P2P Awards Grant Guidelines



The BC SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Unit is a multi-partner organization created to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research across British Columbia (BC).  The Unit does this by building capacity to conduct and implement high quality patient-oriented research in BC, increasing the quality and impact of patient-oriented research across BC and ensuring ongoing support for patient-oriented research in all regions of the province. Learn more at http://bcsupportunit.ca/.

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), a partner of the BC SUPPORT Unit, empowers BC’s best and brightest health researchers to pursue world-class innovation and stretch the bounds of what health research can achieve. The Foundation helps BC’s health research community discover solutions to our greatest health challenges; connect knowledge and action on provincial priorities; and engage partners to improve the research enterprise. Learn more at www.msfhr.org.

Drawing on its role as an expert funder with extensive knowledge of the health research system, changing landscape, and emerging needs, MSFHR is working with the BC SUPPORT Unit to provide expertise in the development of the Pathway to Patient-Oriented Research (P2P) award program and to provide award administration services (application receipt, peer review, and management of the award).

Patient-Oriented Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) defines patient-oriented research as a continuum of research that engages patients as partners, focuses on patient-identified priorities and improves patient outcomes. This research, conducted by multidisciplinary teams in partnership with relevant stakeholders, aims to apply the knowledge generated to improve health care systems and practices.  For more information on CIHR’s strategy on patient-oriented research, please visit http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/41204.html.

More succinctly, the BC SUPPORT Unit defines patient-oriented research as research that is done in partnership with patients, answers research questions that matter to patients, and aims to improve health care.


2. Purpose

The BC SUPPORT Unit’s Pathway to Patient-Oriented Research (P2P) Award seeks to support BC-based patient-oriented research (POR) teams in preparing for future substantive (e.g., federal or international funding competitions) POR grant applications. The expectation is that the POR team is already formed and an important POR question has been identified.  A key missing piece of this future major grant application is a strong demonstration of the feasibility and/or piloting of the research project. This will be the focus of the work supported by a P2P award.


3. Objectives

The primary objective of the P2P Award is to:

  • Support POR teams in strengthening a major grant application through pilot and/or feasibility[1]
    • The expectation is that the subsequent POR grant, when submitted to agencies such as CIHR, will be viewed more positively given that some foundational feasibility/pilot questions have been answered.
  • Build and strengthen BC’s capacity in POR.

Examples of research activities that are supported through the P2P Award include, but are not limited to:

  • Feasibility work to address challenges around patient recruitment
  • Feasibility work to test data collection mechanisms and approaches
  • Pilot work to assess resource requirements and challenges in conducting the proposed research

Note: The award funds may not be used for team building, question development, or for operating funds for a substantive POR project.


4. Award Amount and Duration

The budget envelope for this funding competition is $100,000, enough to support at least 5 awards.  P2P award amounts of up to $20,000 for a maximum duration of 12 months are available.


5. Eligibility Requirements

For an application to be eligible for review:

  • The proposed work must be truly patient-oriented, following the definitions indicated in Section 1.
  • The team must include the following:
    • A minimum of one BC-based researcher[2] and one BC-based patient[3] as the co-leads.
    • A minimum of one BC research or health professional trainee (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, and/or clinical fellows) included in a meaningful way to enhance their POR experience and skills.

Note: The trainee can also fulfill the role of the patient co-lead, if applicable.

  • The researcher co-lead that serves as the principal applicant must be based in BC and affiliated with a BC host institution that has a signed memorandum of understanding with MSFHR to administer award funds. (For a list of current eligible institutions, see msfhr.org/sites/default/files/MOU_List.pdf.)
  • All award funds must be used in BC.

Note: Researcher co-leads are limited to one application per competition as a primary applicant, i.e., the individual who launches the application.

The BC SUPPORT Unit or MSFHR reserve the right to declare applications ineligible.


6. Review Process

P2P Award applications will be screened for eligibility by BC SUPPORT Unit staff. Eligible applications will undergo review by an external review panel of relevant researchers and research users[4] for funding recommendations.

Applications will be evaluated via a process that incorporates the three main principles of application review:

  1. Confidentiality – All information contained in applications, reports by reviewers, and any discussions by the review panel about applications or applicants are strictly confidential.
  2. Integrity – BC SUPPORT Unit makes every effort to ensure that its decisions are fair and objective, and are seen to be so.
  3. Parity – Refers to the willingness and ability of all review panel members to be fair and reasonable, to exercise meticulous scientific judgement and, to understand and take into account the particular context of each application.

The information presented in the Evaluation Criteria and Rating Scale sections below will be used for the peer review process. All applications will be assessed against a defined set of criteria in three categories: 1) quality and engagement of the team, 2) relevance and feasibility, and 3) potential impact.  The overall score for an application will be sum of the scores for the three categories. To be considered for funding, the overall application score must receive a minimum score of 3.5.

6.1 Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be assessed against the indicated criteria and weightings below:

Criterion Weighting
Quality and engagement of the team 30%
Relevance and feasibility 50%
Potential impact 20%

A full description of the evaluation criteria can be found at http://bcsupportunit.ca/p2p-awards/.

6.2 Rating Scale

Descriptor Range Outcome
Outstanding 4.5 – 4.9 May be funded
Excellent 4.0 – 4.4
Very good 3.5 – 3.9
Adequate 3.0 – 3.4 Not fundable
Less than adequate 0 – 2.9

6.3 Funding Decision

Following peer review, the highest rated applications, by geographic region[5], will be identified. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review process upon completion of the review process.  There is no appeal process.

Note: Priority will be given to those applicants who have not previously received CIHR SPOR funding.

Applicants will receive notification of the funding decision, as well as the summaries of reviewers’ comments. A list of successful applicants will be published on the BC SUPPORT Unit’s website.


7. Reporting Requirements

A final report is required thirty (30) days after the award end date. A financial statement of expenditures, signed by the award co-leads and an authorized financial officer of the host institution, is required within three (3) months following the award end date. Any unexpended funds must be returned to MSFHR.

The BC SUPPORT Unit reserves the right to contact award recipients after the end date of the award to determine the short and mid-term outcomes and/or impacts of the work.

The final report may include the following:

  • A description of how the proposed objectives as identified in the application were met.
  • Plans for next steps, taking into account the outcomes and/or outputs of the proposed work and/or developments in the field.
  • Activity-specific deliverables such as a grant application, etc.
  • If relevant, a list of stakeholders outside of the team who were consulted and/or involved in the funded work.

Additionally, to inform evaluation and continued improvement of our award programs, award recipients will be invited to provide feedback to BC SUPPORT Unit staff to determine areas of improvement for this funding opportunity.

The BC SUPPORT Unit will provide reporting materials for these purposes.


8. Award Start Date and Deferral

Unless otherwise indicated, the P2P award begins January 1, 2018. Successful applicants must confirm their acceptance of the award within the stipulated time indicated in the award notification package. The start date may be deferred up to a maximum of three (3) months. The start date must be on the first day of any month and be no later than April 1, 2018. Deferred start dates, once confirmed by the BC SUPPORT Unit and/or MSFHR, cannot be revised.


9.  Key Competition Dates

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10. How to Apply

Note: The application process is supported by MSFHR and hosted on the MSFHR ApplyNet grants management system.

The application process for the BC SUPPORT Unit’s P2P Award is comprised of two steps:

  1. Eligibility Quiz
  2. Application
  • Deadline date: October 30, 2017, 4:30 p.m. PDT
  • Consists of:
    • Proposed work plan
    • Budget template
    • Canadian Common CV – MSFHR Full Version for researcher co-lead(s) (last five years only)
    • List of Publications, Patents & Intellectual Property Rights uploaded as an attachment to CCV
    • Letters of collaboration[6] (if applicable)

To complete your application, follow the instructions as stated in the Application Instructions, which can be found at http://bcsupportunit.ca/p2p-awards/.

Please note that the principal applicant, i.e. the one who submits the full application, should be the researcher co-lead.

Please ensure that applications are complete and submitted by the application deadline. Incomplete or late applications cannot be considered.

Note: Each host institution has its own internal deadline that is earlier than that of funding competition.  Please check with your host institution for more information.

10.1   Submission Requirements

  • All steps of the application must be submitted using MSFHR ApplyNet, the MSFHR’s online application submission system.
  • All documents uploaded onto MSFHR ApplyNet must be in .pdf format. No other formats will be accepted.
  • As an applicant, you will be able to access a .pdf copy of the application to review the information you have entered.
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the .pdf copy of the application prior to submission to ensure that all data entered are complete and accurate. Once an application is submitted, it cannot be modified in any way.

All primary applicants and co-leads using the MSFHR ApplyNet for the first time will be required to register and create a system account and password in order to apply. Additional information on MSFHR ApplyNet can be found in MSFHR’s ApplyNet FAQ document.


11. Contact Information

For questions regarding eligibility and program objectives of this funding opportunity, please contact:

Primary Contact
Dr. John Ward
Performance Measurement Lead
Secondary Contact
Dr. Stirling Bryan
Scientific Director
c/o Sara Lima Branco


For more information about the MSFHR ApplyNet system or help with login information, and the application and submission process, please contact:

MSFHR Help Desk


[1] A feasibility study asks whether something can be done, should we proceed with it, and if so, how. A pilot study asks the same questions but also has a specific design feature: in a pilot study a future study, or part of a future study, is conducted on a smaller scale.  In feasibility work, investigators need to identify appropriate objectives and methods related specifically to feasibility; and give clear confirmation that their study is in preparation for a future larger study designed, for example, to assess the effect of an intervention.  From: Eldridge et al. (2016) Defining Feasibility and Pilot Studies in Preparation for Randomised Controlled Trials: Development of a Conceptual Framework. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150205

[2] For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a researcher is defined as someone who holds an appointment at a BC host institution (an academic, health services or research institution that is responsible for approving and administering research awards) that allows them to engage in independent research activities that conform to the institutional requirements for the conduct of research,
to hold peer reviewed funding, and to publish their research results.

[3] A patient is defined as anyone who has personally lived the experience of a health issue as well as their informal caregivers, including family and friends.  From Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research – Patient engagement Framework at a Glance, CIHR, http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/49232.html [Accessed August 2017].

[4] Research users are the target audience(s) of research evidence. Research users are experts on their needs, environment and local context. Including research users as equal members of the research team will ideally result in more relevant research evidence and an increased likelihood of its use for the purpose of making informed decisions about health policies, programs and/or practices. A research user may include, but is not limited to, other researchers, policy makers, health care practitioners, decision makers, health care administrators, educators, patient user group, or health charity, and the public. Adapted from Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s ‘Guide to Knowledge Translation Planning at CIHR: Integrated and End-of-Grant Approaches’. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45321.html [Accessed July 2017].

[5] The BC SUPPORT Unit’s Vancouver hub serves as the first province-wide point of contact for stakeholders, and is one of five regional centres in British Columbia along with the Fraser, Interior, Northern and Island centres.  From Regional Centres, BC Support Unit website, http://bcsupportunit.ca/locating-your-regional-centre/ [Accessed August 2017].

[6] A collaborator is an individual who participates at some point in the research project and may make a significant contribution to the intellectual direction of the research or research-related activity, and who may play a significant role in the conduct of the research or research-related activities.