Funding Opportunity

CCS Data Transformation Grants

Important Dates

(NEW) Full application deadline extended: May 1st, 2024 by 5:00 pm EDT/EST
Workshop – networking*: 
January 26, 2024
Submission opens:
January 24, 2024
Abstract registrations (non-competitive) due:
February 21, 2024
Full applications due:
Extended to May 1, 2024 by 5pm EDT/EST
Grant start date:
September 1, 2024
* From 1:30pm to 5:00pm EST/EDT. Register for workshop using the link above.  


Over many decades Canada has invested in the collection of cancer data through registries, medical records and research studies. Despite continued investments and new initiatives, there have been growing concerns about the ability to link datasets and the comprehensiveness of linked datasets, challenges regarding timely access to data for reporting and further research, and the quality and completeness of the data being collected. 

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), in collaboration with the broader cancer community, have released a pan-Canadian cancer data strategy with the mission of inspiring and supporting the mobilization of data to improve cancer care1 access, experience and outcomes in Canada. Through extensive collaboration with partners across the cancer control community2, the strategy has identified three priorities for action and investment to advance the data strategy and improve cancer data in Canada. 

Improve the efficiency, timeliness and quality of data capture and access
  • Advancing this priority will make it easier to capture data in current systems and to access data that has already been collected
Enhance linkages to current data
  • Advancing this priority will improve the ability to draw on data from multiple (federated) sources by enhancing interoperability, promoting use of standardized identifiers and ensure various data holdings are accessible and ready for analysis
Fill gaps in current data collection and make data accessible for linkage and analysis
  • Advancing this priority will make data available about individuals seeking care across the cancer control continuum and about important parts of the cancer experience not represented in current data sets 

First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners were engaged in the development of the cancer data strategy. Along with the priorities and actions outlined, the cancer data strategy highlights the importance of supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis-governed data and data systems to build capacity for improved cancer data.

The strategy recommends specific actions to advance each priority. As part of implementing this strategy, CCS is looking to support short and mid-term projects that demonstrate potential solutions, addressing one or more of the priorities, that can be scaled and sustained to meet the vision of enhanced data collection, integration and use leading to improved cancer care1 and outcomes for all people in Canada.

The intent of this program is to engage and bring together the data community and support pilot projects or implementation of successful pilot initiatives, that have the potential to solve issues in cancer data. CCS will promote innovations that have the potential to be instrumental in improving cancer data in Canada, ultimately leading to more equitable and timely access to innovative and affordable, high-quality cancer care.

For the purposes of the strategy and this research program, care refers to and includes all aspects of the cancer experience from prevention, early detection and screening, through diagnosis and treatment, supportive and palliative care, into recovery and survivorship, as well as end-of-life care.
The cancer data strategy was developed in collaboration with a wide range of cancer system partners, including patient and family advisors and people with lived cancer experience, First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, cancer system leaders, research organizations and funders, provincial and territorial cancer agencies and registries, and pan-Canadian health organizations.

Program description

We are seeking proposals for projects that employ novel approaches to enhance the collection, integration and use of cancer data in Canada. Projects funded should demonstrate specific actions that can be scaled and sustained to improve the cancer data ecosystem in Canada. These may be pilot or proof-of-concept projects that show incremental progress towards one of these three priorities or full-scale, implementation studies having completed a successful pilot that are aligned with the identified priorities in the cancer data strategy. For the purpose of this call, cancer data is being defined as either patient data or population-based data related to cancer.    

Projects that focus on solutions to other issues related to cancer data are eligible, as long as the issue being addressed is justified in the application and addresses concerns related to accessibility, completeness, quality and/or timeliness of cancer data in Canada.  

Funded projects must:
  • Test or implement an innovative solution to an urgent data challenge impacting cancer data and cancer care

  • Focus on work that will bring more value to existing data

  • Have the potential to create a more integrated approach to cancer data management

  • Be able to readily access any required datasets or be evaluating a novel approach to overcoming data access concerns

  • Articulate clear plans for knowledge translation, scalability and sustainability that have a high likelihood for success

  • Begin delivering insights within 6-24 months of project commencement, commensurate to support received.

Ideally, funded projects will also:
  • Support enhanced understanding of impacts of cancer on underserved populations

  • Serve the current and future needs of cancer communities by improving capacity to respond to future health crises with agile planning

  • Benefit people with cancer or at-risk of developing cancer.

Applications are invited from individuals or teams working in health care, academia or at other institutions (including cancer agencies and registries, government) with expertise in data in Canada. CCS is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and strives to promote inclusive excellence in its research programs. We welcome proposals that tackle issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion.

To increase diverse representation in our cancer research and data ecosystem and in alignment with the cancer data strategy, we support and encourage applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis applicants and organizations.

We will not provide support for the following:
  • Proposals that do not involve clearly defined cancer datasets

  • Proposals that aim solely to collect and/or generate new data without addressing specific actions under the cancer data strategy priorities and linking to existing cancer datasets, with the exception of missing data (e.g., stratifiers) required for linking or increasing interoperability of datasets.

Funds available

CCS intends to support at least one project focused on each of the three priorities for action and investment, as outlined in the cancer data strategy.

Funding will be provided to support the direct costs of the project, including supplies and software, eligible salaries, equipment, and research data center access fees associated with the proposed work. Equipment requests cannot exceed 15% of the requested budget. Indirect costs are not eligible. Please consult our grant expense policies when creating your budget.

Total Budget*:

Approximately $2.6M

1 to 2 year period (proof-of-concept, pilot)

Up to $125,000 total (~6 grants)

3-year period (post pilot, full scale study) **

Up to $150,000 per year (~4 grants)

Successful applications must fall within the fundable range for CCS awards (>3.5).

 * Additional partners or access to additional funds may increase this number.
** At the discretion of CCS, payment of subsequent years may be conditional on reaching milestones, as outlined in the feasibility section of the Full Application and part of the timelines propose

Additional Information

Principal applicants to this program must either:

  • Hold a leadership position in a non-profit or governmental organization whose mandate includes cancer data or cancer care,
  • Hold an academic appointment at an eligible Canadian host institution.

A Principal Applicant who meets the eligibility criteria, and a team with the appropriate expertise and experience, including with the proposed methodology, the evidence-based intervention (where relevant), and with the community being engaged, are eligible to apply. CCS encourages multidisciplinary teams to apply or coordinate submissions.

To achieve this goal, it is recommended that team members are drawn from the following categories to fill gaps in expertise and/or resources. An ideal team would include:

  • Implementers and decision-makers (e.g. cancer agency and registry leaders and staff, healthcare administrators, community-based or other practitioners, policy makers) must be integrally involved from the outset of the project and must demonstrate their interest in, and commitment to, implementation (through cash or in-kind contributions, letters of support detailing relevance, value and use of findings)
  • Patients/Survivors/Caregivers with lived experience
  • Health professionals with experience collecting relevant data
  • For applications involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis-governed data and data systems, the Principal applicant or co-Principal applicant must self-identify as Indigenous or engage (an) Indigenous Elder(s) or Knowledge Keeper(s) to provide evidence of meaningful and culturally safe engagement with Indigenous communities.
  • Identified champions, when relevant, in each province or territory involved to streamline efficiency and support feasibility and implementation. Support from champions should be demonstrated through letters of support or participation as knowledge users on the team.

For-profit entities are not eligible to apply. If you have questions regarding eligibility contact
Please review the application guide prior to submitting an application.
Contact with any questions.

CCS is committed to equity, diversity, inclusivity, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples rights. We strive to build inclusive and diverse capacity in the cancer research ecosystem through both policies and practices, and aim to equitably support applicants with diverse expertise, experiences and narratives.

We recognize that structural racism and discrimination exists in the research ecosystem, and as we move to examine and dismantle these practices, we seek to learn from the resilience, wisdom and diversity of other perspectives. We commit to examining biases, seeking inclusive solutions and acknowledging the discomfort that comes with systemic and structural change. We commit to advancing equity, diversity and inclusive practices and principles, including learning about and applying decolonizing and anti-racist approaches. We welcome and encourage eligible applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply for our funding opportunities and commit to diversity on our review panels.

Applications are strongly encouraged to demonstrate meaningful patient and stakeholder engagement in proposal development, implementation, and/or dissemination of findings. Engagement can mean many things, and all types of research can benefit from different perspectives. We have compiled resources on our website to help inform and guide the engagement process. These include a wide range of resources developed and offered by the CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) support units, but also articles on engagement in different types of research. We recognize that patient and stakeholder engagement will look different for different types of research and encourage both broader forms of engagement (as part of an overall research or learning program/strategy) as well as creativity in devising engagement strategies.

CCS will coordinate an informational webinar with potential applicants to provide information on the competition and explore collaborations across jurisdictions and interested teams. To foster multidisciplinary and cross-jurisdictional collaboration, interested applicants will be able to introduce themselves and their project idea or priority of focus from the cancer data strategy that they wish to address within the project. Teams will be able to present a brief summary of their proposed project during the workshop for input and collaboration opportunities.

In alignment with the cancer data strategy, this workshop aims to connect teams and foster collaboration, ultimately driving collective action to support enhancement of the pan-Canadian cancer data ecosystem as well as support First Nations, Inuit and Métis-led initiatives to build capacity for improved cancer data through respectful relationships built on reciprocity and trust.

The expert review committee will be composed of a diverse (gender, geography, career stage, race) group of scientists, end users and patient/survivor/caregiver reviewers with expertise relevant to the submitted applications (see review criteria below for more information).

Projects will be scored using two sets of review criteria, scientific merit (SM) and Relevance & Potential Impact (RPI). Patient/Survivor/Caregiver reviewers will be included in the review process. All projects must score as fundable (>3.5) on both the SM and RPI scale and then projects will be ranked by the overall score. Please refer to the application guide and rating scales when preparing an application.

Abstract registration is non-competitive but mandatory to help inform the review panel composition. Principal Investigators and team members can submit any number of projects to this competition.

Abstract registration includes:

  1. Applicant(s) and (known) team details (Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PIs, Co-Applicants, Additional Authors, Patients/Survivors/Caregivers, Implementers/Decision-makers, Collaborators, etc.)
  2. Project title
  3. A Technical Abstract that describes the rationale, objectives/aims, methods and anticipated results and potential impact of the project (4200 characters, spaces included)
  4. A Public Summary that describes (in plain language understandable to a non-scientist) why this work is important (rationale); the goal or purpose of the project (objectives/aims); the project plan (methods); and the anticipated results and potential impact of the project (2000 characters, spaces included)
  5. A Relevance Statement that clearly articulates how the project is relevant to the pan-Canadian Cancer Data Strategy’s vision to enhance the collection, integration and use of cancer data to improve cancer care and outcomes for all people in Canada. The progress to be made during the course of this grant, as well as next steps should the project be successful in achieving its aims should be described (including an estimated time frame to impact), as well as how this will be meaningful to people affected by or at risk of cancer (2500 characters, spaces included).
  6. Keywords
  7. Suggested reviewers

Please consult the abstract registration guide for additional details. Substantive changes that significantly alter the overall goals and aims of the proposal relative to the abstract registration are not permitted.

Please review the application guide prior to submitting your application for specific instructions. When preparing the full application, the following additional information is required:

  1. Team member CVs or Letters of Support
  2. Public summary
  3. A relevance statement written in non-technical language.
  4. A scientific technical abstract (and non-confidential abstract)
  5. A detailed scientific proposal (21, 000 characters, spaces included) including overall goal and aims of the project, supporting evidence, methodology and analysis (including alternative approaches and mitigation of risks), anticipated results and potential impact of the project.
    1. Overall goal and aim(s) of the project
    2. Methodology and analysis (inclusion of sex, gender, and other dimensions of diversity (SGBA+) must be considered and included).A brief description of previous work done in the area of research may be included.
    3. A description of the data management plan (how data will be collected, documented, protected, and shared, with consideration for the First Nations Principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) where relevant)
    4. Risk and mitigation strategies related to feasibility of completing project, as well as future use of findings and/or next steps for scale-up or implementation for proof-of-concept pilot projects.
    5. A description of how patient/survivor/caregiver and other relevant stakeholders will be engaged in the project as partners and if applicable, as participants.
    6. If relevant, a description of broader implementation of the project for scaling up.
  6. OPTIONAL: Attach and appropriately label figures, graphs, charts, and legends in PDF format (maximum of 1 page total. For the file name, please use the following format: [lastname_firstname-figures]
  7. A description of knowledge translation and mobilization strategies (2000 characters, spaces included). Describe how the knowledge generated through these grants will be shared and/or mobilized, including details of steps you will take to facilitate scalability and sustainability of the projects. Activities beyond publications or presentations are strongly encouraged (e.g. through engagement of end-users early on to ensure utility). Public and/or patient engagement strategies (including co-design where appropriate) are encouraged. Equitable access to results should be considered (as relevant).
  8. Key milestones & expected timelines (1 page). Clearly outline key activities and milestones for the project term, including timelines or target dates. Gantt chart format is recommended.
  9. Evidence of access to any required data repositories (e.g., letter of permission, data sharing agreement) must be provided
  10. Considerations regarding sex and/or gender and/or dimensions of diversity and their intersectionalities in the project design
  11. Terms of reference Detailing the team members, including which member(s) of the project team will be responsible for which aspect of the project and a rationale for their inclusion in the project are required. Consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion principles in the composition of project team must be evident.
  12. Budget: A detailed budget and justification providing rationale for the requested consumables, personnel, and equipment associated with the project. Details must include the number of personnel required to complete the work, a description of their experience and/or education level, and their time commitment to the project. Investigators will also be requested to indicate which provinces will receive funds from the project.

It is understood that applications may also be made to other agencies to provide support for grants/programs similar to those submitted to CCS. For this competition, duplicate applications submitted to CCS and other agencies will be accepted, but budgetary overlap will not be permitted at the funding stage.

Applicants are reminded to review the Eligibility and requirements section for details on scientific and financial reporting, funder acknowledgement, Canadian Cancer Society policies on open access and tobacco related funding.

All grant recipients must submit annual progress reports and statements of account throughout the grant (and 2 years post-grant for progress reports). For the 3-year implementation grants, Principal Investigators will need to show proof of achieving or significant progress toward milestones, as outlined in the Full Application and timelines, to be eligible for continued funding. Principal Investigators will be emailed instructions about completing the report in our online system (EGrAMs). Submission of these reports is mandatory. Failure to submit the required reports will result in the future installments of a grant being withheld.