Valuing Mental Health Innovation and Integration Research Grant Competition Call

The registration and application deadlines have passed.

To see funding results, click here to go to the AMH SCN website.

Contact for Project Fit and Eligibility:

Dr. Katherine Rittenbach, PhD
Assistant Scientific Director
Alberta Health Services, Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network
Tel: 780-616-6623

Contact for Application Process:

Laurie Vermeylen, MA
Research and Evaluation Associate
PolicyWise for Children & Families
Tel: 587-354-4801

Background and Purpose

The Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network™ (AMH SCN™) is facilitating a research funding call that addresses identification of evidence-informed research practices and programs to improve community-based system integration in the addiction and mental health sector in Alberta. The need for a coordinated and integrated system was identified in Valuing Mental Health: Report of the Alberta Mental Health Review Committee, released by the Government of Alberta in February, 2016, and reiterated in the response document, Valuing Mental Health (VMH): Next Steps, released in June, 2017.

The AMH SCN comprises expert clinicians, researchers, patients, and other groups and individuals who are working to engage stakeholders in the dissemination and implementation of best evidence practices to prevent, treat and improve outcomes in addictions and mental health in Alberta. The SCN uses the Health Quality Council of Alberta’s six domains of quality to focus their work. These domains are: appropriateness, accessibility, effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and acceptability.

The application and review process for this grant competition is being managed by PolicyWise for Children & Families. PolicyWise exists to improve child wellbeing by conducting, funding and mobilizing research for evidence-informed policy and practice. PolicyWise’ mission is to develop and integrate evidence to inform, identify and promote effective public policy and service delivery to improve the well-being of children, families and communities.


Registration Due: 4:00 pm (MST) Friday, October 6th, 2017
Full Proposals Due: 4:00 pm (MST) Friday, December 1st, 2017
Notification of Results Early April

Grant Amount and Term:

Grants of up to $200,000 will be considered in this open call. Budgets should be appropriate for the scope of the project. Projects of more limited scope will be expected to have more limited budgets, and investigators on such projects are encouraged to apply. The term of the grant can be up to two years in length. A six-month extension, with no further operating funds, may be available upon formal request to finish writing reports or for knowledge dissemination.

Valuing Mental Health Priority Topics:

VMH: Next Steps informs the priority topics for this funding call. VMH: Next Steps aligns with the Government of Alberta’s community-based health vision by improving continuity of addiction and mental health services and supports within the health system and in the community. Its actions focus on coordinating and integrating health services with community service providers, with an emphasis on meeting the needs of vulnerable and underserved groups.

Specifically, this grant competition directly supports action #4: “Identify and test evidence-informed practices and programs to improve community-based system integration, and adopt and spread those practices considered to be most effective”. Additionally, the following four target populations have been identified by VMH: Next Steps as requiring immediate attention:

  1. Children, youth and families
  2. People with multiple and complex needs
  3. Individuals requiring addiction services
  4. Indigenous people and communities

The goal of this work is that Albertans will have new and effectively integrated community-based service delivery options based on rigorous research into community-based system integration.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate how their work will contribute to this goal and which of the four target populations it addresses.

Eligibility to Apply:

  • This funding opportunity is open to teams led by Alberta-based researchers and/or clinicians whose project is relevant to the purpose and objectives of the funding opportunity. The research must be carried out in Alberta, with Albertans.
  • Research projects must be translational, clinically relevant, and contribute to improving care for Albertans.
  • The primary investigator (PI) must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent qualification/experience, and be affiliated with an Alberta-based post-secondary institution or health-related institution and be eligible to hold research funds at that institution.
  • The application must demonstrate engagement of relevant stakeholders such as policymakers, decision makers, community partners, operational leads, researchers from other disciplines, business community partners and/or individuals impacted by the project.
  • The research team is encouraged to include trainees, students or junior investigators (or plans to include these individuals).

Application Process:

The application will involve a two-step process:

  • Registration
  • Full proposal


Click here for the registration form.

(Download and save to your computer)

The registration process involves completing and submitting a one page form. This form includes:

  • PI’s (and Co-PI as applicable) name and affiliation
  • Project title (with the understanding that it may change slightly for the full proposal)
  • Approximate amount of funds to be asked for (up to $200,000)
  • Brief description of planned research (maximum of 150 words)
  • Link with VMH: Next Steps action #4 (maximum of 150 words)
  • Checkboxes for which of the targeted populations will be addressed

Registration purpose:

  • Ensure projects are focused on VMH: Next Steps action #4. Feedback will be provided to applicants if relevance to community-based integration is not clear. All registrants will be invited to apply for the full proposal.
  • Facilitate reviewer selection.
  • Provide an opportunity to connect applicants with similar projects, in order to encourage provincial collaboration.

Registrations are due by 4:00 pm (MST) Friday, October 6th, 2017 and should be submitted via email to

Application form and proposal

After the registration process, applicants will be asked to submit a completed application form with a proposal attached.

Click here for the application form.

The application form will require the following:

  • Abstract (200 word maximum)
  • Full proposal (as outlined below)
  • Team composition and rationale, including qualifications/responsibilities of investigator(s), collaborators, students, and other trainees (where applicable)
  • Environment (e.g., institutional support, available facilities and equipment, access to data)
  • Ethical considerations
  • Budget and justification
  • Letters of support from collaborators (if appropriate)
  • Applicants addressing Indigenous people and communities must also provide:
    • A letter of support from an appropriate person/group within that community
    • A summary of how their research will build on strengths and enhance capacities of Indigenous people and communities; be culturally relevant and appropriate; and describe how findings will be shared back with Indigenous community members.
  • Signatures:
    • If eligible to hold funds at an Alberta university, the following signatures are required:
      1. PI;
      2. PI’s department head, chair, or dean; and
      3. The university research services office.

It is up to the applicant to ensure they are following their university’s protocol. Applicants may use their university’s internal signature page and attach a copy to the application.

    • If eligible to hold funds at an Alberta health-related institution, the following signatures are required (as applicable to the organization):
      1. PI;
      2. PI’s supervisor; and
      3. Research office (or equivalent).

It is up to the applicant to ensure they are following their organization’s protocol.

The full proposals may be a maximum of six pages single spaced, and should include the following components:

  • Background/rationale
  • Research questions and/or objectives
  • Relevance: how the project aligns with and addresses identified VMH: Next Steps priorities and actions
  • Methodology/project design: this includes sufficient detail about the process and approach for reviewers to evaluate its potential for success and its scientific merit
  • Anticipated results and impact of the project
  • Integrated knowledge sharing/translation plan

As mentioned above, proposals should not exceed six pages in total (single spaced, 11-point Arial font, 1 inch margins). Only the first six pages of each application will be reviewed. Applications that do not follow page limit, spacing, and font size requirements will not be reviewed past six pages.

Include the following items as appendices in addition to the 6 pages:

  • References
  • Project timeline (approximately one page)
  • Charts and figures (if appropriate)
  • Surveys and questionnaires (if appropriate)

Applications with all required attachments are due by 4:00 pm (MST) Friday, December 1st, 2017 and should be submitted via email to

Review Process:

The pre-existing PolicyWise review process will be used to review applications submitted for this competition. This includes an external peer-review process by a least two reviewers using the criteria listed below scored on a 9-point scale. A ranked list of applications will be provided to the Grant Steering Committee for final selection based on quality, available funds, and relevance to VMH: Next Steps. The decisions of the Grant Steering Committee are final.

Applications will be scored in the following six categories:

Review Criteria Possible Points Weighting
Overall impact

  • The project will generate knowledge to inform policy and practice, and contribute to improving the lives of Albertans.
8 1
Relevance to VMH: Next Steps action #4

  • Results of the project will contribute to addressing VMH: Next Steps action #4. The application demonstrates evidence of this relevance.
8 2

  • The methodology is clearly described and appropriate for the research questions.
  • Objectives are realistic and achievable.
8 2
Team composition

  • The team has the necessary qualifications, expertise, and experience to undertake this project.
  • The team has engaged partners and stakeholders.
8 1
Integrated knowledge translation

  • The IKT plan is appropriate for the scope of the project.
  • The IKT plan incorporates methods of sharing findings with a variety of stakeholders.
8 1
Environment and feasibility

  • There is evidence of sufficient support and the project is feasible for the budget and timeline.
8 1
Total Possible Points: 64


Rating scale:

Descriptor Score Additional Guidance on Strengths and Weaknesses
Exceptional 8 Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses
Outstanding 7 Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses
Excellent 6 Very strong with only some minor weaknesses
Very Good 5 Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses
Good 4 Strong but with at least one moderate weakness
Satisfactory 3 Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses
Fair 2 Some strengths but with at least one major weakness
Marginal 1 A few strengths and a few major weaknesses
Poor 0 Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses


Applications must score 75% (48/64) or higher to be considered eligible for funding. If any applications score in this range but receive a 0 or 1 in any category, the Grant Steering Committee will review the application to determine its eligibility.

The Grant Steering Committee will make the final selection from the ranked proposals based on quality, available funds, and relevance to the identified priorities.

Release of Funds:

Successful applications will be required to provide confirmation of ethical approval before funds are disbursed. If ethical approval will require renewal during the project, the PI is responsible for sending verification that renewal was successful to the AMH SCN Scientific Office. If ethical approval is not required for the project, documentation stating this from an established ethics board is required.

Eligible Expenses:

Decisions about eligible expenses will conform to CIHR and the relevant Tri-Council (CIHR, NSERC, & SSHRC) guidelines. As outlined on the CIHR website, the following will be used to determine eligibility:

Eligible Expenses


  • Research equipment (to a maximum of 15% of funding)
  • Materials and research supplies
  • Travel to scientific meetings held either inside or outside Canada
Non-Eligible Expenses


  • Course fees
  • Health insurance
  • Non-discretionary benefits

Other research allowances not described above will conform to the Tri-Agency guidelines (as found on the NSERC website), with the exception that retroactive expenses and indirect/grant administrative costs will not be supported.

Project Reporting:

Successful applicants will be required to provide a final report at the end of their grant term. If the project length is two years, an interim report will also be required after the first year of funding. The final reporting requirements include:

  1. Lay summary (one page, written in plain language);
  2. Executive summary (three pages); and
  3. Full report (up to 25 pages single spaced, not including references).

The grant holder will provide to the AMH SCN copies of any products created as a direct result of this funding, including but not limited to: reports, publications, policy briefs, assessment tools, and AMH SCN related presentations.

More information on reporting requirements will be provided to successful applicants. Final reports will be made available through the AMH SCN and PolicyWise websites.