Last month, we provided a brief update about how the funding program refresh has continued even in the face of a global pandemic and our rapid response to the needs of Saskatchewan’s research community. Now we are ready to launch the first of our new programs, developed in response to our engagement with the research community, partners and other stakeholders and in line with our strategic plan and Board direction.
At the core of all new programs will be four guiding principles that align with our strategic direction. These are: solving Saskatchewan health problems; responding to ecosystem needs; expanding partner dollars; and streamlining administrative duties.
This new program, called the Solutions program, will be a peer reviewed, competitive funding program to support direct research costs for interdisciplinary teams, including knowledge users, conducting projects with measurable impact in focused areas. Each year, SHRF and its funding partners will identify health challenges or focus areas that will be the central feature of this program and will be matched with funding opportunity mechanisms that best suit the current state of knowledge, capacity and desired impacts. This approach allows for flexibility and responsiveness and keeps Saskatchewan health needs at the core.
In 2020-21, two funding opportunities will be offered within the Solutions program:
Innovation Grant: Provides up to $50,000 for one year to catalyze innovative new ideas and approaches, promoting creative problem solving to address one of the focus areas named in this year’s opportunity.
Impact Grant: Provides up to $150,000 over two years to advance the translation of research into real world settings and practical applications to address one of the focus areas named in this year’s opportunity.
At this time, two partners have committed to the 2020-21 Solutions Program: The Lung Association, Saskatchewan, and the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan. Both partners will be co-funding Innovation grants in focus areas relevant to their stakeholders.
The Lung Association, Saskatchewan, invites applications through this program focusing on: Indigenous peoples’ lung health, cannabis and impact on lung health, and patient and caregiver education.
The Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan invites applications through this program focusing on: diagnosis and risk reduction/prevention related to dementia.
In addition to the partners’ focus areas, SHRF will also have both Innovation and Impact grants focused on virtual care. This focus area is based on current trends and input from our stakeholders. Virtual care (i.e. remote medicine, digital care, tele-health) has the potential to connect patients to the care they need, when and where they need it.
Watch for more in the coming weeks as we launch this new program and release the program details, complete with eligibility, application process and deadlines. We encourage the research community to mobilize and coordinate their energies, thinking about how they can collaborate to create progress towards the focus areas of our partners and the focus area of virtual care. Together we will create Saskatchewan solutions to Saskatchewan health challenges.
With the announcement of this new program, we confirm that the Collaborative Innovation Development and Sprout grants will no longer be offered as programs. However, SHRF will continue to consider the core objectives of these programs, mainly collaboration, innovation and patient-oriented research, and maintain that these important aspects of the programs will find their fit within our new suite of funding programs and future opportunities.