Community Partnerships in Research Grants

Overview

The Community Partnerships in Research Grants is a pilot that supports northern biodiversity and natural science knowledge creation through building Indigenous community-researcher relationships and facilitating research project co-design.

The opportunity showcases participating Indigenous community research priorities and then provides grants to Principal Investigators (P.I.s), and their graduate students or postdoctoral fellows based at CRA qualified donee institutions, to visit these communities and co-design a research project. The opportunity also provides resources for the participating community to develop their research priorities and host the P.I. and their students.

This pilot will support up to six P.I.s in two participating Indigenous communities at up to $28,000 per P.I.

Basic Structure

  1. Participating Indigenous communities will share their research challenges with the Canadian academic research community through webinars and written summaries. Participating Indigenous communities are the Forest Authority, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, studying the impact of wildfire on fish, American martens, and moose, and the Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute (CERRI) of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, studying coastal vegetation in Canada geese stop-over sites and James Bay eelgrass.
  2. P.I.s will apply to the Weston Family Foundation for funding to travel to the participating Indigenous community for the purpose of meeting with and beginning to co-design a research project. P.I.s must have graduate student(s) or postdoctoral fellow(s) accompanying them. Fill out the application form.
  3. A selection committee made up of Foundation and participating Indigenous community representatives will review and select successful P.I.s based on research experience and commitment to co-production of research.
  4. P.I.s will receive up to $28,000 for them and their students/fellows to travel to the participating Indigenous community to co-design the research project over the summer/fall of 2024.


To apply for a Community Partnerships in Research Grant, please email your completed application form to Northern@westonfoundation.ca

The deadline to apply for a Community Partnerships in Research Grant is May 15th, 2024 at 5 p.m. ET.

Current Participating Indigenous Community Research Priorities

Forest Authority of Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, Québec

The Forest Authority Department (FAD) is part of the Natural Resources Department of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. We have the mandate to promote the Cree way of life and Cree traditional knowledge in land and land use management. We have the mandate to implement capacity building principles in all of our projects including human resources development objectives and best science & technology practices for the benefit of all.

Marten monitoring.

The aim of the project would be to monitor the presence of marten in sites that have good quality habitat for this species. In areas where there were forest fires, and by integrating climate change analyses and data, the research should determine if the marten continues to utilize the habitat or if it will recolonize. Learn more.

Fish monitoring at Théodat Lake.

The aim of this project would be to sample the walleye population at Théodat Lake in order to set the baseline or a reference level for future understanding of how forest fires, and specifically contaminants, impact the fish. Two aspects would be studied – the health status of the walleye, including contaminants, and the walleye’s population in the lake. Learn more.

Willow tree planting for wildlife habitat restoration.

The aim of the project is to restore critical wildlife habitat for moose using willow plantation. This research priority is to validate that willow can provide forage for moose population and restore their habitats quickly following large and severe wildfires. The research project would be mostly focused on the 2023 wildfires areas located close or within protected areas in the Waswanipi territory (Mishigamish—Théodat lake and Waswanipi lake). Learn more.

Webinars for Forest Authority, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi

Join the Weston Family Foundation and the Forest Authority of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi to learn about their research priorities! This webinar is part of the Weston Family Foundation’s Community Partnerships in Research Grants.

Featuring:

  • Michel Arès, Senior Technologist, Forest Authority, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi
  • Hyldane Boucard, Biologist, Forest Authority, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi
  • Élise Rioux-Paquette, Biologist, Forest Authority, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi
  • Ian Saganash, Land Keeper, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi

Watch the webinar below, in case you missed it!

Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute (CERRI) of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi

CERRI (Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute) is a community-based research organization under the Cree Nation of Chisasibi. Its goal is to build community capacity through science programs, applied research, and traditional ecological knowledge. The community determines CERRI’s research priorities, which are always linked to the Eeyou way of life. More info: www.cerri.ca

Assessing the distribution and types of coastal vegetation in Canada geese stop-over sites.

A study is needed to determine the relationships between terrestrial plant productivity and goose migration patterns, offering insights that could guide efforts to restore these high-value habitats and critical components of northern biodiversity. The study involves mapping berry fields, heaths, and wetlands and measuring their levels of productivity and quality.

Microbiome of James Bay eelgrass.

Eelgrass, crucial for the marine ecosystem and migratory waterfowl, is facing a decline due to various stressors, possibly including microbial infections. A study is needed on how microbial communities might be contributing to the ongoing decline and lack of recovery of eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in James Bay.

Learn more about the CERRI research priorities.

Webinars for Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute (CERRI)

Join the Weston Family Foundation and the Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute (CERRI) to learn about their research priorities! This webinar is part of the Weston Family Foundation’s Community Partnerships in Research Fund.

Featuring:

  • Dr. Dante Torio, Marine Biologist/Spatial Ecologist, Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute, Cree Nation of Chisasibi
  • Clara Rogers, Assistant researcher, Chisasibi Eeyou Resource and Research Institute, Cree Nation of Chisasibi

Dates:

April 16th at 2:00-3:00pm (EST) – register here now!         
April 25th at 2:00-3:00pm EST – register here now!

Proof-of-Principle 2024: Microbial biomarkers of disease and therapeutic response

Program Overview

The Weston Family Foundation, through its Proof-of-Principle program, funds Canadian scientists performing high-risk, high-reward translational research that leverages the microbiome towards improving human health.

Biomarkers are a critical component of modern healthcare, with diverse applications in disease prevention, detection and monitoring, as well as therapeutic development. They are poised to play an increasingly important role in personalized medicine, providing means to estimate an individual’s disease risk and prognosis, and predict and monitor an individual’s response to a given therapy.

Emerging research suggests that the microbiome is a potentially understudied source for biomarkers that holds significant potential for predicting and understanding individual responses to therapeutic or preventative strategies. Consequently, there may be opportunities to manipulate or target the microbiome to enhance an individual’s response to these strategies. 

The Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a new funding opportunity to address these key areas in microbiome research. The Proof-of-Principle 2024 program aims to support high-impact projects that seek to identify, validate, or apply microbiome-based biomarkers of disease and therapeutic response.

Eligible projects will:

  • Evaluate compositional or functional microbiome biomarkers.
  • Build on established responder/non-responder phenotypes towards the optimization of therapeutic or preventative strategies.

Please refer to the Program Details for a full description.

Funding available per project: Up to $300,000 over a maximum of 30 months.

Important dates:

  • Program information session:  May 1, 2024 register here or May 7, 2024 register here
  • Letter of Intent deadline: June 4, 2024 apply here
  • Award announcement: October 2024

For more information about this program, including details on project and applicant eligibility, Foundation definitions, program review criteria and expected project outcomes, please see the relevant documents below.

We welcome you to contact us with any program related inquiries. Please send your questions to microbiome@westonfoundation.ca.

Relevant Documents

Rapid Response 2024 program

Program Overview

Letter of Intent deadline: April 30, 2024, at 2:00pm EST

The Weston Family Foundation aims to catalyze and scale science-based approaches to significantly improve the health and well-being of Canadians. The Foundation takes a leadership role in tackling large problems that are under-addressed by supporting research that is particularly relevant to the health of Canadians and that empowers Canadians to improve their health and wellbeing.

The Foundation, through its Weston Brain Institute is pleased to announce the re-launch of our flagship Rapid Response program designed to provide seed funding to catalyze novel, high-risk, high-reward translational research that accelerates the development of therapeutics or tools for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Program details:

Eligible projects should:

  • Be translational research that can accelerate therapeutic or tool development for neurodegenerative diseases of aging (NDAs), as defined by the Institute.
    • Therapeutics should address unmet needs in the prevention, treatment and/or symptomatic management of NDAs.
    • Tools should address challenges in translational research to accelerate the development and/or clinical implementation of therapeutics for NDAs (e.g., biomarkers, drug delivery systems). Projects covering only the discovery/identification of a tool are considered out of scope.
  • Have preliminary data to support the hypothesis and feasibility of the project.

Funding available per project: Up to $300,000 over 18-24 months.

Important dates:

  • Program information session: April 2, 2024 at 1pm ET – Register Here
  • Letter of Intent deadline: April 30, 2024
  • Award announcement: November 2024

For more information about this program, including details on project and applicant eligibility, institute definitions (for translational research, NDAs, therapeutics, tools), program review criteria and expected project outcomes, please see the relevant documents below.

We welcome you to contact us with any program-related inquiries including questions about the eligibility or fit of your project. Please send your questions to Teenu Sanjeevan, Senior Program Manager, at teenu.sanjeevan@westonfoundation.ca

Relevant documents:

Weston Family Awards in Northern Research 2024 Competition Now closed

Program Overview

Since 2007, the Weston Family Awards in Northern Research have provided unparalleled support to early career scientists in Canada pursuing research in Canada’s North. These annual awards are some of the most prestigious in the country for students pursuing a master’s degree, a doctoral degree or postdoctoral fellowship. Over 350 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have been selected to receive an award since the program’s inception, forming a community of Weston Family Northern Scientists who are at the forefront of northern scholarship and who are helping shape a better future for Canada and the world.

Weston Family Awards in Northern Research winners undertake projects across a broad spectrum of fields and disciplines in the natural sciences, including studies of northern ecosystems, biodiversity, flora and fauna, meteorology, oceanography, glaciology, geography and environmental studies.

In the 2024 program year, the Weston Family Foundation will aim to support the following awards:

  • Up to 15 awards for master’s level students. Each award is valued at $20,000 over one year.
  • Up to 10 awards for doctoral students. Each award is valued at $40,000 each year for three years.
  • Up to 5 awards for postdoctoral fellows. Each award is valued at $55,000 each year for two years plus up to $10,000 per year for travel and conference expenses.

Important Dates

  • October 26th – 2024 contest opens
  • November 22nd – informational webinar (register here!)
  • January 16th, 2024 – contest closes
  • May, 2024 – Awardees will be contacted

Proof-of-Principle 2023: The Microbiome and Precision Nutrition

Program Overview

The Weston Family Foundation, through its Proof-of-Principle program, funds Canadian scientists performing high-risk, high-reward translational research that leverages the microbiome towards improving human health.

The human body is host to trillions of microbes. Research suggests that these organisms play important roles in health and disease and have a profound bearing on nutrition. The Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of a new funding opportunity. The Proof-of-Principle 2023 program will support high-impact projects that seek to leverage the microbiome to maximize the health benefits of precision nutrition.

Eligibile projects will:

  • Leverage the microbiome to maximize the benefits of nutrition in people.
  • Evaluate microbiome heterogeneity and how it impacts nutrient metabolism in humans.

Please refer to the Program Details for a full description.

Funding available per project: Up to $300,000 over a maximum of 30 months.

Important dates:

  • Program information session:  June 14, register here or July 5, 2023 register here
  • Letter of Intent deadline: August 1, 2023 apply here
  • Award announcement: November 2023

For more information about this program, including details on project and applicant eligibility, Foundation definitions, program review criteria and expected project outcomes, please see the relevant documents below.

We welcome you to contact us with any program related inquiries. Please send your questions to microbiome@westonfoundation.ca.

Relevant Documents

Brain Health: Sleep 2023 program

Program Overview

The Weston Family Foundation, through the Weston Brain Institute, aims to catalyze and scale science-based approaches to significantly improve the health and well-being of Canadians. There is growing evidence that making key lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of brain diseases of aging and slow cognitive decline. 

The Institute is pleased to announce the launch of a new funding opportunity. The Brain Health: Sleep 2023 program seeks to reduce the risk and/or slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases of aging by accelerating the development of healthy lifestyle approaches relating to sleep.

Project Eligibility:

  • Observational or interventional studies that accelerate the development of sleep-based strategies to improve brain-related outcome measures relevant to (or associated with) neurodegenerative diseases of aging. Projects should generate the evidence-base for the future implementation of better therapeutic interventions, guidelines, and recommendations on sleep.
  • Preliminary data is required for this program.

Please refer to the Program Details for a full description.

Funding available per project: Up to $1,200,000 over 3 years.

Important dates:

  • Program information session:  April 25 or June 6, 2023
  • Letter of Intent deadline: July 11, 2023
  • Award announcement: March 2024

For more information about this program, including details on project and applicant eligibility, institute definitions, program review criteria and expected project outcomes, please see the relevant documents below.

We welcome you to contact us with any program related inquiries. Please send your questions to Rene Prashad, Senior Program Manager, rene.prashad@westonfoundation.ca

Relevant Documents

Weston Family Soil Health Initiative

Program Overview

Loss of biodiversity on agricultural lands is occurring at an unprecedented rate due to agricultural intensification and habitat loss. Research shows that Canada’s agricultural lands offer an immediate and large-scale opportunity to mitigate further biodiversity losses, and by promoting and increasing soil organic matter, we can help support more adaptive and resilient agricultural lands.

Goal: The initiative seeks to expand the adoption of ecologically-based beneficial management practices (BMPs) that increase soil organic matter in order to improve biodiversity and resiliency on agricultural lands across Canada. The LOIs will allow the Foundation to understand the opportunities and comprehensive project ideas that currently exist, in order to build an informed framework for the proposal phase.

The initiative’s goal will be supported by the Foundation’s longer-term strategy which is comprised of catalyzing and shepherding ‘winning approaches’, to ultimately scaling projects with the greatest opportunities for impact. Successful applicants who meet the defined selection criteria within the LOI will be invited to submit full proposals.

Strategy: The initiative aims to increase the number of agricultural producers using BMPs that are scientifically proven to help increase soil organic matter on farmland. Through multi-year investments, the initiative aims to promote a behavioural shift towards the wider acceptance and adoption of the following BMPs:

  • Cover Cropping;
  • Nutrient Management (4R Principles); and
  • Crop Diversification/ Rotation.

Project Eligibility: Our strategy is designed to test which of the following approaches maximize the adoption rate of the desired BMPs in an efficient and scalable manner. Eligible approaches include:

  1. Incentivizing Stewardship: Projects which incentivize producers to adopt one or more of the identified BMPs (e.g. reverse auctions, community-based models).
  2. Outreach/Education and Training: Projects which increase access to, share technical knowledge of, and train producers on the identified BMPs.
  3. Sustainability Certification/Standard: A project which aims to establish a sustainable farmland management certification/standard at scale.

Funding: The timeframe for this ‘spark phase’ will run 3-5 years in length with a total funding envelope of $10M.

Proof-of-Principle 2021

This funding opportunity will provide research grants of up to $300,000 over a maximum of 24 months to support high-impact projects that pursue translational or interventional research regarding the microbiome’s influence on brain health, or via the interactions between diet, nutrition, and the microbiome.


Please refer to the Program Details and Request for Applications (RFA) for more information and details on how to apply.

Program Overview

Goal: To provide funding to innovative projects that seek to leverage the microbiome to deliver new translational interventions or preventative strategies for improving health. This includes modifying, manipulating, or exploiting the microbiome to confer immune benefits or treat diseases, with a focus on brain health and diet & nutrition.

Funding: Up to $300,000 per project over up to 24 months. The Foundation will commit up to ~ $3,000,000 to projects selected through this program (approximately 10 projects).

Project Eligibility:

  • Develop a new microbiome intervention or preventative strategy for improving brain health; OR
  • Leverage the microbiome to maximize the benefits of diet and nutrition.
  • Full definitions can be found in the Program Details document.

Application Process

  1. Confirm intent to apply by emailing microbiome@westonfoundation.ca
  2. Submit a completed Letter of Intent (see template below) via westonfdn.smartsimple.ca

Important dates

Information Webinar: August 3, 2021 (register here) & August 5, 2021 (register here) @ 3:00pm ET
LOI deadline: August 31, 2021 @ 2:00pm ET
Proposal deadline: October 22, 2021 @ 2:00 pm ET
Anticipated award announcement: December 2021

Catalyst 2020

This funding opportunity will provide research grants of up to $450,000 over a maximum of 36 months to support early-career researchers in undertaking highly innovative projects in the microbiome sciences.

Please refer to the Program Details and Request for Applications (RFA) for more information and details on how to apply.

Program Overview

Goal: To accelerate the development and application of new technologies and approaches that leverage the microbiome to improve health.

Funding: Up to $450,000 per project over up to 36 months. $1.8 million (approx. 4 projects) total.

Applicant Eligibility: Lead by an early career researcher (<5 years active) at the level of assistant professor or higher) for the tenure of the award.

Project Eligibility:

  • Conduct translational research and development focused on delivering new microbiome-based health strategies or implementation studies focused on the application and adoption of microbiome-based health strategies.
  • Strive to develop a new recommendation, intervention, technology, system or preventative strategy that improves health by leveraging the microbiome.
  • Be in any relevant discipline including biomedical, dietary, engineering, information technology, social science, etc.
  • Full definitions can be found in the Program Details document.

Application Process

  1. Confirm intent to apply by emailing microbiome@westonfoundation.ca
  2. Submit a completed Letter of Intent (see template below)

Important dates

Information Webinar: October 2nd, 13th, 2020 @ 1:00pm EST (register here)
LOI deadline: Rolling, final submission Nov 30th, 2020 @ 2:00pm EST
Proposal deadline: Rolling (5 week period for submission)
Anticipated award notification: Rolling

Transformational Research: Canada 2020

Neurodegenerative diseases of aging are among the least understood and most undertreated diseases today. If ignored, the social and economic costs of managing these diseases will continue to rise. Meeting these challenges requires pioneering approaches to accelerating treatments.

The Transformational Research: Canada program funds transformative, novel, high-risk, high-reward translational research projects. Projects can be from $300,000 to $1,500,000.

*The deadline for submitting applications to the Transformational Research: Canada 2020 program has now passed*

To see the results of the program and grantees awarded, please visit: Nearly $10 million in grants awarded to neuroscience researchers across Canada.

Continuing for 2020

  • For the Transformational Research: Canada 2019 program, no preliminary data is required; instead it can be collected as an initial milestone with well defined, quantifiable go/no-go criteria. The structure of the project and budget should match the quality of the preliminary data.
  • Expanding the type of complementary approaches eligible for funding to other lifestyle interventions including but not limited to: speech therapy, cognitive therapy, music therapy, social interaction, if these applications meet our other scope criteria and have specific supportive evidence/justification (from published literature or unpublished data) to warrant further investigation.
  • Encouraging applications that bring in other fields such as: AI, big data, machine learning, data science, and computer science.

Program Overview

Goal: To provide funding for translational research that will accelerate the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Funding:  A maximum of $1,500,000 over up to 3 years per project. Encouraging applications at all funding levels from $300,000 to $1,500,000, without need for preliminary data.

Applicant Eligibility: Eligible Principal Applicants must be researchers working in Canada at least 30% of the time at or above the level of Assistant Professor or equivalent, and be affiliated with a Canada Revenue Agency-qualified donee institution located in Canada. Co-Applicants/Collaborators must be at the post-doctoral level or above and can be working outside Canada.

Applicants may appear in any role on any number of projects.

Project Eligibility: Projects must meet the following conditions to be eligible:

  • Be translational research (excluding clinical trials and clinical trial sub-studies) that accelerates the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.
    • Clinical trials and clinical trial sub-studies should be submitted to the Early-Phase Clinical Trials or Rapid Response programs; however other translational research using humans or human samples/data is in scope.
  • Be the development of a therapeutic and/or tool and/or select complementary approaches (Please refer to the Program Details for more information on complementary approaches that are in scope.

The project structure (i.e. the frequency and detail of the go/no go milestones) and the quality of the preliminary data should commensurate with the size of budget. For example: A project requesting $1,500,000 for 3 years should have strong preliminary data and multiple go/no-go milestones, whereas a project requesting $300,000 could have minimal preliminary data and less frequent milestones.

Please refer to What We Fund for Institute definitions of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, translational research, therapeutic/tool, and complementary approaches.

Alzheimer’s & Related Diseases:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Vascular contributions to the above
  • Prodromes to the above

Parkinson’s & Related Diseases:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Vascular contributions to the above
  • Prodromes to the above

Application Process

The application process consists of two stages:

  1. Letters of Intent (LOIs)
  2. Proposals

An application requires the submission of a Letter of Intent which will be reviewed by our scientific review committee. Applicants with high potential projects will then be invited to submit a Proposal. Instructions for submitting the Proposal will be sent to those invited.

Program Documents

Program Details

Alzheimer’s & Related Diseases

Parkinson’s & Related Diseases

Important dates

Please note: Some deadlines for the Rapid Response: Canada 2020 program have been extended.

Alzheimer’s & Related Diseases:Parkinson’s & Related Diseases:
Online applications open:February 5, 2020February 5, 2020
LOI deadline:
March 27, 2020 
April 24, 2020 at 2:00pm ET
April 30, 2020 
June 4, 2020 at 2:00pm ET
Proposal deadline:
August 5, 2020 
August 20, 2020 at 2:00pm ET
September 22, 2020 
October 13, 2020 at 2:00pm ET
Anticipated award notification:October 2020December 2020

Program Information Webinar

The Institute will hold a Program Information Webinar for each disease focus, to provide further details on the program and answer any questions. However, if you have questions specific to your project (e.g., project scope), we encourage you to contact us.

Alzheimer’s & Related Diseases: February 24, 2020 at 1:00pm ET
The webinar has passed.

Parkinson’s & Related Diseases: March 20, 2020 at 1:00pm ET
The webinar has passed.