CCS Accelerator Grants - Fast-tracking changes that matter for people affected by cancer
Highlights of the program
This program aims to support 1-2 year research grants that will accelerate the application of high-quality evidence that addresses an unmet need and is meaningful to people affected by cancer.
The ability to move cancer research findings into practice, for the benefit of those affected by cancer, is the goal driving most research questions. CCS is not only a cancer research funder, but also plays critical information, support and advocacy roles within the Canadian cancer ecosystem, with the goal of saving and improving the lives of people affected by cancer. With the recent launch of the Centre for Cancer Prevention and Support (CCPS), our ability to coalesce research results with our mission work to drive impact more effectively is enhanced. The Canadian Cancer Society’s (CCS) forthcoming research strategy aims to put people at its core and deliver results that will significantly improve the outlook for people affected by cancer in Canada by 2040. To achieve this, we are committed to investing in research that will drive accelerated progress beyond academia, identifying and filling the critical gaps that exist, and applying current knowledge about what we know works.
Program description @(Model.HeadingTag)>
The overarching goal of this funding program is to accelerate the application of high-quality evidence that is meaningful to people affected by cancer in the near term (i.e. 2-5 years). In other words, this funding opportunity is intended to stimulate the implementation of evidence-based programs, practices, and policies (i.e. interventions), within 2-5 years, that will improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
The ultimate objective of an application to this funding opportunity should be to fill a critical gap and demonstrate relevance to a cancer-affected population (people at risk of cancer, patients, caregivers, survivors, etc.). This program requires teams to be inclusive of relevant stakeholders and adopt a co-creation/co-production approach to the research. The application must clearly address the relevant population’s needs and take into consideration specific intersections (e.g. geographic, economic, racial) as appropriate.
Applications must be relevant to at least one of the following goals:
- Preventing cancer in Canada
- Detecting and diagnosing cancer earlier in Canada
- Enhancing the duration and quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer in Canada
- Increasing the number of people in Canada who have equitable access to timely, affordable, and high-quality cancer prevention and/or care
Through CCS Accelerator Grants, we will support research that addresses one of the following:
- Synthesis Grants: Applications that aim to synthesize existing evidence (both qualitative and quantitative) to conclusively identify unmet cancer-related needs, identify research gaps, or to pool existing evidence to determine implementation strategy effectiveness. The expectation is that funded syntheses would contribute to informing decisions about programs, procedures, practices, or policies that will be meaningful to people affected by cancer.
- Implementation Science Grants: Applications that aim to identify, assess, develop and evaluate strategies that can influence the adoption, implementation and sustainment of validated, efficacious, reproducible, and needed evidence-based interventions - including programs, practice guidelines and policies (or conversely, de-implementation of ineffective, contradicted, mixed, and untested (i.e. potentially harmful) health interventions)
Note that any syntheses or implementation strategies (including tools, tactics, or frameworks) developed through this program must be made freely available for use by others.
Research teams must include relevant stakeholders as integral members of the team:
- A Principal Investigator who meets the eligibility criteria, and a research team with the appropriate expertise and experience, including with the proposed methodology, the evidence-based intervention (where relevant), and with the community being engaged
- Patients/Survivors/Caregivers – that is, representatives of affected populations (e.g. people at risk of cancer, patients, caregivers, survivors, etc.) must be integrally involved (i.e. through integrated knowledge translation, participatory, and co-creation methodologies) from the outset and should be reflective of the intended recipients of the (eventual – for synthesis grants) evidence-based practice or intervention. Characteristics and intersections of sub-populations should be carefully considered to ensure fair representation. Teams may consult the CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research – Patient Engagement Framework for guidance on meaningful engagement.
- Implementers and decision-makers – the individuals who will (ultimately) be implementing the evidence-based practice (e.g. healthcare, 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 value and use of research findings). Where relevant, implementers and decision-makers may hold the role of Co-PI.
- For applications involving First Nations, Inuit, Métis and/or Urban Indigenous communities, the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator must self-identify as Indigenous or provide evidence of meaningful and culturally safe engagement with Indigenous communities. The involvement of Indigenous Elders and/or Knowledge Keepers is encouraged.
- Involvement of CCS Mission staff (see below for details). Researchers interested in connecting with CCS mission leaders can email email@example.com to begin a dialogue. Note that engagement of CCS staff in grant applications will not influence the peer review process.
- A detailed Terms of Reference for all members of the team will be required as part of the application process and regular check-ins by CCS staff throughout the duration of funding will confirm appropriate engagement of stakeholders.
Examples of eligible projects include (but are not limited to):
- A synthesis of models of post-treatment cancer survivorship care in low-income communities in Canada
- Development, implementation, and evaluation of a community engagement strategy to enhance uptake of colorectal cancer screening in a rural population
- Development, implementation, and evaluation of a training program for clinicians to adopt a clinical practice guideline for lung cancer patients
- Development, implementation, and evaluation of a tool to de-implement routine (primary) Pap testing in favour of HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in women 30-65 (US example)
Implementation science grants may not be used to develop, adapt, or test the effectiveness of clinical or other interventions themselves. Synthesis grants can be used to determine the effectiveness of existing clinical or other interventions.
- Funding will be available for:
- Up to $100k per synthesis grant over 1-2 yrs (max $50k/yr)
- Up to $200k per implementation science grant over 1-2 yrs (max $100k/yr)
- Up to $1.6M may be awarded in this funding envelope.
- Funding will be provided to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, expenses, wages, stakeholder engagement (where eligible) (including ceremonial items for feasting and gift-giving for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples), and equipment associated with the proposed work. Indirect costs will not be considered eligible expenses. Permanent equipment requests cannot exceed 10% of requested budget.
Review CCS’s Financial Administration policy for details of eligible and non-eligible expenses.
Interested applicants may also approach CCS mission leaders (in information, support, advocacy and/or CCPS) to explore mutually beneficial opportunities to leverage the following CCS mission priority areas:
- Tobacco/vaping initiation/cessation for at risk populations
- Cancer risk and alcohol use
- Cancer risk and physical inactivity for at risk populations
- Cancer risk and nutrition for at risk populations
- Cancer risk and sun/UVR protection for at risk populations
- First Nations, Inuit & Metis (FNIM) and cancer prevention
- Mental health and cancer
- Virtual care for underserved populations
- Cancer data in underserved populations
- Access to treatment
- Access to cancer information and cancer community supports for patients and caregivers from underserved populations (priority communities) including:
- Cancer survivors
- Advanced cancers
- Adolescents and young adults with cancer (AYA)
- Older adults
- Black and racialized patients
- Financial and geographic barriers
Researchers interested in connecting with CCS mission leaders can email firstname.lastname@example.org to begin a dialogue. Note that engagement of CCS staff in grant applications will not influence the peer review process.
The peer review committee will be composed of diverse (gender, geography, expertise, career stage, race) scientific reviewers who will evaluate the scientific merit of the applications; patient/survivor/caregiver reviewers who will evaluate the relevance of the applications to cancer and meaningful involvement of relevant stakeholders; and end-user/decision-maker reviewers who will evaluate the need for implementation of, and commitment of relevant team members to implement, the evidence-based program, practice, or policy (see review criteria below for more information).
Please review the application guide prior to submitting your abstract. An abstract registration stage is mandatory to confirm project eligibility and inform the composition of the review panel. A maximum of one application per Principal Investigator is permitted in this competition (applicants may be listed as Co-PIs on multiple applications).
Abstract registration includes:
- Applicant details (Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PIs, Co-Applicants, Additional Authors, Patients/Survivors/Caregivers, Implementers/Decision-makers, and Collaborators)
- Scientific abstract
- Relevance statement (see below)
- Suggested reviewers
- Research tracking information
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. When preparing the full application, the following additional information is required:
- Public summary
- A statement that clearly articulates the relevance of the chosen topic to people affected by or at risk of cancer. What is the ultimate vision for the work proposed, and why is it meaningful? How have those affected contributed to the development of the research question and project? How will implementation (if relevant) be sustained?
- A scientific abstract (and non-confidential abstract)
- A detailed proposal (up to 5 pages) including overall goal and aims of the project, supporting evidence/rationale, study design, methods, and evaluation/analysis (including alternative approaches). Details of the team members including how team members are integrated into the work proposed must be included. Briefly describe how patient/survivor/caregiver and implementer/decision-maker stakeholders were recruited to the team, including whether relationships preceded the funding opportunity announcement. Consideration of accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in the composition of the research team must be evident. A description of the research environment where the work will take place is also required. An additional 2 pages of figures/tables/charts and associated legends are permitted.
- A description of how sex and/or gender and/or dimensions of diversity and their intersectionalities have been factored into the study design.
- Terms of Reference for all team members.
- A description of products anticipated to result from this program (including publications, tools, tactics, frameworks, educational materials, etc.). Include a high-level dissemination (and implementation) plan for how the results will be communicated with relevant audiences along with intended use. Include dissemination methodology/tactics to stakeholder communities if not included in the proposal.
- A detailed budget and justification providing rationale for the requested consumables, personnel (including stakeholders, where appropriate), and equipment associated with the research project. Consult SPOR guidance or contact CCS for additional information on patient partner remuneration.
There are three key areas being evaluated in this competition, with the weighting of the final score reflecting the distribution of reviewers on the panel (i.e. approximately 50% scientific reviewers; 25% patient/survivor/caregiver reviewers; 25% implementer/decision-maker reviewers). Relevant criteria is weighted within each reviewer type rating scale. Note that * denotes criteria specific to implementation science grants.
- Rationale and evidence for the proposed work is thorough and compelling (where relevant, evidence-based interventions are underpinned by randomized efficacy trials and effectiveness studies, are cited in systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, or are included in evidence summaries, such as clinical practice guidelines)
- Approach is well-described and feasible, with potential challenges and alternative solutions discussed
- Aims are clearly articulated (research question clearly articulated when relevant)
- Theories and/or frameworks guiding the study described and justified
- Sex, gender, and other dimensions of diversity (e.g. race, ethnicity) and their intersectionalities are appropriately addressed in the study design, methods, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of findings/outcomes
- Likelihood that anticipated results will be realized
- The term and amount of support requested is appropriate
- Evidence of need for implementation of an/the clinical or other intervention is demonstrated. What will be the benefit if this evidence is successfully implemented?
- Evidence that the intervention will be sustainable over the long-term*
- Specific communities have been appropriately considered - project will not exacerbate or place undue hardship and/or mitigating strategies have been described
- Likelihood that the project, as described, will generate outcomes that will be meaningful to people affected by cancer within 2-5 years
Research Team & Environment:
- Does the research team (including patient/survivor/caregiver and implementer/decision-maker stakeholders) possess all of the relevant expertise? Are the qualifications and expertise of the team members appropriate? Does the team possess the capacity (i.e. time) for the proposed project? Is any expertise ‘missing’?
- Have accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in team composition been considered?
- Is there sufficient (and fair) representation of affected populations (patient/survivor/caregiver stakeholders) on the research team?
- Has meaningful (i.e. co-creation) involvement been demonstrated with all members of the research team, and in particular affected community stakeholders?
- For projects involving First Nations, Inuit, Métis or Urban Indigenous communities – is there evidence of alignment with Indigenous principles of self-determination and self-governance such as the First Nations Principles of OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession), the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, or other relevant principles of Indigenous self-determination in research.
- Have implementers/decision-makers demonstrated a commitment to uptake/implementation and/or sustainability as relevant?
- Are the Terms of Reference clear and appropriate? Are roles and responsibilities clear, including time commitment and remuneration?
- Is the environment in which the research will take place appropriate?
All grant recipients must submit annual scientific reports and statements of account throughout the grant (and 2 years post-grant for scientific reports). 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.
CCS staff will conduct regular check-ins throughout the duration of funding that will include ensuring appropriate engagement of identified stakeholders.
Successful teams will participate in annual meetings to share learnings and outcomes with each other and relevant stakeholders, including CCS staff. The meetings may be designed as an in-person or virtual events, to be determined. Additional information will be shared closer to the meeting date. Teams may also be invited to join or participate in CCPS’ research networks.
Research applications may be related but cannot be identical to any other currently funded projects. It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify CCS immediately should substantial overlap arise from new funding awards during the application and review process of this competition.
Consult CCS eligibility and requirements. Review CCS requirements for Principal Investigators, their teams, and Host Institutions.