maximum 500 words or 1 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.) Funds cannot be used for equipment or administrative salaries. Eligible expenses must align with the U of T Guide to Financial Management (maximum 500 words or 1 page),
  7. Integration of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) considerations. For EDI definitions, see here (maximum 300 words or ⅔ page),
  8. References
  9. Abbreviated CVs of CRT members (three-page maximum using required format for each). Please use the template provided here. Required sections:
    • brief personal statement,
    • affiliations and positions,
    • contributions to research, and
    • additional information, if any.

The DSI Research & Academics Committee, with the help of field-specific external reviewers, will review proposals that meet the eligibility and are received by the submission deadline against the program criteria noted above.

Notice of Intent Deadline: October 15, 2021, 11:59 pm.

Application Deadline: November 1, 2021, 11:59 pm.

Notification Date: December 17, 2021.

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 also 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.

Further Information

Professor Timothy Chan, DSI Associate Director, Research & Thematic Programming hosted a webinar on the Catalyst Grant competition on October 6, 2021.

The webinar's recording and slides are available here.

For more information, please contact:

The deadline for this call has now passed. Thank you to all the applicants and for your interest. This website is being left up for reference.