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ACT-AEC Canada is holding an open competition to fund the development of new or existing trial networks in areas of need. Trial networks bring together relevant stakeholders (e.g., researchers, patient partners) and are focused on disease states, patient populations, or interventions. A total of $900,000 is available to fund 6 new networks (i.e., $150,000 for each successful network application) in the following streams:

1) Stream One – Mental Health. As per the ACT/AEC grant, we sought input from federal, provincial, and territorial Ministries of Health to identify areas they believed would benefit from the creation of a Canadian trial network in an area they find challenging to obtain research data. The Ministries identified mental health as an area of need, which was also identified by the ACT/AEC International Advisory Committee as an area that should be expanded. We are therefore requesting applications for the creation of a network focused on mental health randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Applicants may choose to have a broad focus on mental health or a more focused area within mental health. Our goal is to fund one application to create a new network focused on mental health RCTs.

2) Stream Two – Other Areas of Need. We will fund five new trial networks in any demonstrated area of need.

*Applications are due noon (12pm) EST January 29, 2024

FAQ – RFA 4 Trial Networks:

Funding

Is this a single award of $150k and for what period? Is the budget expected to focus only on network development, or can it include costs towards research?
The new network would receive $150,000 up front for the remainder of the ACT grant funding period ending March 2026. The main goal of RFA 4 is to build a new network so budget items should focus on network development. Note the new network will also be eligible to receive ACT funding for a network coordinator in their second year depending on need (0.5 FTE, Apr 2025 – Mar 2026) and be eligible to compete in future RFAs for randomized controlled trial (RCT) specific funding.
 

Network Criteria

What do you mean by “new” network?

The network should be new to ACT. It is okay if there is another network in Canada that does similar work as long as it does not overlap with current ACT networks (https://act-aec.ca/research-networks/) and still meets the eligibility criteria, in particular:

  • The proposed network may already exist but has not previously received funding for the creation or support of the network from CIHR or other funding bodies for ≥$200,000 CAD to establish their network. This does not include grant money to run a clinical trial. This exclusion criterion refers to money explicitly to establish the network (e.g., funding to set up the governance or patient engagement model, administrative coordination of the network)
Is this competition exclusive for networks undertaking only RCTs or can we include RCTs as well as other study designs?
For a bit of background, ACT-AEC is specifically focused on supporting networks conducting RCTs and streamlining the clinical trial landscape in Canada. As such, RCTs should be the major focus of attention for networks and their funding. While networks may engage in other activities, the RFA 4 proposal should clearly outline plans for network development including developing, obtaining funding for, and undertaking RCTs specifically.
 

Network Membership

Are international investigators allowed – i.e., can we have American PIs on the team?
The minimum team composition requirements must be made up of Canadians (i.e. at least 10 investigators, in at least 5 provinces/territories, at 5 or more sites). Additional membership can include international PIs.  
 
Where it says 10 investigators – could it be interpreted as investigators: juniors and senior researchers, as well as patient partners or scientists, such as methodologists and statisticians? 
The minimum 10 investigators should include individuals with rigorous clinical and/or research backgrounds to help with the development of, securing funding for, and undertaking RCTs. While additional membership is welcome, especially if it supports other aspects of the application (e.g.EDI, Indigenous engagement, patient engagement), assessment of membership is a significant portion of the application. From the RFA 4 scoring breakdown:
  • Describe the members, their location, and their experience in clinical trials (at least 10 investigators, in at least 5 provinces/territories, at 5 or more sites). If the principal applicant does not have experience in clinical trials, please propose a mentorship plan [20% of the score].

Last updated 9-Jan-2023