Summary of CIHR Call

Funding Organization

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Program Name

Team Grant: Research Network on Lyme Disease


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), under the scientific leadership of the Institute of Infection and Immunity (III), and the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Interested in a full funding opportunity? View the Research Net funding application.

Important Dates

Registration Deadline March 6th, 2018
Application Deadline June 6th, 2018
Anticipated Notice of Decision September 27th, 2018

The Federal Framework on Lyme Disease was released by the Government of Canada on May 2017. CIHR, in collaboration with PHAC, is committed to taking action to fight the emergence of Lyme disease. Along with the Framework, the Minister of Health announced up to $4 million over five fiscal years to establish a Lyme Disease Research Network.

Additional research on Lyme disease is needed to:

  • Fill evidence gaps that exist for Lyme disease prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment options, and transmission dynamics;
  • Establish the efficacy and limitations of current tests and methods to improve them; and
  • Inform the causes, treatment and management options for patients who continue to experience persistent symptoms and chronic illness consistent with Lyme disease or similar ailments.

Registered applicants that are deemed relevant will be invited to participate in a second webinar on March 21st from 1:00-2:00pm ET. The purpose of this webinar is to provide further information on a strengthening workshop that will take place on April 19th, 2018. The purpose of this workshop is to provide opportunities for applicants to strengthen their application and discuss ways of working together to form a network across Canada. The Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) as well as a minimum of three key team members up to a maximum of six from each application will be required to attend the workshop. The participants to attend the workshop should include representation from the following categories:


  1. Early Career Investigator;
  2. Health Care Professional;
  3. Clinician Researcher (for this funding opportunity, an independent researcher who holds an active Canadian license to practice as a human health professional)
  4. Patients/family representatives/informal care providers.


The expense of the participants to attend the workshop will be covered by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Research Areas

This funding opportunity will support a Network that will generate new knowledge to improve diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease in Canada. The Network will encompass at least one of these relevant research areas:

  • Evaluation of current clinical diagnostic tests and exploration of the development of new tools;
  • A better understanding of patients who have experienced various chronic symptoms consistent with Lyme disease;
  • Determination of the impact of different bacterial strains on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease; and/or
  • Research on preventive measures, interventions, co-infections, modes of transmission and/or population health approaches to decrease the risk of occurrence of Lyme disease.

Funds Available

  • The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $ 4 million, enough to fund approximately one research network up to a maximum of $1,000,000 per year for four years. This amount may increase if additional funding partners participate.
  • Set-up and maintenance costs for an administrative/coordinating centre, which may be a physical centre or a virtual network and includes office supplies and the salary of program/network coordinator(s). No more than 20% of the annual funds per year can be invested in the support of the administrative structure.


The Lyme Disease Research Network grant is expected to:

  1. Build a national network on Lyme disease to facilitate and support national collaboration among Lyme disease stakeholders (researchers, clinicians, and patients) in resource and knowledge sharing:
    • Mobilize, strengthen and build capacity in the Lyme disease research community.
    • Develop innovative multidisciplinary curricula and training opportunities for students and professionals.
    • Facilitate and support translation and dissemination of new knowledge from bench to bedside to population in order to:
      • improve clinical science and practice;
      • foster policy changes, leading to transformative and measureable improvements in the development and implementation of evidence-informed practices, policies, services, products and programs;
      • improve patient outcomes, access to care and quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health care.
  2. Develop a national cohort of patients in order to understand the association between serological and clinical phenomenology of Lyme disease on a longitudinal basis (including a biobank creation and maintenance).


  1. In addition to the Nominated Principal Applicant, the Network must include a minimum of one representative from each of the following categories listed as a Principal Applicant, co-applicant, Principal Knowledge User or knowledge user:
    1. Early Career Investigator;
    2. Health care professional;
    3. Clinician Researcher (for this funding opportunity, an independent researcher who holds an active Canadian license to practice as a human health professional)
    4. Patients/family representatives/informal care providers.
  2. The Network must be national in scope with multiple research institutions spanning each of the three Canadian regions: Western Canada, Central Canada and Eastern Canada.

Review Process and Evaluation

Relevance Review Process

CIHR and PHAC will perform relevance reviews at both the registration and applications stages to identify both registrations and applications that are in alignment with the objectives and research areas of this funding opportunity. Registrations and applications that are not deemed to be relevant will be withdrawn from the competition.

Evaluation Criteria

To support the strategic objectives of this funding opportunity, the following evaluation criteria will be used.

  • Vision and Approach:
    • Coherence of the Network’s vision and rationale and clarity of the expected outcomes;
    • Clarity, quality and feasibility of the proposed activities to develop, implement and sustain a Network;
    • Quality and feasibility of the proposed patient engagement plan as well as extent to which patients/family representatives/informal care providers are engaged;
    • Extent to which the proposal addresses the objectives and research areas of the Funding Opportunity;
    • The extent to which the proposal justifies the scientific and societal value added for establishing this Network, in the context of existing work being done in Canada and internationally;
    • Originality of the proposed Network in terms of the novel technology/ methodology, novel applications of current technology/methodology, and/or potential for practice and policy impact;
    • Anticipation of barriers and enablers, and quality of plans to manage them;
    • Quality and feasibility of the plan for the development of the national cohort of patients;
    • Quality and feasibility of the plan for the development of the innovative multidisciplinary curricula and training plan;
    • Quality and feasibility of the plan for knowledge translation and dissemination.
  • Network Management and Governance:
    • Appropriateness of the Network’s governance plan, including structure and functioning to achieve stated goals;
    • Evidence of ultimate accountability, shared strategic leadership, priority setting, transparency in decision-making as well as a clear identification of meaningful roles, responsibilities and contributions of:
      • Researchers from different disciplines and regions across Canada, and other countries (where appropriate);
      • Early Career Investigator;
      • Health care professionals;
      • Clinician researchers;
      • Patients/family representatives/informal care providers.
    • Appropriateness of the collaboration plan, including but not limited to internal and external communication and coordination, management and administration, conflict prevention, quality improvement, budget and resource allocation, and publication approach amongst team members;
    • Appropriateness and potential effectiveness of the conflict resolution strategy;
    • Quality of the strategic work plan, including an evaluation plan with specific outcome indicators;
    • Appropriate consideration of anticipated challenges and mitigation strategies, including those related to ethical, legal and social issues (ELS), vulnerable populations, official languages minority communities, and sex and gender-based analysis, as appropriate;
    • For projects involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis, appropriate consideration of TCPS 2: Chapter 9 – Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada;
    • Appropriateness of the budget in relation to the proposed activities;
    • Appropriateness and feasibility of the long-term sustainability plan.
  • Applicant(s):
    • Strength of the Nominated Principal Applicant’s track record in providing leadership to a research network or similar organization;
    • Strength and collective track record of the team;
    • Extent and appropriateness of team member expertise;
    • Extent of the team’s ability to successfully and appropriately disseminate research findings, as demonstrated by knowledge translation activities (publications, conference presentations, briefings, media engagements, etc.);
    • Evidence that the proposal has integrated the right people, resources, investments and organizations most needed to achieve the stated vision and objectives;
    • The extent to which Network members have demonstrated the importance of their contributions to the Network as a whole.
  • Environment:
    • Availability and accessibility of personnel, facilities and infrastructure required to conduct the proposed activities;
    • Availability and accessibility to patient cohorts and registries including information about the size of the cohort, type of variables, type of software, privacy standards and consent, and governance;
    • Availability of biological samples collected in a systematic manner using standard operating practices;
    • Suitability of the environment to conduct the proposed activities;
    • Suitability of the environment (milieu, project and mentors) for the training of personnel.
  • Impact:
    • Potential to make a national impact on health outcomes, practice, programs and policy;
    • Potential to improve clinical science and practice;
    • The extent to which sex- and gender-based analysis were considered (where appropriate);
    • The extent to which the planned activities of the Network support innovative research and practices;
    • The extent to which the cohort samples and data are made available to the research community, including teams external to the Network;
    • Demonstration of the anticipated impact of the proposed research on First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities (where appropriate);
    • Strength of stakeholder engagement including the engagement of patients, patient groups, community agencies and non-governmental organizations (as appropriate);
    • Extent to which the Network addresses how the inclusion of stakeholders will build capacity in the identified priority research theme(s);
    • Appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed plan for knowledge dissemination and exchange;
    • Extent to which the Network clearly demonstrates the potential for members to achieve greater impact through collaboration.


Contact Information

For all inquiries please contact:

CIHR Contact Centre
Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178