Queen’s announces internal funding for COVID-19 research

Grant competition focuses on advancing medical and social/policy counter-measures to mitigate the virus

Queen’s announces internal funding for COVID-19 research
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Queen’s is pledging an investment of $200,000 for an internal grant competition to fund new COVID-19 research. 

Launched on March 30 in response to the pandemic, the initiative will provide funding for projects aiming to reduce the spread of the virus and minimize its effect on global communities. The project mirrors the SARS CoV-2/COVID-19 funding opportunity recently created by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“The grants represent an opportunity for our researchers who have active studies or research ideas, to potentially measure and/or mitigate the spread or impact of the pandemic both in Canada and globally,” Sandra den Otter, associate vice-principal (Research and International), wrote in a statement to The Journal.

Queen’s will invest a total of $200,000 in the initiative, providing $10,000 to $50,000 to individual projects supporting research in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities.

“This mechanism provides a way for our highly-skilled researchers to contribute their knowledge in a time of national and global need. It will support the building of research teams that may then be well-positioned to apply for external funding,” den Otter said. “[W]e are hoping to generate opportunities for new collaboration amongst our research community.”

To obtain funding, each project must strike a balance between medical and social/policy counter-measures that align with the World Health Organization’s recommendations for reducing the spread of COVID-19. The grant requires that each submission focus on at least one medical countermeasure and social/policy countermeasure from the list provided on the website.

To be eligible for the competition, each project’s principal investigator must be Queen’s tenured, tenure-track, or clinical faculty with protected research time. As well, co-investigators must be members of Queen’s faculty. 

Other project members may also include individuals who are adjuncts, research associates, post-doctoral fellows, or students.

“Although it is intended that the studies arising from the grant funding will be led by university faculty and clinicians, both undergraduate and graduate students will be likely contributors as part of the research teams,” den Otter said. “Students are typically key elements in research teams and form a significant part of the research engine at Queen’s.”

The initiative includes two separate competitions: the first round of proposals is due on April 17, with results scheduled to be released April 27. Proposals for the second round are due on May 15 and decisions will be finalized on May 25.

Projects will be judged based on both their alignment with the competition’s objective and with the selected countermeasures. Adjudication panels, composed of three reviewers per project, will also consider the effectiveness of the proposed approach, the ability of the project team to carry out the research, the group’s ability to obtain sufficient resources, and the potential impact of the project.

Projects must also adequately consider sex, gender, and other identity factors, as well as engagement with Indigenous populations where applicable to pass adjudication. 

“The Queen’s community may directly benefit from the research results by facilitating the formation of collaborative teams involving researchers and students, as well as in some cases funding research directly related to the Queen’s community, depending on what studies are funded,” den Otter said.

“We also hope these new collaborations can foster genuinely innovative and novel ideas that can provide real and lasting solutions from the health and social sciences in the management of this pandemic.”

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