The Discovery Award is a one-year grant of up to $25,000 for innovative health and biomedical research projects by outstanding new investigators at universities and research institutes in Canada who are within the first three years of their first academic appointment. The intent is to provide seed funding so that applicants are able to gather pilot data to enhance their competitiveness for other sources of funding. We fund at least 6 awards per year. In addition, we partner with other organizations to grant co-funded Discovery Awards. More information on our co-funded Discovery Awards is available below.
In 2020 we reviewed 62 applications from 9 provinces across Canada. Through partnerships with J.P. Bickell Foundation, CANSSI Ontario, Jarislowsky Foundation and McLean Foundation, we were able to fund 7 projects. There were no successful applicants identified for projects that we partnered with Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Canada and the University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre.
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Our 2021 grant competition and E-portal access is now open!
To be eligible to apply, you must:
- be a new investigator at any Canadian university or affiliated research institute who will be within the first three years of the date of first career academic appointment at the application deadline date of January 25, 2021.
- have not been awarded by your institution more than $150,000 in start-up funding exclusive of support from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) have not been awarded more than $50,000 per annum in external operating funds at the application deadline date. (An applicant who has been awarded more than $50,000 per annum in external operating funds may submit a request for less than $25,000, such that the total sum of operating funds received from all sources during the funding year, should the application to The Banting Research Foundation be successful, not exceeding $75,000).
A letter of nomination from the applicant’s host department or division head is required confirming:
- all eligibility criteria have been met details the operating and the institutional start-up funds available to the applicant
- the candidate has been provided the space and access to institutional infrastructure necessary to conduct the proposed research details a mentorship plan: 1) the name of a mentor, 2) who will assist the applicant in launching their career by providing guidance with formulating research proposals, 3) defining career goals and the timelines required to achieve them.
A department/division head will be permitted to nominate only one potential applicant during each annual granting cycle.
The maximum duration of the grant is one year, from July 1 to June 30. Extensions may be considered and must be requested in writing at least 30 days prior to the grant end date. Grants are paid quarterly within the funding year, starting July 1. Grants are paid to the finance office of the sponsoring institution. Grantees may draw on this account as needed.
Acceptable Use of Funding
Funds can be used to purchase equipment and for general operating expenses specified in the budget proposal, including salaries for technicians, postdoctoral fellows and students. Funds may not be used to pay the salary of the applicant, overhead, or travel expenses. Equipment purchased with grant funds is the property of the institution at which the grant is held. Any unspent balance is to be returned to The Banting Research Foundation.
Ethical and Safety Considerations
Applicants are expected to ensure their proposed research complies with ethical conduct for research and safety guidelines of their home institution and Tri-Council Policy Statement. Human research procedures must comply with the Tri-Council Policy Statement, “Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.” Animal experimental procedures must comply with guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Procedures for handling biological and chemical hazards must meet CIHR “Guidelines for the Handling of Recombinant DNA Molecules and Animal Viruses and Cells.”
Sex- and Gender- Based Analysis (SGBA)
The Banting Research Foundation expects that all applicants will consider sex and gender in their research design, methods, analysis and interpretation, and/or dissemination of findings when appropriate. For guidance, applicants should consult the CIHR tool, “Sex, Gender and Health Research Guide: A Tool for CIHR Applicants.”
Applications must be received by the deadline 5 pm EST, January 25, 2021. Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by email within 5 days. Applications will be reviewed by the Grant Review Panel in late April or early May. Final approval will be made by the Board of Trustees in May. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in June 2021.
The grantee shall submit to The Banting Research Foundation a brief report of the work performed within two months of the grant end date (June 30). Within two months of the grant end date, an accounting statement must be submitted by the comptroller to The Banting Research Foundation.
Any publication resulting from the work supported by a grant from The Banting Research Foundation should contain the following acknowledgement: “This work was supported by a grant from The Banting Research Foundation.”
Any abstract resulting from the work supported by a grant from The Banting Research Foundation should contain the following acknowledgement in the body of the abstract, in the proceedings of the conference and/or in the presentation of the abstract: “This work was supported by a grant from The Banting Research Foundation.”
One copy of any publication or abstract must be forwarded to the Foundation.
To sign into the Discovery Award e-portal here
The 2021 form can be downloaded as a word document here: BRFApplication_2021.
The next application deadline is January 25, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET.
Receipt of submission
Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by email. If you do not receive receipt of submission, contact us at email@example.com
Some of our Discovery Awards are co-funded by other organizations. These partnered awards are in addition to our usual 6-7 awards granted each year. We are very pleased to announce a new partnership with Mitacs that will double the number of Discovery Awards for the coming year. Six emerging biomedical researchers will receive the Banting–Mitacs Discovery Award, valued at $25,000 each.
In 2021, we are partnering with CANSSI Ontario, Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Canada, Mitacs, and the University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre to co-fund research related to biomedical and health science research, data science, dystonia, and genomic medicine respectively.
Applications for these partnered awards go through the same review process as all other applications for the Discovery Award, and are scored and ranked with the others. Only those rated in the fundable categories (outstanding – 4.5-4.9; excellent – 4.0-4.4) will be considered for funding.
Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements of our Discovery Award program, and, in addition, must show relevance to the partner organization’s areas of research focus. Keywords and clear statements about relevance in the application will be used to determine consideration for a partnered award.
2021 co-funded Discovery Awards:
Banting–CANSSI Ontario Discovery Awards in Data Science
The Banting–CANSSI Ontario Discovery Awards in Data Science are one-year grants of up to $25,000 each to support early career investigators in data science. A total of two grants will be awarded, one to an applicant with an academic appointment at the University of Toronto and a second to an applicant with an academic appointment at any University or affiliated research institute in Ontario. Eligible applicants must be proposing new, innovative statistical or computational methodology – or proposing to implement existing methodology in novel ways – to address a health or biomedical research
Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award supported by Dystonia
Medical Research Foundation Canada
This award is a one-year grant of up to $25,000 per year that will support research related to the causes, mechanisms, prevention, and treatments which could potentially enable medical breakthroughs and transformative health care advances to find a cure for dystonia. Eligible candidates must be focused on research that will one or more of the core directions necessary to advance the field of dystonia. These core directions include furthering our fundamental understanding of dystonia, uncovering the mechanisms in the nervous system that lead to symptoms, creating experimental models of dystonia, and discovering targets for new and improved therapeutics designed specifically to treat dystonia. This includes hypothesis-driven research projects at the generic, molecular, cellular systems or behavioral levels that may lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology or to new therapies for any or all forms of dystonia.
Banting–Mitacs Discovery Awards
Mitacs is expanding its support for early career researchers in Canada by funding six Discovery Awards, valued at $25,000 each, for researchers in the first three years of a faculty position following their post-doctoral fellowship. Researchers in the biomedical sciences are eligible to apply for the Mitacs–Banting Discovery Awards, for projects contributing to health research.
One of the six awards, in addition to our standard eligibility criteria, will be reserved to an early career scientist who:
1) has been a Mitacs-funded researcher; i.e. client of one of Mitacs programs: Accelerate, Elevate or Globalink, either as the academic supervisor or as a student; or
2) has done research in partnership with industry or not-for-profits using a provincial or federal funding program that promotes industry-academic collaborations.
The Banting–Mitacs Discovery Awards will enable more young scientists to generate the early data they need to strengthen applications for valuable, longer-term research grants that will sustain and grow their productivity. Co-funded Discovery Awards reflect the shared commitment of Mitacs and the Banting Research Foundation to identify and catalyze Canadian talent to build our nation’s innovation capacity.
Banting Research Foundation–McLaughlin Centre Discovery Award
The Banting Research Foundation–McLaughlin Centre Discovery Award is a one-year grant of up to $25,000 per year that will support research related to genomic medicine, defined as the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and/or treatment of disease and disorders of the mind and body, using approaches informed by knowledge of the diploid genome and the molecules it encodes. Eligible applicants must be in the first three years of an academic appointment at the University of Toronto or its affiliated hospitals and their research institutes.
The Banting Research Foundation Grant Review Panel consists of University of Toronto faculty members and a minimum of one member from outside the University of Toronto. The normal term for panel members is three years, renewable once.
The Chair and Vice-Chair/Scientific Officer (SO) of the Panel, with the assistance of the Executive Director, review all applications for eligibility and assign the applications. The Chair runs the review meeting and the SO summarizes the panel discussion of each grant in a confidential report that is sent to the applicant.
Each panel member is sent a list of applicants and application titles and is asked to declare their level of expertise (high, medium, low or conflict) for each. Applications are assigned accordingly. Each panel member reviews approximately 12 grants in total, eight as Primary or Secondary reviewer and four as Reader.
Each application is reviewed by a Primary Reviewer and a Secondary Reviewer, who each complete a brief (1-2 pages) report, and a Reader who reviews the grant but does not write a report. The two reviewers use a scale of 0-4.9 to rate each application and provide an initial score:
- 4.5-4.9 Outstanding
- 4.0-4.4 Excellent
- 3.5-3.9 Very Good
- < 3.5 Not fundable
In addition, each Primary and Secondary Reviewer is asked to rank order each application of all applications they reviewed as Primary and Secondary Reviewer. Top ranked applications will be discussed at the Grant Review Panel meeting. The other applications are not discussed but applicants receive comments from the two reports.
Applications are assessed based on:
- Track record of the applicant and research environment
- Merit of the proposal and justification of the request
- Potential impact of the Banting Research Foundation funding on the research program
- The letter of support from the Institution is also taken into consideration
At the panel meeting, the Primary and Secondary Reviewers each declare their initial scores. The Primary Reviewer provides a brief summary of the applicant, the proposal, the potential impact of the funding, and their analysis of the application. The Secondary Reviewer comments on any points of disagreement. The Reader and other panel members provide additional comments. The SO summarizes the discussion and a consensus score is decided. Each panel member provides a confidential score +/- 0.5 from the consensus score, 4.9 being the maximum. The average scores are compiled by the Executive Director to come up with an overall rank order of all the applications that are recommended for funding to The Banting Research Foundation Board of Trustees. Funding is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.
All applicants receive reviewer comments as feedback on their applications, with reviewers’ identities removed.
These are some frequently asked questions about grant eligibility and our granting process. If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact us.
- I am listed as co-PI on other grants. Does my funding as a co-PI count towards the limit for eligibility to the Banting Research Foundation?
- I've been awarded an external operating grant over $50,000/yr but the grant does not begin until after the Discovery Award deadline. Can I still apply?
- May I submit my application in French?
- Does the grant funding cover indirect costs at our university/ research institute?
- Is this grant only for medical researchers or can researchers from other fields also apply?
- Your posting says you fund “all areas of medical research.” Does this include biomedical engineering?
- I am a new investigator working at a research institute. Whose signatures are required from a research institute, especially in place of Dean of Faculty?
- I was on maternity leave for one of the last three years since I was appointed. Does that get included in the “first three years ofacademic appointment”?
- May I include a co-applicant on my application?
- Our department is very large. May we submit an application from more than one division?
- Did my application arrive?
- When will the results of the competition be posted?
Your eligibility depends on the total amount of annual research funding that is available to you. That would include any proportion of funds that is available to you on the grants on which you are co-PI. If you are part of a research group but do not actually have any operating funds allocated to you, then it does not add to your current annual operating funds. You should list the grant and indicate what amount, if any, is available to you.
No. You must have not been awarded more than $50,000 per annum in external operating funds at the application deadline date, regardless of when the funding becomes available to you.
While we would like to be able to review applications in both our official languages, at this time the capacity of our Grant Review Panel is limited to reviewing applications in English.
No, our grant funding supports only the direct costs of research and may not be applied to indirect costs of research.
As long as the research project itself is medical in nature, investigators from other fields may apply.
Yes, as long as the work relates to medical research, it is eligible.
Please check with your research administration office to find out whose signatures are appropriate. At least one official authorized to sign for the institute must sign the application form. If there is no equivalent to “Dean of Faculty,” just indicate that on the form.
No, it is not included. Eligible interruptions, such as parental leave, do not count in calculating your eligibility period. You should indicate this clearly on your application in the Personal Data section, and be prepared to provide a letter of verification from your institution.
No, this competition is for individual applicants only.
In cases of very large departments, like Medicine, it is acceptable to submit applications from more than one division. Just check with us before you proceed. The explanation should be included in the letter from the division head.