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Call for Letters of Intent for NCE Research Proposals


The Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery (CPSR; is a not-for-profit corporation supported by Heart & Stroke and eight partner research institutions. Overall, CPSR brings together more than 150 basic and clinical researchers from universities, research institutes and rehabilitation hospitals across Canada and is the leading research partnership in the world focused exclusively on stroke recovery. Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Canada and 405,000 Canadians are living with long-term disability from stroke. With the aging population, increased risk of stroke in younger people (under age 50), and rising rates of obesity and diabetes, there is a strong need for better rehabilitation interventions to help the increasing number of stroke survivors living with physical, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities.

CPSR was recently invited to submit a proposal for funding to the federal Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program.  The full proposal will support CPSR’s activities in research, training, and knowledge translation.  If successful, the proposal will result in a substantial increase in funding for stroke recovery activities in Canada over five years, beginning in 2019.  The purpose of this call for Letters of Intent is to generate a suite of research projects that will be included in CPSR’s proposal being submitted to the NCE on July 19, 2018.


CPSR is currently seeking Letters of Intent in the following four categories:

1. Personalized approaches to stroke rehabiliation and recovery. There is increasing new evidence that certain biomarkers, particularly those focused on brain structure and function, could help answer some of the most difficult clinical questions in stroke rehabilitation, such as “What is this patient’s potential for recovery?” and “What is the best rehabilitation strategy for this person?”. CPSR intends to fund research proposals that build on existing databases to validate, and ultimately translate into practice, personalized approaches to stroke rehabilitation and recovery. The funding proposed for this type of project is $200,000 per year per project with a target of 2-3 projects being funded per year.

2. Innovative new therapies and approaches.  In addition to the personalized approaches described above, CPSR intends on supporting smaller, proof-of concept grants aimed at catalyzing the development of innovative new approaches to stroke rehabilitation and recovery.  The expectation is that applicants will be able to explore novel ideas and use these results to design larger research studies. The funding proposed for this type of project is up to $50,000 per year per project with a target of 10 projects being funded per year.

3. Clinical trials to support the scale-up of novel approaches to stroke rehabilitation and recovery.  In its desire to create a pipeline from proof-of-concept to new practices, CPSR intends on supporting clinical trials focused on bringing new potentially game-changing rehabiliation and recovery approaches into practice, or advancing them in the research pipeline.  The funding proposed for this type of project is between $500,000 and $1M per year per project with a target of 1-2 projects being funded per year.

4. Implementation of new approaches.  There is a need to determine effective methods of closing the gap between best and current practice, both in the clinical setting and in the community, particularly in non-urban areas and amongst under-served populations (children, indigenous people).  CPSR intends on supporting projects that evaluate implementation strategies and approaches that overcome the barriers and challenges associated with delivering effective rehabilitation. The funding proposed for this type of project is up to $100,000 per year per project with a target of 2-3 projects being funded per year.

In all cases, CPSR is interested in supporting projects that support the following strategic principles:

  1. Projects may be up to two years in duration but must have a translational focus, meaning there is a clear path, and plan, to move the knowledge gained from the research through the research pipeline from discovery to practice.
  2. Projects should involve end-users in a meaningful way, ensuring their perspectives and priorities are incorporated into the research design and process.  This may include people living with stroke, caregivers, clinicians, policy-makers, and community providers.
  3. Projects should effect a wide range of potential outcomes (preferably multiple) for those living with stroke and/or their caregivers.  This includes functional improvements, cognitive improvements, and psychosocial improvements.
  4. Projects should involve collaborations between different disciplines and institutions, including international collaborators.
  5. If possible, projects should engage relevant private and public-sector partner organizations and, ideally (but not required), include partner cash or in-kind contributions.

Letters of Intent will be due by 5:00 pm EDT on Monday, April 16, 2018.  Please send submissions by e-mail to CPSR Executive Director, Katie Lafferty:

The CPSR External Scientific Advisory Committee will review each project based upon the following criteria: 1) Excellence of the Research Approach, 2) Strategic Fit, and 3) Impact.  All three areas will be weighted equally.  High-scoring projects will be included in the CPSR’s application to the federal government in July 2018.  If CPSR is successful in its application, a full proposal will be requested of applicants who submitted successful Letters of Intent in December 2018 for funding starting April 1, 2019 – March 31 2021. 

Download the LOI and Read the Guidelines HERE

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the value of the NCE innovation grant?
A: For the innovation grants in the NCE, it is a maximum of $50K per project per year and projects can be up to two years  – so total funding available per project for a PI could potentially be $100K over two years per project.

Q: Can an applicant make more than one submission?
A: PIs can submit more than one LOI submission, whether it is for any of the categories (e.g., 2 innovation grants, or 1 innovation grant and 1 clinical trial, etc) , and whether as a PI, Co-I or Collaborator on the multiple submissions.

Q: Is the competition only open to current members of CPSR?
A: PIs on the LOI can come from any Canadian research institution (provided they can hold federal funds such as CIHR at their institution) – they do NOT have to be currently affiliated with a CPSR institution

Q: Can the same proposal be submitted for the NCE competition and the upcoming CPSR catalyst grant competition?
A: CPSR PIs can submit the same or similar project/proposal to both the NCE LOI AND CPSR’s upcoming annual catalyst grant competition (obviously the latter is only a max of $50K per project although it could be spent over two years)

CPSR Catalyst Grants and Trainee Awards — COMING SOON

Please note that our call for Letters of Intent for the NCE competition is completely SEPARATE from the annual catalyst grants and trainee awards competition. A Call for Proposals for our annual competition for 2018-19 funding opportunities will take place in April/May. If you have any questions, please contact

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