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Connected Minds Team Grants

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INTRODUCTION:

New technologies are revolutionizing society, creating a 'techno-social collective' where humans and intelligent technologies are deeply interconnected. While such advances present exciting opportunities, they also present significant risks, especially for vulnerable and/or marginalized populations. The Connected Minds Program –supported by the Canada Research Excellence Fund, York and Queens’ Universities, and our many partners from multiple sectors—envisions a world where breakthroughs in technology promote social health and justice for all, with special focus on Indigenous Peoples in Canada. For further details, see: https://www.yorku.ca/research/connected-minds/general-information/.

Connected Minds Long-Term Goals:

  1. To understand how the interplay of humans and intelligent technologies produces unexpected, emergent properties at the community/whole society levels
  2. To predict how new technologies will disrupt the techno-social collective
  3. To use these predictions to drive new research and technology development

As such, we expect all funded initiatives and awards to contribute towards the long-term goals of our program.

BASIC INFORMATION:

CFREF funds have been allocated for a research team grant program open to registered members of the Connected Minds research group. The first call will fund up to $7,500,000 in grants distributed over 3 years.

*At least 20% of the funding will be reserved for an Indigenous-led and focused proposal. Applicants must specify in their application if they wish to be considered under this funding stream and must detail how their proposal is significantly informed by and prioritizes Indigenous community interests. All funded grants must adhere to the requirements outlined for the award.


Notice of Intent Deadline:

May 3, 2024

Link to the NOI application form will be available soon.

Link to Self-Identification Survey will be available soon.


*Co-Creation Workshop Completed by:

November 1, 2024

*Please refer to the Notice of Intent section below.


Invited Full Application Deadline:

December 2, 2024


Team grants are expected to mobilize collaborative research to fulfil the major goals of the program through following an active co-creation process. They must include investigators from all three pillars (society, neuroscience, technology) and at least two secured non-institutional partners from different sectors (academic, industry, community, and/or government). The purpose of these grants is to bring together multidisciplinary teams to tackle big questions in strategic priority areas for the grant and thus help attain our major goals.

It is also expected that these projects will contribute to the pivotal performance benchmarks for the Connected Minds Program, including:

  • Collaborations with industry, academic, government, & community partners (including building relationships with Indigenous communities)
  • Increased interdisciplinary scholarship, research, & art creation
  • Increased international recognition, collaboration, & leadership
  • Contributions to the following three National Science and Innovation Priority Areas (NSIPA): 1) Healthy Canadians, 2) Innovative Resilient Communities 3) Technologically Advanced Canada

It is expected that these teams will sustain themselves by securing other types of major funding (e.g., NFRF Transformations Stream) and/or forming new Research Centres. The program is not intended to provide continuing support for ongoing research/creative projects or to serve as a substitute for external funding. The mandate of CFREF is not to replicate existing funding, but to provide an opportunity to secure new and/or greater sources of funding, or perhaps move in a different direction.

  • Team grants can be led by one or two Principal Investigators (in case the budget is distributed between York and Queens), along with a multidisciplinary team comprising other Connected Minds members, partners, and collaborators. This team should possess adequate expertise and resources to span the three Connected Minds expertise pillars and achieve the grant's objectives.
  • Only registered members of Connected Minds who are eligible to hold external funding may be Principal Investigators.
  • The project must include at least two external partner organizations from different sectors (academic, industry, community, and/or government).
  • In addition, proposals may include affiliate member investigators and non-member collaborators from within York or Queen’s and other Universities. Note that faculty members from York or Queen’s who are listed on successful Teams grants and are not currently members of Connected Minds will have a streamlined process to join the program.   
  • The research must focus on the central goals of the program.
  • The research may emphasize one of the three Connected Minds themes but must span all three themes in some way.
  1. The deadline for a notice of intent (NOI) and the full proposal submission as posted on the Connected Minds website will be strictly enforced.
  2. The NOI and full proposal must be submitted through the MachForm link posted on the Connected Minds website.
  3. The final submission must include an uploaded pdf document with signatures (digital or scanned) from the Principal Investigator, all Co-Investigators, and partners, and each must include the following statement: “I agree to collaborate on the proposed project as outlined in this application. I have contributed to its development and have reviewed the final draft prior to submission”.
  4. Each proposal must address all sections described below and must be aligned with the Connected Minds mandate to be eligible for funding.

The NOI must be submitted by the posted deadline and must include:

  1. Proposal Title
  2. Names and expertise of Principal Investigator(s), Co-Investigators, Partners, and Collaborator(s). Note that this team must span the three Connected Minds expertise pillars.
  3. Check boxes for REB status (TBD, submitted, approved, not required) for the use of Human Participants, Animals, BioHazard Materials, Potential New Technologies
  4. Check box for applications that are seeking to apply for the Indigenous specific research funding stream
  5. A list of 5 keywords
  6. Abstract (250 words)
  7. Impact statement relative to the Connected Minds themes and central research goals (500 words). Note that this section may emphasize one Connected Minds theme but must address all three themes.
  8. Description of how these funds will be utilized to initiate new research areas or secure additional and sustainable sources of funding to support the continuation of this research endeavor (200 words)
  9. Outline co-creation plan. Provide a plan and budget for meeting(s) of the Investigators, Partners, and Collaborators to cocreate/plan the final grant project (this budget will be subtracted from the final grant total of $1.5M). (200 words). Successful NOIs are expected to hold at least one co-creation workshop prior to the submission of the full application in order to meaningfully engage with stakeholders, community, and other Connected Minds Investigators in the further development of the grant proposal and goals. This co-creation workshop should be open to the Connected Minds community and partners so that interested parties have the opportunity to partake however, this does not obligate the team to accept new investigators/collaborators.
  10. Self-Identification Survey completed by all members of the research team (PI, Co-Is and Collaborators/Partners)
  11. A list of three external reviewers must be provided and must include the following:
    1) Name
    2) Email
    3) Affiliation/Institution
    4)Area of expertise
    Conflict of interest policy will be followed

Link to the NOI application form will be available soon.

Link to the Self-Identification Survey will be available soon.

Project Description - Approach/Methodology/Objectives

  1. Please provide a lay summary of the research question, objectives, approach, relationship to the central goals of Connected Minds, and expected outcomes/impact of the proposed project . This summary may be used for public communications and thus should be targeted to the layperson. (300 words max).
  2. Describe the proposed research approach/methodology. (5,000 words max)
    • Clearly state the research question being proposed, the rationale for the proposed research, and the objectives of the project;
    • Describe the design of the research project, including how the proposed research is novel and/or innovative; and/or
    • How this funding will allow the research team to put down roots for their research, collaborations, and support future growth, which may include a commitment to listening and learning from Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, ecology, spiritual practice, and experiences.

Project Milestones (Text (300 words) and/or Upload)

  1. Provide realistic milestones that are achievable during year-1, year-2, and year-3. Charts and graphs may be uploaded under the appendices section.

Interdisciplinary, Co-Creation, & Knowledge Mobilization Aspects (250 words)

  1. Describe the interdisciplinary, and knowledge mobilization aspects of the project (in the context of the objectives of the Connected Minds seed grant program). Note, for Indigenous specific funding, community direction and collaboration is foundational to exploring approaches and making room for Indigenous research and/or forms of disseminating research.
  2. Describe the co-creation approach and results from the project planning stage (prior to submission of this grant) and how co-creation and reciprocity will continue to be part of the proposed project.

Description of the Research Team and the Partnership(s) (1,000 words)

  1. Describe the skills/experience of the proposed project team.
  2. Describe how the individual investigators, partners, and collaborators will support and contribute to the research, including expertise, resources, staff, and trainees.
  3. Describe how the research builds on established partnerships or establishes new partnerships.
  4. Describe active efforts to increase equity, diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups (Indigenous Peoples; African, Caribbean, and Black individuals; racialized individuals; persons with disabilities; women and 2SLGBTQIA+) in the research ecosystem in the creation of the research team and partnerships, and how tokensim will be prevented within the team composition.

Impact and Return on Investment (500 words)

  1. Please describe the impact of the project on one of the following National Science, Technology and Innovation Priorities:
    1. Healthy Canadians: Enhancing the health and wellness of Canadians across all life stages.
    2. Innovative and Resilient Communities: Building thriving communities that are inclusive, livable, smart and safe.
    3. Technologically Advanced Canada: Advancing transformative and enabling technologies that will support a technologically advanced economy and society.
  2. Explain how this work will lead to subsequent external funding and indicate the potential source(s).

Budget & Budget Justification (1,000 words)

Budget & Budget Justification - Please complete the budget template provided for each of the three years of the grant for both the awarded funds and partner contributions (cash or in-kind). These may include research trainee support, research equipment and materials, space, and other expenses. If the project includes both York and Queen’s investigators, break this down into two separate budgets (total maximum $1,500,000). Present a clear rationale for the proposed expenditures.

In situations where members of the research team have a grant that has either been awarded or is being applied for from another funding organization that has overlapping objectives and outcomes to the current proposed project, you will be required to include the details of the other source of support in the proposed budget. In this case, the budget should include information on the specifics of what each funder is covering and demonstrates clearly that there is no overlap of funding for specific expenses, i.e., a double ask. If other funding is received for the same project after the success of the current Connected Minds Team grant, a revised budget must be submitted detailing how each funding source contributes to the research project.

Please note that:

  • Personnel funding levels should be consistent with the applicant’s institutional minimum and maximum limits for research staff and trainees; trainee stipend amounts should be consistent with the higher of either the applicant’s institutional minimums or minimums recommended by Tri-Council Policy;
  • Proposed expenditures should be consistent with CFREF’s guidelines on eligible expenditures;
  • Indirect costs are ineligible for this program;
  • For any questions related to the eligibility of research costs, please contact ConnectedMindsInfo@yorku.ca.

Equity & Diversity Considerations

EDI are embedded as foundational principles in the CFREF objectives, expected outcomes, and reporting requirements. The Tri-Agency Institutional Program Secretariat expect that CFREF-funded initiatives will demonstrate exceptional leadership in contributing to transforming their research disciplines and Canada’s research ecosystem to help it become equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

Explain how EDI principles and best practices are and will be applied in the development and ongoing work of the project’s research design, implementation, and impact by answering the following:

  1. Are sex (biological) considerations addressed in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (200 words)
  2. Are gender (socio-cultural) considerations addressed in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (200 words)
  3. Are diversity considerations (e.g., Racialization, Indigeneity, 2SLGBTQIA+, Poverty, Disabilities) addressed in this study proposal? Please explain how or why not. (200 words)
  4. Please explain how this research impacts underrepresented (Indigenous Peoples; African, Caribbean, and Black individuals; racialized individuals; persons with disabilities; women and 2SLGBTQIA+) groups and how the research will address such impacts. (200 words)

Indigenous Assessment (500 words)

All projects that engage with Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Territories must also consider the Challenge, that is, the aim and importance of the endeavor, the feasibility of the plan in working with Indigenous Peoples and communities, and the Capability, how does the team demonstrate expertise to succeed. These details can and should be incorporated throughout the entire application, where applicable, but any other details may be included in this section.

Challenge: The aim and importance of the endeavor. How does the proposal address and place emphasis on lived experience, both written and oral forms of knowledge. How are theoretical frameworks and methodologies understood in relation to Indigenous Knowledges and taken into account through all aspects of the project. How is community involvement happening throughout the life of the project especially in data interpretation and outputs. What training opportunities are offered for community and Indigenous trainees (for many community members who may not be enrolled in a postsecondary academic program, the opportunity to receive training can contribute to their career development as well as to community building).

Feasibility: The plan to achieve excellence. The research should address the needs of each community and partner, if applicable, and demonstrate how the research meets their identified needs (this could include community needs within the budget requirements to ensure adequate community support in the project). The application should demonstrate how outputs will be made available to, and potentially used by, Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders, with community benefits configured into the research outputs. Has the availability and nature of organizational or administrative infrastructure for community partners been considered. How will the team ensure expectations about the management and governance of the coproduction and outputs of knowledge and related support, during and beyond the award.

Capability: the expertise of the proposed team to succeed: What training and experiences do non-Indigenous members of the research team have in relation to Indigenous research. The relevant experience of Indigenous scholars should account for the life/knowledge journey of individuals.

Social Impact Assessment

Given the complex, interdisciplinary and techno-social focus of the Connected Minds program, the Connected Minds Social Impact Assessment Guidelines were developed to emphasize that researchers and prospective researchers are further required to think about their research, their technologies and the proposed uses of those technologies through the lenses of social responsibility, harm avoidance, equity and inclusivity.

Socially responsible research prioritizes ethical principles and values throughout the development and implementation of new programs, processes, technologies, and ways of knowing and doing. It is research that takes into account the potential impact(s) on individuals, communities and society/societies as a whole, while aligning with human values, respecting both individual and collective human rights, and contributing to a sustainable and inclusive future.

Researchers (both funded and prospective) must be able to demonstrate to the program and its reviewers that they have considered and adequately addressed the following considerations in their proposals/reviews:

  1. Social Responsibility: Clearly articulate how your research will be conducted in a socially responsible manner. Explain the measures you will take to ensure that the research process and outcomes contribute positively to societal well-being. If appropriate, apply generally agreed-upon risk assessment tools to identify and mitigate potential harms associated with your research. Clearly outline the steps you will take to monitor and address risks, with a focus on minimizing adverse impacts on impacted communities. (500 words)
  1. Consideration of Diverse Perspectives: Clearly demonstrate how your research accounts for the needs and perspectives of diverse populations. Provide details on how you plan to prevent biases and ensure inclusivity across socioeconomic status, race, gender, and other equity-deserving identity characteristics. (500 words)
  1. Environmental Impact Assessment: Please describe how the proposal integrates considerations for environmentally sustainable technologies. Proposals with potential environmental ramifications should explicitly showcase the prediction, analysis, and mitigation measures employed to ensure any adverse effects are identified and addressed to prevent harm. (500 words)
  1. Building Trust and Public Acceptance: Demonstrate how your research approach is designed to build trust and gain public acceptance. Highlight specific strategies to engage with the public (including users and/or patients, as applicable), address concerns, and maintain transparency throughout the research lifecycle. (500 words)
  1. Acknowledgment of Intellectual Property and Considerations for Traditional Knowledges: Clearly acknowledge and outline how your research and any technologies developed respect the intellectual property of individuals or entities who hold rights to them. Identify and specify the types of intellectual property involved, such as patents, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets. Identify the data governance framework that will be applied to this research. If applicable, address Indigenous intellectual property rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2017). Emphasize how your research respects Indigenous rights to the protection of traditional knowledge, cultural heritage, and customs. (500 words)

Appendices (any uploaded form should have a font of Arial 11, or equivalent, and be in pdf form)

  1. Signature page – Please upload one PDF document with the signatures (digital or scanned) from the Principal Investigator, all Co-Investigators, Collaborators, and Partners and must include the following statement “I agree to collaborate on the proposed project as outlined in this application. I have contributed to its development and have reviewed the final draft prior to submission”.
  2. Tables, Figures, Project Timeline (optional, 5 pages max) - Five additional pages may be included for tables/figures. Please note that any additional pages beyond five may be deleted prior to review.
  3. Curriculum Vitae - Please provide a current CV for the PI and all Co-PIs/collaborators working on the project (any CV format acceptable). Note: a standard resume is acceptable for any community based/non-academic Co-PIs.
  4. References (5 page max) – Five additional pages may be included in the appendix for references.

Please note that any project addressing Indigenous Peoples, lands, and territories will also be reviewed by the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the NOI and full application stage. Applications applying for the Indigenous specific funding stream will also independently adjudicated by the Indigenous Advisory Circle. In keeping with principles of self-determination, the IAC has the right to veto any projects related to Indigenous research.

NOI Evaluation

  • The reviewers will review each application and provide a score out of 100. Scores will be weighted based on the criteria below.
  • The Indigenous Advisory Circle will review any applications that have applied for the Indigenous funding stream and any that include aspects with Indigenous Peoples, land and, territories.
  • Once all applications are scored, the average for each application will be calculated and assigned an initial rank by the Connected Minds Admin team.
  • The review sub-committee will meet to discuss the scores and associated rankings and decide on the final ranking of the applications. The review sub-committee shall incorporate the comments of the Indigenous Advisory Circle.
  • The Research Committee will provide recommendations on which applications move to the full application stage to the Connected Minds Leadership Committee for review and final approval.
  • Feedback for all NOIs will be provided to the PI(s).

Full Application Evaluation

  • The reviewers will review each application and provide a score out of 100. Scores will be weighted based on the criteria below.
  • Once all applications are scored, the average for each application will be calculated and assigned an initial rank by the Connected Minds Admin team.
  • The review sub-committee will meet to discuss the scores and associated rankings and decide on the final ranking of the applications. The review sub-committee shall incorporate the comments of the Indigenous Advisory Circle. As such, the sub-committee may alter the rank of an application if discussion warrants it.
  • The Research Committee will provide recommendations on which applications to fund to the Connected Minds Leadership Committee for review and final approval.
  • Results will be communicated approximately 12-weeks after the submission deadline.
  • Feedback will be provided to the PI(s).

Review Committee

All project submissions will undergo an arm’s-length review. Each grant will be reviewed by a review sub-committee consisting of:

  • Three members of the Connected Minds Research Committee, with the substitution of other members if needed to balance area of expertise and avoid conflict of interest (one will have expertise in neuro/life sciences, one in AI/technology and one in arts/ humanities);
  • At the full grant stage, at least two Ad-hoc external reviewers are required for each grant.
  • The Indigenous Advisory Circle will provide additional oversight in relation to Indigenous Peoples, lands and territories and will assist in identification of appropriate ad-hoc external reviewers.

Reviewers will i) determine whether the proposal is of sufficient quality to receive funding; ii) rank the proposals; and iii) recommend which grants should receive funding in the current round.

  • Reviewer may not be a PI, Co-Investigator, or partner on a grant in the given round;
  • Reviewers will declare conflicts of interest.

NOTICE OF INTENT:

  • Meets all submission and eligibility criteria. (pass/fail)
  • How well does the proposal align within the mandate and goals of the Connected Minds Program. (30%)
  • Clarity and specificity of impact statement relative to the Connected Minds themes and goals. (30%)
  • Strength and diversity of the team (30%)
  • Clarity of the development plan/budget (10%)

FULL APPLICATION:

ETHICAL REVIEW: Note that projects that involve technology development must fully satisfy review of their Connected Minds Social Impact Assessment. If an otherwise highly-ranked project does not satisfy this review, funds will be withheld until the committee is fully satisfied with a revised assessment.

Indigenous Assessment: The Indigenous assessment will be evaluated in its totality of the proposed project and therefore will be scored based on its applicability within each section.

A. Quality and originality of the proposal (25%)

  • The quality of the research design/methodology and rationale;
  • The degree to which the proposed research is novel/innovative and its potential impact on society;
  • The clarity and importance of the research question(s) and objectives.

B. Feasibility and merit of the proposal (10%)

  • The degree to which the milestones are achievable within the three-year period;
  • Whether the budget is realistic and appropriate for the proposed work.

C. Interdisciplinary, Co-Creation, Predication, & Knowledge Mobilization in terms of the Connected Minds mandate (20%)

  • The degree to which the proposed research is interdisciplinary (incorporates methods and/or outputs from multiple disciplines – e.g., neuroscience, artificial intelligence, arts and design, humanities);
  • The degree to which the proposal contributes to a predictive framework for societal impact;
  • How strongly are stakeholders involved in shaping the research through co-creation?
  • Impact planning at the outset of the proposal together with end-users/community/industry partners;
  • The potential impact on clinical practice, knowledge translation, or commercial application.

D. Potential return on investment (15%)

  • The proposed work will produce improvements in key Connected Minds key performance indicators;
  • The proposed research will help to secure larger and/or new sources of funding (i.e., research grants, industry contracts, commercial licenses, etc.).
    • Note that this will be evaluated in year 3 of any successful grant.

E. Appropriateness of the research team and partners for the project (15%)

  • The research team is appropriate for the proposed work;
  • The partnership is relevant for the proposed work and anticipated impacts and will lead to enhanced quality of research;
  • Demonstrates an active effort to diversify the research team;
  • Evidence of commitment from the partners.

F. Equity & Diversity Considerations (15%)

  • The application outlines how co-creation processes will be involved throughout the development and implementation of the proposal's EDI considerations; 
  • The application clearly demonstrates how the project identifies transdisciplinary EDI needs regarding the experiences of underrepresented groups (Indigenous Peoples of Canada; African, Caribbean and Black individuals; racialized individuals; persons with disabilities; women; 2SLGBTQIA+; French linguistic minority); 
  • The application clearly demonstrates how research design identifies novel opportunities for EDI ‘better practices’ (how needs are addressed);
  • The goals of the proposal include clear objective, strategic, and feasible EDI initiatives to greatly impact the research environment and society. 
  • For successful applications, before the cost centre can be opened, proof of institutional Research Ethics Board (REB) approval(s) is required to be submitted to the Connected Minds office.
  • All successful PIs are required to complete our on-line progress report at the end of each fiscal year (starting with the fiscal year that funding was received) up until the end of the Connected Minds program. In addition, PIs must provide a one-time baseline data set consisting of 5 years of research progress prior to receiving the funds for the Connected Minds performance management plan. If invited, PIs are expected to present their progress / results at Connected Minds annual retreats.
  • Named collaborators outside of the host and partner institutions (York and Queen’s) will automatically become eligible Affiliate members of the program.
  • Successful applicants are encouraged to work with Innovation York or Queen’s Office of Partnership and Innovation to consider a collaboration agreement with the Connected Minds partner to ensure all parties agree on how intellectual property (IP), publication, and confidentiality, etc. will be managed. Please contact Connected Minds Commercialization Manager, who will liaise with the appropriate Research Agreements team to support potential collaboration agreements.
  • Any manuscripts arising from Connected Minds funding that report novel technologies or methodologies must be submitted to Commercialization Manager, for intellectual property (IP) review prior to final publication.
  • Authors of manuscripts from Connected Minds funding, particularly those on novel technologies or methodologies, are encouraged to submit their work with Innovation York or Queen's Office of Partnership and Innovation for IP review before final publication. This aligns with CFREF's mandate to contribute to the Canadian economy's growth, fostering collaboration between research and commercialization. While there's no obligation for members to commercialize their results, sharing publications helps explore potential IP opportunities.
  • Connected Minds / CFREF funding must be acknowledged in professional communications, publications, presentations, and conference materials as follows: “The research was undertaken thanks in part to funding from the Connected Minds Program, supported by Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Grant #CFREF-2022-00010.”

Last updated: 03/26/2024