Data Transformation Grants

Highlights of the program

The Data Transformation Grant program will support projects that employ novel approaches to address concerns related to accessibility, completeness, quality, and/or timeliness of cancer data in Canada.

Deadline dates

Registration due date

November 8, 2021

Full application due date
January 17, 2022
Results announcement
March 2022
Anticipated funding start date
March 15, 2022
When a deadline falls on weekend or holiday, the next business day will be considered the deadline date.


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 quality of linked datasets, challenges regarding timely access to data for reporting and further research, and the quality and completeness of the data being collected. Many of these and other data issues have become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic with the urgent need to understand the impact of the pandemic on cancer care in real time.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), in collaboration with the broader cancer community, are developing a cancer data strategy that has identified accessibility, completeness, quality and timeliness as four pillars of improvement needed in cancer data in Canada. As part of the developmental work for the strategy, CCS is looking to support short-term projects that demonstrate potential solutions that can be scaled and sustained. The intent of this program is to engage the data community and support pilot projects 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.


Principal applicants to this program must either:

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

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.

Program description

We are seeking proposals for projects that employ novel approaches to address concerns related to accessibility, completeness, quality, and/or timeliness of cancer data in Canada. The projects funded through this mechanism 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 four pillars. For the purpose of this call, cancer data is being defined as either patient data or population-based data related to cancer.   

CCS intends to support at least one project focused on each of the four pillars. 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.

Funded projects must:

  • Test an innovative solution to an urgent challenge impacting cancer research and cancer care
  • Focus on work that will bring more value to existing data
  • Be able to readily access the datasets required
  • Deliver insights within 6-12 months of the grant award
  • Articulate clear plans for knowledge translation, scalability and sustainability that have a high likelihood for success

Ideally, funded projects will also:

  • Support enhanced understanding of impacts of cancer on marginalized populations
  • Serve the current and future needs of cancer communities by improving capacity to respond to future health crises with agile planning
  • Have the potential to create a more integrated approach to cancer data management
  • 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 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.

We will not provide support for the following:

  • Proposals that do not involve clearly defined cancer datasets
  • Proposals that aim to collect and/or generate new data through this funding, with the exception of missing data (e.g., stratifiers) required for linking datasets

Funds available

The funding envelope for this competition is approximately $1M, with at least 8 grants anticipated to be funded.

Applications for up to $125,000 will be accepted. Projects are expected to be completed within 1 year (or less). Successful applications must fall within the fundable range for CCS awards (>3.5).

Funding will be provided to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, 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 $1M
1-year period
up to $125K per year

Additional information

The peer 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).


Abstract registration is mandatory to determine whether a proposed project is eligible and 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 details (Principal Investigator (PI), Co-PIs, Co-Applicants, Additional Authors, Patients/Survivors/Caregivers, Knowledge Users, etc.)
  2. Scientific abstract (and non-confidential abstract)
  3. Keywords
  4. Relevance statement
  5. Suggested reviewers
  6. 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 consult the full application guide for specific instructions. Submitted abstracts will undergo a relevance review and only invited applications from the abstract registration stage will be eligible to submit a full application.

When preparing the full application, the following is required:

  1. Public summary
  2. A relevance statement written in non-technical language that clearly articulates the pillar (accessibility, completeness, quality, and/or timeliness) of cancer data to be addressed (or partially addressed). 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
  3. A scientific abstract (and non-confidential abstract)
  4. A detailed scientific proposal (3-4 pages of single-spaced text) including overall goal and aims of the project, supporting evidence, experimental design, methods, and analysis (including alternative approaches). An additional 2 pages of figures/tables/charts and associated legends are permitted.
  5. Evidence of access to the data repositories (e.g., letter of permission, data sharing agreement) must be provided
  6. Knowledge translation/mobilization plan to share results (beyond scientific publications and presentations) and support scalability if successful
  7. Considerations regarding sex and/or gender and/or dimensions of diversity and their intersectionalities in the project design
  8. Details of the team members including which member(s) of the research team will be responsible for which aspect of the project and a rationale for their inclusion in the project are required, and a description of the research environment where the work will take place. Consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion principles in the composition of research team must be evident.
  9. A detailed budget and justification providing rationale for the requested consumables, personnel, and equipment associated with the research 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. Researchers will also be requested to indicate which provinces will receive funds from the project.

Projects will be scored using two sets of review criteria, scientific merit and relevance. Patient/survivor/caregiver reviewers will be included in the review process. All projects must score as fundable (>3.5) on the scientific merit scale and then projects will be ranked by the relevance score.

The scientific merit scale will include the following review criteria.

Research strategy

  • Scientific merit and convincing rationale that considers critical review and analysis of the Canadian cancer data landscape, preliminary data and/or published literature
  • Feasibility of the project, including identification of potential problems and how they will be addressed, including alternative approaches
  • Access to the data is demonstrated (e.g., letter of permission or proven track record working with the data)
  • Appropriate positioning of the aims to generate meaningful data/information that will support a solution and boost the Canadian cancer data ecosystem
  • Sex, gender, and other identity factors (e.g. race, ethnicity) and their intersectionalities appropriately considered in the research design, methods, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of findings/outcomes

Team and Environment

  • Qualifications and appropriate expertise of the investigator(s) and other team members (including collaborators), particularly as it relates to the potential for resolution of the identified data issue
  • Appropriate team members are in place to ensure that findings will be relevant to people affected by or at risk of cancer
  • Consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion principles in team composition quality of the research environment in which the work will take place (is there appropriate equipment, mentorship, etc. available to support success, taking into consideration contributions of collaborators as required)

The relevance scale will include the following review criteria.

Fit for this program

  • Clearly identified aspect of Canadian cancer data to be solved, and appropriate steps to address it, both during and post-grant are well articulated
  • Knowledge translation/mobilization plan (for future, if grant is successful) aligns well with grant focus and will support solving the issue
  • Potential to accelerate improvements in accessibility, completeness, quality, or timeliness of cancer data
  • Appropriateness of the term and amount of support requested

Impact on data

  • Potential of the project to generate outcomes that will (ultimately) be meaningful to people affected by or at risk of cancer
  • Potential to meaningfully improve accessibility, completeness, quality, or timeliness of data

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.


How to apply

Review eligibility and requirements

Consult CCS eligibility and requirements. Review CCS requirements for Principal Investigators, their teams, and Host Institutions. 

Review application guide
Download our full application guide for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for this grant as well as other important information that you need to know.
Click here to apply for this funding opportunity.