Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health Outcomes in Alberta School Settings – Early Career Award Competition

Contact for Project Fit and Eligibility:

Naomi Parker
Project Manager
PolicyWise for Children & Families
Tel: 587-354- 4803

Contact for Application Process:

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

Background and Purpose:

The ‘Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health Outcomes in Alberta School Settings’ initiative, sponsored by the Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network (AMH SCN), will catalyse a provincial collaborative approach to improve mental health outcomes for children and youth. It will assess and consolidate what is known about child and youth mental health pathways to support services and initiatives across Alberta by key partners. The goals of this project are to:

• Gain a comprehensive understanding of the provincial landscape for child and youth mental health in school settings.
• Inform a shared vision and approach on a cross-sectoral model to address child and youth mental health in schools.
• Mobilize and strengthen provincial capacity and capability to achieve the desired change.

The Early Career Transition Award seeks to mobilize and strengthen provincial capacity and capability for improving child and youth mental health outcomes in Alberta school settings by building the research and evidence base. The scope of this award is broad, including three major areas of focus: integrated community based approaches to 1) health promotion and disease prevention, 2) children and youth with identified mental health and addiction issues, and 3) crisis intervention and management.

The Early Career Transition Award enables highly qualified new investigators holding a first academic appointment to have protected time to launch a research career in an area of relevance to children and families that can inform policy, programs or practice. The Award recipient will be expected to enhance their research skills and to develop partnerships with policy-makers and service providers in Alberta.

The application and review process for this early career award competition is being managed by PolicyWise for Children & Families (PolicyWise). 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.


Information session: September 14, 2017

Applications due: October 13, 2017

Notice of decision: December, 2017

Grant Amounts and Term

This award is worth $110,000.00 and is awarded for a two year term. $105,000.00 (or $52,500.00/year) is to be used as salary support and the remaining $5,000.00 as a research allowance. The final $5,000.00 will not be released until the final report has been submitted. The successful candidate will receive half of the award on the scheduled start date and the second half of the award (minus the final $5,000.00) halfway through the term.

Priority Topics:

As stated earlier, the Early Career Transition Award seeks to mobilize and strengthen provincial capacity and capability for improving child and youth mental health outcomes in Alberta school settings by building the research and evidence base.

This award is focused on integrated community based approaches to 1) health promotion and disease prevention, 2) children and youth with identified mental health and addiction issues, and 3) crisis intervention and management. Priority will be given to research questions with an identified research gap. Specifics within these areas will be refined in concert with the project sponsors and the successful recipient.

The early career award recipient will support and inform the work of the ‘Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health Outcomes in Alberta School Settings’ initiative, in order to ensure that the strategic directions, recommendations, and implementation plans align with the evidence related to improving addiction and mental health outcomes for children and youth in school settings.


  • The primary investigator (PI) needs to be within the first five years of their first academic appointment.
  • The PI must be affiliated with an Alberta based university and be eligible to hold research funds at that institution.
  • The proposed research must be relevant to the purpose and objectives of the funding opportunity and address a demonstrated research gap.

Application Process

The application process involves a completed application form, proposal, and three letters of reference.

Please note, an online information session regarding the call and application process will be held on September 14th at 10:00 am (MST). Please RSVP to Laurie Vermeylen at to confirm attendance.

Application Form

Click here for the application form.

The following elements will be required in the application form:

  • Details about the applicant, including their associated institution and the date of appointment to their academic position
  • Research program title, anticipated start date of funding, other funding sources
  • Keywords and summary of program of research
  • Description of how the program of research is relevant to this competition’s priorities
  • Identification of partners to engage with throughout the term of the award
  • If addressing Indigenous people and communities: A summary of how the 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.
  • Knowledge mobilization plan
  • Budget and justification for the research allowance
  • Short biography of applicant (for the purposes of sharing successful candidate on website)
  • Mentors of applicant (minimum of 2, maximum of 4)
  • The following appendices:
  • Full proposal (as outlined below)
  • Ethical approval for all projects underway
  • CV of applicant
  • Academic record form
  • Letters of support from collaborators (if appropriate).
  • If addressing Indigenous people and communities: A letter of support from an appropriate person/group within that community
  • Letters of endorsement from the applicant’s Department Head (if applicable) and Dean.
  • A scanned copy of the following signatures:
    • PI;
    • PI’s Department Head/Chair;
    • Faculty Dean; and
    • The university’s 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 scanned copy to the application.


Applicants should submit their full proposal as an attachment to the application form. The full proposals may be a maximum of ten pages single spaced, focusing on the applicant’s whole program of research, as well as any specific projects to be undertaken during the term of the award. The proposal should include:

  • Background/rationale
  • Relevance/significance/ what research gap is being addressed
  • Research projects and questions
  • Potential outcomes and impact of the program of research
  • Future directions of the program of research
  • Knowledge mobilization plan

As mentioned above, proposals should not exceed ten pages in total (single spaced, 11-point Arial font, 1 inch margins). These ten pages do not include the following appendices, to be attached to the proposal:

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

Only the first ten pages of the proposal will be reviewed. Applications that do not follow page limit, spacing, and font size requirements will not be reviewed past ten pages.

Letters of Reference

Three letters of reference are required. They must be sent directly to PolicyWise ( and be received before the competition deadline.

Completed application forms with proposals are due October 13, 2017 @ 4:00 pm MST and should be submitted via email to Applicants can expect to be notified by December 2017 about the results of their application.

Review Process:

The Early Career Transition Award application should provide reviewers with sufficient detail to confidently assess: the relevance of the program of research to the priorities identified in the call; the PI’s skills, experience, expertise and academic potential; and the support of the institution. Reviewers should be confident that the research environment and mentorship will offer the necessary resources to support the PI’s academic development and program of research. A critical focus of the review will be the caliber of the applicant and the demonstration that the research has already been supported and has received ethics approval.

PolicyWise’ pre-existing review process will be used to review applications submitted for this competition. This includes an external peer-review process with two reviewers, using the criteria listed below scored on a 9-point scale, where 0 is poor and 8 is exceptional. After this scoring is conducted, there will also be an internal review by the Steering Committee to further assess relevance to the identified priorities described in this document previously.

Applications will be scored in the following six categories:

Review CriteriaPossible PointsWeighting
Overall impact81
Involvement of stakeholders81
Candidate8 (16)2
Research environment and mentorship81
Research and methodology81
Total Possible Points:56

Rating scale:

DescriptorScore                 Additional Guidance on Strengths and Weaknesses
Exceptional8Exceptionally strong with essentially no weaknesses
Outstanding7Extremely strong with negligible weaknesses
Excellent6Very strong with only some minor weaknesses
Very Good5Strong but with numerous minor weaknesses
Good4Strong but with at least one moderate weakness
Satisfactory3Some strengths but also some moderate weaknesses
Fair2Some strengths but with at least one major weakness
Marginal1A few strengths and a few major weaknesses
Poor0Very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses

Only applications with an average weighted score of 80% (45/56) or higher will be considered for funding. If any eligible applications receive a 0 or 1 in any category, the Steering Committee will review the application.

A ranked list of applications will be provided to the Steering Committee for final selection based on quality, available funds, and distribution across priority areas. The decisions of the Steering Committee are final.

Release of Funds:

Successful applications will be required to provide confirmation of ethical approval before funds are disbursed. The PI is responsible for sending verification of successful renewal of ethical approval to the AMH SCN Scientific Office.

Eligible Expenses:

Decisions about eligible expense will conform to the relevant tri-council guidelines (see, with the exception that retroactive expenses and indirect/grant administrative costs will not be supported.

Project Reporting

The successful applicant will be required to provide an interim report after the first year of funding and a final report at the conclusion of the funding. The final report will follow a 1-3-25 format, which will 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).

More information on reporting requirements will be provided to the successful applicant. The final reports will be made available on the AMH SCN and PolicyWise websites.