CIRN 2020 Call for Proposals


CIRN is a national network of vaccine and immunization researchers who develop and test methodologies related to the evaluation of vaccines and immunization in regard to safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness, and program implementation and evaluation. A directed CIRN renewal grant application was submitted to CIHR in February 2017, and the network was notified that it was fully funded for $10,083,334 over 55 months, 2017-2022. The first two years of the CIRN renewal, 100% of the funding was allocated toward research projects and administration, with funds reserved for years three, four, and five to address emerging research priorities.

For more information on the CIRN renewal, click here.

Priority Research Areas

CIRN’s four overarching research priorities include:

  1. Rapid evaluation for safety and immunogenicity (all ages)
  2. Population based methods for vaccine effectiveness and safety (including AEFI)
  3. Interventions that improve vaccine acceptance and uptake
  4. Vaccine modelling and economic analysis

(Note: the RFA specifically mandated that $2,000,000 was to be allocated to projects addressing interventions that improve vaccine acceptance and uptake [area #3]. In order to meet this target, the network will designate approximately $350,000 toward projects focused on this area for this funding call.)

Following consultations with CIRN’s stakeholders, the following research topics were identified as priorities for the 2020 call for proposals. Proposals that address one or more of these areas will be given priority:

Identified Stakeholder Priorities

Key Considerations

This will be the final call for projects made by the CIRN Network for this funding cycle. For 2020-2022 (years 4 and 5), there will be approximately $2,600,000 available for new research projects. The following will be considered when prioritizing proposals for funding:

  1. At the LOI stage, there will be no funding cap on proposed budgets. However, project teams with substantive budget requests (greater than $150,000/year) will need to demonstrate at the LOI stage that the proposed project is of sufficiently high public health priority to justify the larger budget, unless they plan to have funding partners (letters confirming that additional funding support will be required at the full proposal stage if the project proceeds past the LOI stage).
  2. Our network is comprised of many members who have not been substantially involved in any research projects to date. The CIRN Management Committee would like to encourage new investigators to submit proposals as the named PI. LOIs from PIs who have been funded more frequently (>2 prior awards as project PIs) are welcome, but it should be noted that they will be given a lower priority. CIRN highly encourages and will prioritize applications submitted by new investigators, who may fall under one or both of the following two categories:
  • a.) Investigators who meet the CIHR defined criteria of an “Early Career Investigator”
  • b.) CIRN members who have received ≤2 prior awards as a PI. Early and mid-career investigators in this category are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The network will designate funding for a minimum of two investigators in the above two categories as named project PIs in order to ensure strong representation of all groups across our membership.
  1. The CIRN Management Committee underwent an extensive Stakeholder Engagement process to identify further priorities beyond those defined in the RFA; LOIs that take these priorities into consideration are encouraged and will be given a higher priority than LOIs focusing on the original priorities as defined in the RFA, with the exception of research area #3.
  2. Each project team must include researchers from at least three different Canadian provinces in order to be eligible for funding.

Key Dates

The following dates will be used for the 2020 project selection:

Letter of Intent (LOI) deadline: March 16, 2020
Invitation to submit five-page proposal: April 3, 2020
Five-page proposal deadline: May 22, 2020
Notification of successful five-page proposals: July 3, 2020
Funding start date of new projects: August 1, 2020

How to Apply

Please carefully review the information below before applying. If applicants have any questions related to their eligibility, they are encouraged to contact the CIRN Network Management Office.

Step 1: Review Letter of Intent Template
Be sure to carefully review all application requirements, as outlined above and in the LOI template: CIRN LOI Template

***NOTE: The template document has caused some confusion regarding the maximum number of lines allowed for certain fields (objectives and methodology). Given this issue, the limits have been adjusted to allow for eight lines for objectives, and sixteen lines for methodology. (Remember to print your form prior to submission to ensure the number of lines has not exceeded the allowable limit, as text will be cut off if it has.) We apologize for any confusion.

Step 2: Complete Letter of Intent
Send completed LOI form and all necessary attachments to Kelly LeFurgey by 11:59 p.m. Atlantic time on March 16, 2020. Late applications will not be considered.

Application Review Process

Letters of intent that address the above listed considerations/criteria will be given priority, and those investigators will be notified by email and invited to submit a full five-page project proposal. Five-page project proposals will include: one-page cover sheet, five-page project description, detailed project budget, and budget justification description (all templates will be provided to successful LOI proponents). Full project proposals will then be reviewed by an Independent Peer Review Committee as well as the CIRN Management Committee.