Catalyst Grant


Since 2014, the Network for Aging Research (NAR) has supported and expanded interdisciplinary aging-focused research at the University of Waterloo through catalyst grants, events, and networking opportunities. This catalyst grant call is supported by the UW Faculty of Health. 

Catalyst Grant objectives for Spring 2024

The University of Waterloo recently implemented the Futures Framework, with the Health Futures emphasis at the intersection of technology and health. As per the new framework, "Waterloo is poised to take a unique leadership position in this space by focusing on our strengths at the intersections of health, society, technology and entrepreneurship and engaging partners to co-create solutions that advance population health and support the development of more sustainable community-based health systems." 

Aligned with this direction, the theme of this year’s catalyst grant is "Supporting the Healthcare of the Future". NAR is looking to fund projects that work towards a future of geriatric research and care supported by technology. Project proposals do not need to focus on the development of new technologies, but instead, on the use and application of technological solutions in gerontology. 

Drawing on existing gaps in the research, catalyst grant priority areas for this year include: 

  • Older adult population health monitoring through novel technologies 
  • Design and implementation of AgeTech 
  • Use of Active/Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) in homes and communities 
  • Supportive technologies for older adults, families, and professionals 
  • Health records and the use of novel types of data in gerontology 
  • Ethics and equity issues surrounding access to care technologies 
  • Sustainability of digital solutions 

This grant call encourages 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, 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-Agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as the New Frontiers Research Fund (NFRF). 


NAR will fund four catalyst grants up to a maximum of $10,000 each. The NAR Catalyst Grant funding is available for one year (July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025) plus a one year no-cost extension upon approval.


  • 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 (for queries about eligibility for Tri-Council Agency funding, applicants can reach out to the Office of Research).
  • 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 PIs from at least two faculties
  • 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 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 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.
  • Preference will be given to cross-disciplinary proposals, especially cross-faculty led proposals.
  • 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.
  • New for 2024: PIs are not eligible for a catalyst grant if they received one in the previous year’s competition. PIs may receive a maximum of 1 grant for every 2 years. 

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 and the priorities outlined on page 1.
  • 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/or 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 (e.g., scale of activity vs. budget outlined).
  • Where relevant, applicants should include appropriate plans for knowledge mobilization/translation. If relevant or applicable, applicants should 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 application of the results in practical settings.
  • For cross-faculty led grant applications, demonstrate development of cross-disciplinary collaborations across faculties and among researchers.

How to apply

The principal applicant must be a NAR member. Please fill out the contact us form to apply for NAR membership.

Complete Applications require the following:

Submission of an Electronic Cover Sheet for Sponsored Research | Research | University of Waterloo ( (**If PI is from Electrical and Computer Engineering – use the PDF form of the coversheet). The Office of Research will provide a pdf of the final approved e-Coversheet to NAR.

  1. Application Package

Please complete all pages found within the application package in full.

  1. CVs

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 Application Package and CVs should be submitted via e-mail to the NAR Program Coordinator, Gaya Bin Noon, at

Deadline: Applications must be received electronically on or before April 15, 2024, 4:00PM EDT. Applicants will receive acknowledgement of receipt within one week of submission. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Notification: A final decision is anticipated in mid-May, 2024. A notification will be emailed to the applicant.

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, Gaya Bin Noon, at

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 six weeks of notice of award, otherwise the award may be withdrawn.


Fifteen months after funds are received, a two-page (maximum) report, including a summary of the activities and outputs, progress towards an external funding application, and a description of HQP training, 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 would be considered an interim report, and a final report would be required at the end of the one-year 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.

Given the aim of this competition to enhance capacity for aging research at the University of Waterloo, Catalyst Grant recipients are encouraged to look for and participate in opportunities to share their research findings at on-campus conferences and events.

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 timeframes.

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

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