DSI-McLaughlin Centre Polygenic Risk Score Grant


This competition is currently closed to new proposals. Please check back.
Value & Duration
CDN $20,000 for up to 12 months + $1,000 for a trainee travel award.
January 2023


The Data Sciences Institute (DSI) is a central hub and incubator for data science research, training, and partnerships at the University of Toronto. Its goal is to accelerate the impact of data sciences across disciplines to address pressing societal questions and promote positive social change.

In partnership with the McLaughlin Centre, whose mission is to advance genomic medicine through research and education, the DSI is launching a seed funding competition to stimulate research on polygenic scores that includes grant support for research funding and training in the area of polygenic scores.

The potential for polygenic scores in precision health is at a tipping point. Large omic studies and big health and population data platforms have generated massive amounts of data. This brings unprecedented potential to extract useful information from this data, galvanizing interest for the application of polygenic scores to a broad range of research and applied contexts.

The purpose of the DSI-McLaughlin Centre Polygenic Risk Score Grant is to leverage these opportunities by providing seed funding to emerging research and capacity in the area of polygenic scores.

Applicants proposing projects in the domain of polygenic score methodologies and applications can apply for this grant. Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to apply as Co-PIs. Each grant has a value of $20,000 + $1,000 for a trainee travel award and needs to be used over 12 months by successful applicants. The DSI will fund up to four projects.

Ideal candidates are developing or applying statistical, mathematical, or computational methods to polygenic score applications. Successful applicants should state clearly the novelty of their proposed method and/or application and the expected substantive payoff for their project.

Eligible expenses are to be consistent with the appropriate tri-agency guidelines for NSERC Discovery grants, CIHR Project Grants, or SSHRC Insight grants, with the exception of laptops which should only be included in application budgets when required for project-specific purposes (as opposed to general research). Proposals should clearly describe what role all research personnel will play in the research project. Questions on eligible expenses should be directed to awards.dsi@utoronto.ca.

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Present their research at a future DSI workshop or seminar.
  • Engage with other members of the DSI community to develop a DSI Catalyst Grant application with a new Collaborative Research Team (CRT).
  • Generate a public end product, including but not limited to one or more white papers, policy papers, contributions to conference proceedings, open-source software packages, or appropriate journal publications.

In addition, awardees may be called upon to act as reviewers for future DSI award competitions.

The DSI is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

How to Apply

The award is open to NPIs who meet the following criteria: 

*Faculty budgetary appointments for the University of Toronto are continuing, full-time academic appointments with salary commitments from a University of Toronto academic unit.

Co-PIs can include researchers who also meet the above eligibility requirements as well as Ph.D. students who are enrolled at the University of Toronto or postdoctoral fellows who hold their fellowship at the University of Toronto or an external funding partner institution.

Applications are submitted via the DSI Good Grants application portal.

Register an account and select “Start Application” for “DSI-McLaughlin Centre Polygenic Risk Score Grant.”

DSI Good Grants Dashboard

The application is divided into tabs; each tab includes a set of instructions and fields to fill out. These instructions are also highlighted below.

Applicants will need to complete the following fields.

Tab 1: Start Here

  • Project Title
Tab 2: Applicant Information

Click “Add contributor” and a series of fields will appear. You will need the following information:
  • Role
  • Co-PI Rank (Researcher, PDF, Ph.D.)
  • Name
  • Email
  • Institution
  • Division (if applicable)
  • Unit (if applicable)
Tab 3: Proposal

Objectives & Impact (maximum 500 words): comment on the following:
  • Project rationale and alignment with the DSI mission
  • Relevance to the DSI Thematic Programs in Reproducibility or Inequity, if applicable
  • Research objectives
  • Impact on polygenic score field
Methods (maximum 500 words): comment on the following:
  • Research approach
  • Explanation of how the method or application is novel for the polygenic score field
EDI Statement (maximum 500 words): summarize your commitment to EDI for this proposal. This response can focus on your integration of EDI considerations into your research question and methods and/or any EDI-related social outcomes from your research.

Figures & Supporting Material (maximum 1 page): upload a 1-page .pdf with figures and supporting material.

Unit Head Signatures: Please fill out the provided template, convert to .pdf, and upload the unit head signature for the PI.

Tab 4: CVs

Using the provided template, upload the CVs for each PI.

Once the applicant has submitted their component of the application on or before December 14 the following will occur:

Demographic Survey

The applicant or the person submitting on their behalf will receive a confirmation email that includes a link to a Demographic Survey. While this survey is required, when filling it out respondents have the option to select “Prefer not to answer” for all questions. All PIs have until December 16 to fill out the survey.

The DSI will form a Review Committee to lead the review of all eligible proposals received by the submission deadline. Reviewers are asked to consider the following categories:

  • Project rationale and the extent to which it aligns with the DSI mandate including, if applicable, alignment with the DSI Thematic Programs in Reproducibility or Inequity.
  • The potential impact of the proposal on data science research.
  • The extent to which the proposed project includes the development of novel methodology or the innovative application of existing approaches in the context of the polygenic score field.
  • The extent to which the project considers how to advance EDI in research and outcomes.

All application materials can be submitted directly onto the form. Certain fields on the form ask for uploads and require the following templates:


Past Recipients

Further Information

For more information, please contact awards.dsi@utoronto.ca.