Funding opportunities

Graham Seed Fund

The Graham Seed Fund (GSF) is designed to broadly encourage innovative health-care solutions to challenges of today and tomorrow. The GSF seeks to leverage and build health system partnerships by providing resources for collaborating directly with a full range of health providers and clinicians. It is anticipated that this collaborative, interdisciplinary model will help to quickly advance solutions for challenging areas in health technology.

This five-year initiative responds to one of University of Waterloo’s strategic priorities of creating a globally recognized hub for innovative and transformative health technologies. With funding made possible from the J.W. Graham Trust Endowment Fund, the GSF is intended to cover the cost of hiring highly qualified personnel (HQP), with the aim of leveraging the seed funding through external granting agencies and organizations.

This opportunity is for all faculties at the University of Waterloo.

Research focus areas

Proposals are encouraged that focus on, but are not limited to, the following areas:  

  • Assistive technology
  • Community-based research
  • Health data
  • Health technology and ethics
  • Health technology innovation
  • Human-centred design
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Therapeutic robotics
  • Virtual care
  • Wearable technology

We encourage proposals that create and/or increase equitable access to healthcare for marginalized and under-served populations. To maximize interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration on health transformation through technology, we encourage projects that leverage and build health system partnerships including patients, patient families, the public, academics, clinicians and healthcare providers. Please note that the GSF supports only new projects, initiatives or activities.


GSF has a total annual funding envelope of up to $235,000 per year over five years. There is one cycle of funding per year, starting in the Fall. If funds remain, a mid-year competition may be held. GSF provides funding in the amount of up to $25,000 for a one-year period, with a one-year no-cost extension available on request. Projects funded under GSF are expected to lead to other sources of follow-on external funding.

Allowable expenses

The fund is primarily intended to cover the cost of hiring HQP. The allowable expenses are:

  • Salaries, benefits and student payments;
  • Costs to support the participation of clinicians, patients or community members in the research;
  • Minor equipment;
  • Materials and supplies; and 
  • Travel and knowledge mobilization.

Application dates

The first cycle opens on Monday, October 3, 2022, with all applications submitted to by Friday, December 2, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET, with the subject header “GSF2022 Application – Round 1”. Primary applicants will receive acknowledgment of receipt within one week of submission. Late submissions will not be accepted. There will be a networking event this Fall. Primary applicants will receive written notice of the decision in January 2023.


This opportunity is applicable to all Faculties at Waterloo. The primary applicant or principal investigator (PI) must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member or hold a definite term research professor appointment, where the primary affiliation is with University of Waterloo.

Each project must have only one lead PI. Collaborations across disciplines and faculties, and with clinicians and healthcare providers are strongly encouraged and prioritized. Clinicians, patients, and healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to be part of the research team, engaged in defining the research question, the design of the study, and the knowledge mobilization plan. All proposals should include specific short to medium term objectives, evidence of detailed planning, sound budget justification, intended approaches, milestones, and deliverables. Review the evaluation criteria below for the key elements of a successful project.

Application requirements

The application package includes the following:

The above documents should be emailed as a single PDF to

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated by an internal review committee and scored based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated relevance to GSF’s objectives and supported research areas.
  • Engagement with healthcare providers, clinicians, patients and/or family member participants.
  • Interdisciplinarity of the team– potential collaborations across disciplines and/or Faculties at Waterloo, across NSERC/CIHR/SSHRC related fields and/or on a regional, national, or global level.
  • Active commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the composition of the research team, design of the research, and knowledge mobilization plan.
  • At least one training opportunity (i.e., undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral involvement).
  • Clear description of the appropriate use of the requested funds (i.e., dollar amount requested should match the scale of activities planned, and the budget outlined should clearly explain how funds will be used).
  • Clear description of how a seed fund award will help facilitate future external funding. A plan for applying for external funding should be clearly outlined.

Priority will be given to proposals where a healthcare stakeholder is a member of the research team. This stakeholder should be actively engaged in defining the research problem, research design, research approach and/or the implementation plan.

Review committee

The review committee is appointed by the Associate Vice-President, Health Initiatives to review applications. The potential reviewers include members of the J.W. Graham Trust Committee, Waterloo researchers, and clinical and healthcare partners. Any conflicts of interest will be declared in advance (i.e., co-applicants, primary applicant from own department, etc.) and reviewers will not participate in discussions or decisions related to applications for which they have a conflict of interest. Refer to Waterloo’s Policy 69 on conflict of interest for guidance.

Decision process

Applications will be scored according to the stated evaluation criteria and the alignment with seed fund objectives and will be declared either ‘approved for funding’ or ‘not approved for funding’. Approved applications will be ranked from highest score to lowest score and funds will be awarded as requested (to a maximum of $25,000 per seed fund application), starting with the highest-ranked application and moving down the list until all approved applications are funded or seed funds are depleted, whichever comes first.  Primary applicants will receive written notice of the decision.

Program requirements

Successful applicants are required to:

  • Participate in a research event or symposium for GSF recipients.
  • Participate on a review committee for future GSF proposals.
  • Report outcomes or milestones resulting from the award. A brief narrative report will be requested at the middle and end of the funding period (i.e., description of the use of funds, update on the team, progress towards external funding, milestones achieved, scholarly outputs, industry engagement, EDI goals, knowledge mobilization, etc.) and further follow-up will occur to track the outcomes of external funding applications. A reporting form will be provided.
  • Acknowledge funding support from the J.W. Graham Trust in all public announcements, presentations and/or publications related to their funded project. 
  • Provide electronic copies of all papers, IP, talks and theses that acknowledge J.W. Graham Trust support via email at Where appropriate these should be accompanied with a brief description and representative figure to enable research translation to a broader audience including non-scientists.

Suggested acknowledgment statements:

This research was supported by the J.W. Graham Trust at the University of Waterloo.

This research was undertaken thanks in part to funding from the J.W. Graham Trust at the University of Waterloo.

Ethics requirements

Where applicable and consistent with the University of Waterloo's Guidelines on Research Involving Human Participants and/or Guidelines for the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching, projects must undergo prior ethics review and clearance through the Office of Research Ethics (ORE). This requirement applies to all research involving humans or live, non-human vertebrate animals regardless of whether the procedures used are invasive or non-invasive. Where applicable, funds will only be transferred after receipt of ethics certification.

Acknowledgement of responsibility

Prior to the release of funds, the PI as well as the applicable chair/director must sign an agreement.

Anticipated program outcomes

Area Indicators
Research excellence in transformative health technologies Publications and scholarly outputs
New innovative research projects, areas or approaches
Follow-on external funding
Talent (teams) Faculty engaged in GSF related research
Graduate and undergraduate students supported by GSF
Engagement of HQP in publications and knowledge mobilization
Participation of non-academic collaborators and partners, particularly clinicians, and healthcare providers
Knowledge for society Engagement with clinicians and healthcare providers 
Communications, briefs and knowledge exchanges with knowledge users
Attraction of follow-on external funding from diverse sources



For more information, please contact

For assistance on developing collaborative research partnerships with clinicians and healthcare providers, please contact Yibei Zhao, Research Development Officer, Health Initiatives,

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