Spring 2021 Catalyst Grant Now Open

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



After setting aging as a priority research focus in its strategic plan, the University of Waterloo established the Network for Aging Research (NAR) in 2014. NAR has become an important networking tool for researchers from across campus, fostering collaborative aging research through grant programs and other initiatives. The NAR and its grant programs have been supported by the Provost’s office. Having reached the end of the funding cycle, NAR is releasing a final Spring 2021 Catalyst Grant call.

See the list of past Catalyst Grant recipients.

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Catalyst Grant objectives and funding priorities

The purpose of the 2021 Spring Catalyst Grant is to inspire new or exploratory research or new aspects of current research projects pertaining to aging. The grant will cover expenses related to conducting research on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to: cognitive aging, biology of aging, aging and technology, health systems and services for older people, aging across the life span, healthy aging, aging and population health (including social determinants of health), mobility and aging, age-friendly communities, aging and the workplace, functional or physiological changes, or policy issues related to aging.

This grant aims to encourage the development of cross-disciplinary collaboration among researchers. The grant must include a proposal to support the training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP). If relevant or applicable, research teams may involve older adults and/or other knowledge users in the planning and execution of the research project or in assisting in the interpretation and translation/mobilization of research findings.

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. As such, applicants may wish to consider the current strategic and research priorities of the tri-council agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

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Funding details

Funds of $50,000 are available to fund multiple catalyst grants up to a maximum of $10,000 each. To encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration, preference will be given to applications with co-PIs from two different faculties (a joint- or cross-appointment would not fulfill this requirement) and with significant involvement from both PIs. 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 1st, 2021, to April 30th, 2022) 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 for supporting 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, both faculty members could 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.
  • Researchers who have been previously funded by NAR, but who 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

Applications will be evaluated by the degree to which they:

  • Demonstrate a strong relevance to, and convincing rationale for, research pertaining to aging.
  • Demonstrate the novel or exploratory nature of the research.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrate scientific excellence.
  • Explain the expected outcomes in terms of future contributions to an external grant application.
  • Clearly describe appropriate use of requested funds (i.e. scale of activity vs. budget outlined).
  • Where relevant and applicable, applicants should include appropriate plans for knowledge mobilization/translation. If relevant or applicable, demonstrate that knowledge users are involved in the research in a meaningful and integrated manner. 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.
  • For cross-faculty led grant applications, demonstrate development of cross-disciplinary collaborations across faculties and among researchers.

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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 (lcopp@uwaterloo.ca) in the Office of Research. She will provide a scan of the fully signed cover sheet to the NAR Program Coordinator.

2. Application Package Spring 2021 (To Sheila Bodemer)

Please complete the application package in full and submit ro Sheila Bodemer by email: sbodemer@uwaterloo.ca

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 (sbodemer@uwaterloo.ca)

Deadline: Applications must be received electronically on or before Monday, March 29th, 2021 at 4:00pm. Applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt within one week of submission. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Notification: Decision notiifications will be emailed to applicants on or around Friday, April 16, 2021.

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 sbodemer@uwaterloo.ca or ext. 43160.

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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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