Catalyst Grant

The Winter 2019 Catalyst Grant call is now open!

See 'How to Apply' below, or download the NAR Catalyst grant submission instructions here (PDF)



The University of Waterloo has set aging as a priority research focus in its strategic plan.  As a result, the University of Waterloo established the Network for Aging Research (NAR) in 2014 to serve as a networking tool for researchers who are conducting research in aging, and to foster collaborative aging research across campus through grant programs and other initiatives. The NAR and its grant programs are supported by the Provost’s office; the number of grant programs and dollar amounts are determined on an annual basis. Proposals are reviewed and approved by the NAR Advisory Committee, and administered in coordination with the Office of Research.

See the list of past Catalyst Grant recipients.

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Catalyst Grant objectives and funding priorities

NAR invites qualified researchers from the University of Waterloo to submit applications for exploratory research or new aspects of current research, across a variety of aging-related domains. In June 2017, NAR hosted community members, including those who work or volunteer with older adults, and researchers at a symposium involving an aging research priority setting activity. (More information on this process is available here: The top 10 priorities are listed below:

  • Social isolation
  • Promoting healthy living across the lifespan
  • Care coordination
  • Dementia
  • Age-friendly communities
  • Support for family and caregivers
  • Aging in place
  • Mobility
  • Restorative care and  rehabilitation
  • Leisure

Researchers may propose research in an area other than those listed above, with appropriate justification.

This grant encourages strong research teams with collaboration among cross-disciplinary researchers; Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP); and older adults and/or other knowledge users throughout the research project. Applications require collaborative plans, or rationale for not including these groups.

Grant recipients are expected to use the results of any work that flows from the Catalyst Grant to produce an external funding application within two years of receipt of the funding.  

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Funding details

NAR will invest up to $120,000 for this competition, funding projects to a maximum of $10,000 each. To encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration, applications with two co-PIs from different faculties (a joint- or cross-appointment would not fulfill this requirement) and with significant involvement from both PIs, may apply for up to $20,000 for their project. The two PIs will be considered to have equivalent PI status on the grant, even though only one of the PIs will serve as the contact person for the grant. The NAR Catalyst Grant funding is available for one year (May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020) plus a one year no-cost extension upon approval.

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  • At least one PI for the Catalyst Grant must have a regular or definite-term faculty appointment at the University of Waterloo or any of its affiliated and federated institutions, and be eligible for tri-agency funding.
  • A single applicant with a University of Waterloo faculty appointment must be appointed and clearly identified in the proposal to serve as the contact person for the catalyst grant. Note, however, that unlike agencies such as CIHR, which require one PI to serve as the “Nominated Principal Applicant” and thus be considered as the project lead, for the purposes of NAR Catalyst Grant Funding, co-PIs can be considered as having equivalent status. 
  • An individual may only serve as the contact person or PI/co-PI on one application per competition, but may be included on other applications as a co-applicant during the same competition period.
  • The proposal must include a plan to support the training of HQP, which may include one or more postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, or undergraduate students.
  • PhD students and postdoctoral fellows may be named as, and undertake the role of, co-applicants or co-PIs.
  • Grant funds must be held by faculty members with a regular or definite-term faculty appointment at the University of Waterloo or any of its affiliated and federated institutions. In the case of applications co-led by PIs from two faculties, one or both faculty members may hold funds.
  • The expectation is that catalyst funding will contribute to an external funding application within two years of receipt of catalyst funding. The PI on the subsequent external grant application should also be a University of Waterloo faculty member and have been a PI or co-investigator on the catalyst grant.
  • Preference will be given to researchers who have not previously received research grant funding from NAR.
  • While a research focus on a NAR identified priority is not required, preference may given to applications with a focus on an identified priority area.
  • Researchers who have been previously funded by NAR but have not submitted their final report (described below) within the specified timelines, are not eligible for further support from NAR.

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Evaluation criteria

View the grant scoring template (PDF)

Applications will be evaluated equally under each evaluation criteria by the degree to which they:

  1. Demonstrate a strong relevance to, and convincing rationale for, the importance of your research and how it is a priority specifically related to aging. In this discussion, you should expand on the impact your research is expected to have in the field of aging.
    • Consideration can be given to whether and how the proposal addresses and specific priority identified by the NAR research priority-setting process
  2. Demonstrate the novel or exploratory nature of the research.
  3. Clearly describe how the project will contribute to the training of HQP, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. If a trainee is placed in the role of co-PI/co-I, then the proposal should specify the trainee’s contribution to the application preparation and to the proposed research. Details should be provided to show how HQP trainees will be directly involved in the proposed project in a meaningful way; contributions may include such activities as data collection, data synthesis, report writing, etc.
  4. Demonstrate scientific excellence.
    •  Note: Significant consideration is given to this section in making funding decisions. Reviewers will consider, where applicable, completeness of a literature review, clarity of the research question, rationale and appropriateness of the methodology. The methodology presented for the proposed project in this catalyst grant competition will take priority over methodology presented for projects extending beyond this competition.
  5.  Explain the expected outcomes in terms of future contributions to an external grant application.
  6. Demonstrate that knowledge users are involved in a meaningful and integrated manner. A knowledge translation plan should be provided; this may include, but is not limited to, communication of research findings to the scientific community or lay audiences, or engagement of relevant knowledge users at various points throughout the research project. Knowledge users may include older adults, families, decision-makers, industry representatives, health care practitioners, or other non-researcher stakeholders who may inform the study process or apply the results in practical settings.
  7. For cross-faculty led grant applications (maximum $20,000), demonstrate development of cross-disciplinary collaborations across faculties and among researchers. Note cross-appointments are not considered sufficient to meet the cross-faculty requirements. Participating Co-PIs must each be appointed in differing faculties. If a cross-faculty led grant application is submitted, it will be evaluated on the same scale by the degree to which it demonstrates the development of cross-disciplinary collaborations across faculties and among researchers.
  8. Budget must clearly describe appropriate use of requested funds (i.e. scale of activity vs. budget outlined).
    • Note: Indirect costs cannot be funded by University of Waterloo internal funding and therefore cannot be included in the budget outline.

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How to apply:

Applications must include the following 3 documents:

1. Office of Research Cover Sheet (To Leslie Copp)

Please submit the cover sheet in hardcopy, with appropriate signatures, to Leslie Copp ( in the Office of Research. She will provide a scan of the fully signed cover sheet to the NAR Program Coordinator.

2. Application Package (To Sheila Bodemer)

Please submit the Application Package consisting of the following documents, combined into a single PDF file:

a. NAR catalyst grant application form 2019 (PDF) (including signatures).

b. Detailed description of proposal(PDF) (this form must be completed).

3. CVs (To Sheila Bodemer)

CV(s) of applicant(s) and co-applicant(s), including HQP(s) involved as co-PIs or co-applicants, saved as PDFs. (Common CV or format of choice that must include: funding history, publications, student supervision (if applicable), current position and start date – CVs should cover past five years).

Submission: The Office of Research Cover Sheet is submitted to the Office of Research, as noted above. The Application Package and CVs should be submitted via e-mail to the NAR Program Coordinator, Sheila Bodemer (

Deadline: Applications must be received electronically on or before Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 4:00pm. Applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt within one week of submission. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Notification: A decision will be made by April 23, 2019 and a notification will be emailed to the applicant shortly thereafter.

NOTE: If you are successful in receiving a NAR grant, your information (name, contact and project information) will be posted on our website and used in promotions of the network.

All questions regarding the NAR Catalyst grant program should be directed to NAR Program Coordinator, Sheila Bodemer at or ext. 33160.

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Other requirements

Before catalyst grant funds may be released, any required certifications must be in place - specifically: ethics clearance of research involving use of human participants, human tissue and/or their data, and/or use of animals; and safety certification for any biohazardous or radioactive materials and radiation.

Grant recipients are expected to make reasonable efforts to obtain any required ethics clearances or safety certifications in a timely manner. An application for ethics clearance must be submitted within four months of notice of award, otherwise the award may be withdrawn.

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Fifteen months after funds are received, a two-page final report, using this fillable form (PDF), is to be submitted to the NAR Program Coordinator. If the research project has received approval for a one-year no cost extension, the 15-month report will be considered an interim report, and a final report will be required at the end of the extension period. Further follow-up will occur to track the outcomes of external funding applications. The NAR Program Coordinator should be notified when any external funding application has been submitted or awarded that relates to research supported by a Catalyst Grant.

Catalyst Grant recipients will be expected to present their results at a NAR-sponsored knowledge translation event at the University of Waterloo.

Please note that continued funding of NAR is dependent, in part, on demonstrating the impact of the grant funds it awards. Therefore, a researcher will not be eligible to apply for further support from NAR grant programs unless reports on the previously funded research have been submitted within the expected time frames.

Any publications, presentations or public announcement from this research should acknowledge the funding support of the NAR. Suggested acknowledgement statement:

This research was funded by the Network for Aging Research at the University of Waterloo.

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