The Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation: ABHI Researcher-Clinician Partnership Program – Call for Proposals

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Sponsor

Description

The Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI), located at Baycrest Health Sciences (Baycrest) in Toronto, Canada, is a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector.  Established in 2015, it is the result of the largest investment in brain health and aging in Canadian history.

CC-ABHI is a first-of-its-kind partnership in aging and brain health, bringing together players in healthcare, sciences, industry, and the government. Its mandate is to be a solution-accelerator for the design and development of technology and/or practice-related innovations that will allow older adults to age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining their cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being.

Innovation in the senior care sector is vital to address the brain health and care needs of an ever-increasing number of older adults. Accordingly, CC-ABHI facilitates collaborations between leading seniors’ care organizations in North America and those innovators from around the globe with promising solutions in the following areas: non-invasive medical devices, emerging technologies, wellness and digital health solutions, healthcare delivery practices, therapeutic approaches, and practitioner/caregiver training and support.

CC-ABHI Programs

As part of its mandate, CC-ABHI is launching the following competitive programs:

Spark Program

The Spark Program will support the development of early-stage innovations with the potential to drive forward solutions in the field of aging and brain health. These early-stage innovations will have been conceptualized by point-of-care staff and/or service delivery staff involved with healthcare delivery for older adults.  Funding will support proof-of-concept testing over a 6 to 12 month timeline within CC-ABHI associated healthcare delivery or service provider organizations in Canada and/or the United States.

Industry Innovation Partnership Program

The Industry Innovation Partnership Program (I2P2) seeks to bridge the gap between companies with innovative aging and brain health products/services that are at an advanced stage of development, and healthcare institutions seeking solutions to challenging issues in aging and brain health. The program will enable successful applicant companies world-wide to test and validate their technology so as to obtain the evidence needed to successfully market their product in the seniors’ care and brain health marketplace. Applicants must have an advanced product or service that they would like to test with older adults at a North American trial partner site.

Researcher-Clinician Partnership Program

The Researcher-Clinician Partnership Program (RCP2) will bring clinicians and researchers together to work as a team to accelerate promising solutions – products, services, and practices – in aging and brain health. RCP2 supports collaborative teams of clinicians and researchers to refine, test, validate, and disseminate their innovative solutions in real-world settings. Funding will support solutions that are at an advanced stage of development, with promising scalability and appropriate for user testing and validation within a 12 to 18 month timeline. By participating in this program, innovators can seek to obtain evidence that their solution is clinically, technically, commercially, and operationally feasible, and thus has the potential to be implemented with system-wide impact.

Knowledge Mobilization Program

The Knowledge Mobilization Partnership Program (KMP2) will support the dissemination of best and next practices across stakeholder groups so as to drive forward a culture of innovation and solution adoption in the aging and brain health sector.  This program will enable older adults, their circle of care, and professional healthcare practitioners to gain access to knowledge and skills and sustained behavior change pertaining to evidence-based evolving practices in aging and brain health, thereby resulting in improved health outcomes and quality of life.

2016-17 Innovation Themes

CC-ABHI is committed to accelerating innovative solutions that support positive health outcomes and quality of life in the aging and brain health sectors, by testing or supporting the testing of such solutions. In 2016-17, CC-ABHI’s focus will be on testing innovative solutions that are aimed at addressing the specific themes listed below:

  1. Emergency Department Visits: Solutions that avoid or reduce unnecessary emergency department visits for older adults living with dementia.
  2. Falls Prevention: Solutions that prevent falls, or mitigate injury due to falls, in older adults with dementia.
  3. Aging at Home: Solutions for better management of complex chronic conditions for older adults with dementia living at home.
  4. Cognitive Fitness: Solutions that improve brain health or cognitive fitness in older adults.

Call for Innovations

Projects & Requirements

CC-ABHI’s mission is to accelerate solutions including products, services, and practices that address the needs of aging adults and the challenges of an aging population, and to advance the translation of research from knowledge to outcomes, and to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for older adults.

The Researcher-Clinician Partnership Program (RCP2) will support teams of clinicians and researchers to refine, test, validate and disseminate innovative solutions in real-world settings.  Each team must include at least one researcher and at least one clinician working jointly on study design, trial implementation, data collection, analysis and reporting. Each team may also include educators, industry partners, and end-users (e.g. older adults, families, caregivers or providers).

Selected solutions must be at an advanced stage of development, with promising scalability and appropriate for user testing and validation within a 12 to 18 month timeline. Projects may entail second-stage field trials or pilot testing of the product, service or practice, including evaluation and implementation with older adults in a real-world clinical setting or in the community to demonstrate effects related to quality of life or health outcomes.

Testing must measure and evaluate clinical utility, safety and health outcomes, the impact of the solution on care delivery and older adult or end-user outcomes, and include a plan for large-scale knowledge dissemination within the sector. Activities could include pilot testing and solution scalability, and solutions will harness translational science and clinical research to enhance the quality of life or health outcomes of older adults with innovative products, services, and practices. CC-ABHI will not fund initiatives that involve basic fundamental research, academic-oriented activities, pharmaceutical clinical trials or incubators for start-ups.

The selected teams may partner with third-party technology companies to further refine and implement their respective solutions. The third-party technology company may also provide cash and/or in-kind support to the project.

Researcher-Clinician Partnership Program Team and the Role of the Host Institution

The RCP2 Team

  • Applicants to the RCP2 program must organize themselves into a team. Each team must include at least one clinician and one researcher. One individual on the team will be identified as the Lead Applicant (Principal Investigator (PI)). The PI must be either the lead researcher or lead clinician on the team and must be employed by an institution that is a Canada Revenue Agency qualified donee located in Canada.
  • Teams may include additional clinicians, researchers, educators, industry partners, and end-users located worldwide.
  • Teams must demonstrate real and meaningful collaboration by jointly engaging in study design, trial implementation, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and reporting.

The RCP2 team must support:

  • Development or refinement of the protocols and assessment methodologies necessary for conducting a scientifically valid trial.
  • Execution of the trial including appropriate consideration of ethics, participant recruitment, data collection, and data management.
  • Completion of quantitative and qualitative analyses, interpretation of results, and generate a final report to disseminate the findings.
  • Applications from existing collaboration networks or new relationships among multidisciplinary and multi–organization teams of clinicians and researchers will be accepted.

Role of Host Institution

The institution that employs the team’s PI will be designated as the Host Institution. The Host Institution must be an institution that is a Canada Revenue Agency qualified donee located in Canada.

  • The Host Institution will be responsible for receiving, and administering the funding, as well as overseeing the activities and reporting.
  • The Host Institution will enter into a contract with CC-ABHI that will detail the roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and reporting requirements for the project. If applicable, the Host Institution will also be responsible for contracting with other institutions employing team members on the project.
  • The Host Institution will be responsible for distributing funds received from CC-ABHI to support the activities of project team members at their partner organizations.CC-ABHI reserves the right to require other members of the project team to execute agreements in connection with the project.
  • The Host Institution will provide facilities, management and support (direct and indirect) for the project team so that they can effectively and efficiently engage in the proposed project.
  • The Host Institution will ensure compliance with, and oversight of, applicable regulatory requirements and best practices in research related to recruitment, consenting, privacy, data security, ethics and training.
  • Where applicable, the Host Institution will support and share project costs related specifically to the advanced development and/or testing of the innovative solution in the realm of aging and brain health for the benefit of the public.
  • Where applicable, the Host Institution will provide the project team with access to a population of test subjects by either drawing on its own client base or through drawing on the client base(s) of the organization(s) collaborating on the project.

If your project is based on an innovative product or service, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Product(s) must score a Technology Readiness Level of 7, 8 or 9, as defined by the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP).
  • Product or service is sufficiently advanced, and supported by data that indicates strong potential for a positive and broad impact to enable a 12 to 18 month trial.
  • Proposals are backed by data that demonstrates direct impact of product or service on CC-ABHI’s 2016-17 innovation themes.
  • Product or service has the potential to be scaled across multiple organizations in Canada and North America in future, as demonstrated by data showing project feasibility. For example:
  • Has the interest and support from other organizations as potential adoption partners. If possible, included letter of support from partner organizations.
  • Has an experienced team ready to act as change agents to spread the uptake of the product or service among health service providers and integrate it into care delivery.
  • Has a knowledge-to-action plan to support the transfer and exchange of knowledge.
  • Has capacity to foster partnerships and leverage resources and/or funds to further refine and test the product or service.
  • Has a third party industry provider as part of the team ready to package and deploy the solution into the marketplace once proven to be effective and scalable.
  • Support integration by bringing together multi-disciplinary teams, coordinating care management along the continuum of care and bridging care transitions.
  • Provide background information about the product or service (e.g. How is it different from usual care? What does it consist of? What does it ‘look’ like? Are there contextual aspects that may affect the outcomes of this project and generalizability to other sites?).

If your project is based on an innovative practice, it must meet the following requirements:

  • T2 research yields knowledge about the efficacy of the interventions in optimal settings.
  • T3 research yields knowledge about how interventions work in real-world settings.

Exemplified by:

  • Health Services Research (Dissemination, Communication, Implementation)
  • Clinical Outcomes Research
  • T4 research ultimately results in improved global health.

Exemplified by:

  • Population-level Outcome Studies
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Sufficiently advanced and backed with data and resources from the Host Institution to enable a 12 to 18 month trial.
  • Aligned with CC-ABHI’s 2016-17 innovation themes.
  • Has the potential to be scaled across multiple organizations in Canada and North America as demonstrated by data showing project feasibility. For example:
    • Has the interest and support from other organizations as potential adoption partners.
    • Has an experienced team ready to act as change agents, to spread the uptake of the practice among health service providers/users and integrate it into care delivery.
    • Includes a knowledge-to-action plan to support the transfer and exchange of knowledge.
    • Has capacity to foster partnerships and leverage resources and/or funds to further refine and test the practice.

Funding Available

Funding from CC-ABHI

CC-ABHI will support project costs that are directly associated with the trial of an innovative solution (product, service, or practice), to a maximum of CAD $600,000 with a 12 to 18 month timeline for completion. Refer to the RCP2 Program Eligible Expense Guideline for information on eligible project costs.

Funding from the Host Institution

No specific amount of matching funds from the Host Institution is required to apply for the RCP2. However, preference will be given to applications that demonstrate how CC-ABHI’s funding will leverage support from other funding sources. For example, applicants might show evidence of government, industry partner or institutional commitment through a blend of cash and/or in-kind contributions such as office or lab space, equipment, connectivity, staff salaries, etc.

CC-ABHI funding will be provided to the Host Institution employing the PI. If applicable, the Host Institution is to submit details regarding its part of the investment into the project and as part of the regular progress reporting, and provide evidence of expenditures.

Flow of Funds from CC-ABHI

  • To facilitate a rapid ramp-up, CC-ABHI will release to the Host Institution an initial payment of 40% of the approved project budget at the start of the project.
  • Two subsequent interim payments of 25% of the approved project budget will be released to the Host Institution when project milestones and deliverables have been met and the progress and financial reports have been received from the Host Institution.
  • A holdback of 10% of the project budget will be released to the Host Institution upon project completion when project milestones and deliverables have been met and the final progress, financial reports, and attestation regarding the use of funds have been received from the Host Institution.
  • The Host Institution will be accountable for the completion of reports detailing project milestones and deliverables and performance. The Host Institution must appoint a project manager to oversee and coordinate project activities by all partner organizations and team members.
  • CC-ABHI has the right to terminate funding at any time during the course of the project should any of the following determinations be made:
      • Project will likely not be completed on schedule or on budget;
      • interim results are unsatisfactory and demonstrate low likelihood of achieving anticipated outcomes;
      • one or more of the milestones cannot be met, or has not been met, within the agreed timeframe as outlined in the Project Charter;
      • the conclusion reached through CC-ABHI’s project review process is that the overall goals of the Project will likely not be met; or
      • the signatories have defaulted on one or more of their obligations to CC-ABHI.

Ownership rights

CC-ABHI will not retain any ownership rights to the intellectual property associated with the solution (product, service, or practice) but will retain the right to disseminate the findings of the testing completed.

Selection Criteria

All applications will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria:

Strategic Alignment with Program themes and requirements:

  • Program Themes: How well does the proposed project align with the innovation themes for 2016-17?
  • Program Requirements: How well does the proposed project align with the program and requirements as set out in Section 2.1 of this call for innovations?

Needs Assessment:

  • How well does the project address an important societal need in the realm of aging and brain health? The project must demonstrate an understanding of the user’s needs and show how these were taken into account for the final product, practice, or service.
  • How well is the proposed project supported by sound clinical and/or scientific evidence?

Proposal Clarity:

  • Does the proposal clearly delineate a framework including project outputs, outcomes, relevant performance metrics and success indicators, project plan, timelines, and key milestones?

Project Feasibility and Scalability:

  • Project Feasibility: What is the likelihood that the project will be successfully implemented from the perspective of available funds, resources, skills, timeline, and technologies? The Signatories must understand and accept that developing scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of their solution will take time and resources.
    • Typically, 12 to 18 months are needed from project start to the completion and analysis of pilot results. Preference will be given to projects with the potential to achieve real-world impact within that timeframe.
  • Scalability: Does the proposal demonstrate that the project is clinically, technically, commercially, and operationally feasible to implement, and that it can, next be rolled out on a larger scale across multiple geographic regions to provide system-wide impact?

Commitment from the Host Institution:

Is the Host Institution committed to supporting the team in testing and evaluating the impact of the solution? Is the Host Institution committed to providing leadership, fostering partnerships, and leveraging resources?

    • Project applications must include a commitment of support from the Host Institution to test and evaluate the impact of the solution on care delivery, and end-user outcomes. Applications must include a letter from a member of the Host Institution’s executive team (VP, CEO, Executive Director) indicating its understanding, support and endorsement of the obligations of a Host Institution with regard to the project and the PI.
    • The Host Institution must attest to its experience in managing trials involving human subjects, that the project participants are adequately trained in research ethics, and that the Host Institution has a Research Ethics Board.
  • Preference will be given to applications that show how CC-ABHI’s funding levers support from other sources.
  • Applicants might show evidence of government, industry, or institutional commitment of leveraged funds through a blend of cash and/or in-kind contributions. In-kind contributions may include costs such as office or lab space, equipment, connectivity, staff salaries, etc.

Team Capability:

Does the team have the required skills, experience, track record and availability, together with the resources and funds to invest?

  • Experience and skills of the project team must include: track record, historical productivity and impact; and the ability to demonstrate that it can complete the testing of the innovation solution being proposed (e.g. members have time and availability to commit to the project and high potential for collaboration). Active and extensive collaboration between clinicians and researchers is required throughout the project, from planning and design, through implementation and testing, and ending with data analysis and knowledge mobilization.

Innovativeness:

  • Is the project of a unique or ‘breakthrough’ nature? Can the project demonstrate the potential for broad, positive impact and advancement in the aging and brain health?

Key Performance Indicators:

  • Can the proposal demonstrate economic and/or social benefit, and improved end-user outcomes at the end of implementation of the project?

Applications will be scored by a panel that is comprised of independent external reviewers with clinical, business and technical expertise. The scoring of applications will be used to rank the projects. CC-ABHI management will submit recommendations to the Board for consideration and approval.

NOTE: CC-ABHI will not fund initiatives that involve basic fundamental research, academic-oriented goals, pharmaceutical clinical trials or incubators for startups. CC-ABHI also reserves the right to decline any application and to annul this Call for Innovations at any time, without incurring any liability. Additionally, CC-ABHI reserves the right to modify the scope of this Call for Innovations at any time, if it believes in its sole discretion that doing so will improve the caliber of applications being submitted.

Applying is easy, and can be completed in 3 simple steps:

Step 1:  Read the RCP2 Call for Innovations – Information Package for complete details about the application process, eligibility and selection criteria before submitting your application form.

Step 2:  Submit your Expression of Interest by 5 pm on March 30, 2017 (EST).  CC-ABHI will perform a preliminary review and shortlist applicants.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited to complete an online application by April 27, 2017.

Step 3:  Submit your Application Form by 5 pm on May 25, 2017 (EST).

Process & Timeline

RCP2 Announcement February 16, 2017
Step 1: Applicants submit expression of interest online March 30, 2017 (by 5:00 PM EST)
Review criteria to ensure the proposed innovative solution (product, service, or practice) addresses one or more of CC-ABHI’s four identified innovation themes for the 2017-18. Should you then decide to apply, submit an Expression of Interest by completing the online form by 5:00 PM EST on March 30, 2017, including a title, brief description of the solution, and full contact details.

 

Step 2: Selected applicants invited to submit full online application April 27, 2017
CC-ABHI will perform a review and selected applicants will then be invited by April 27, 2017 to submit a full online Application Form.
Step 3: Invited applicants submit full online application (including letter of support) May 25, 2017 (by 5:00 PM EST)
Invited applicants must submit an online Application Form by 5:00 PM EST on May 25, 2017.  All applications must be in English and must not contain material that is confidential or proprietary in nature. All applications must include a letter of support from the Host Institution and, if applicable, a commitment to fund some portion of the eligible project costs by the Host Institution (health service provider or research organization) or other third-party organization collaborating on the project.
Step 4: Review of applications for project scope, timeline, deliverables and expected outcomes, against the selection criteria, applicants may be contacted for additional information during the review phase
Step 5: Expert reviewers will evaluate applications
Step 6: CC-ABHI to review ranking and submit recommendations to the Board
Step 7: CC-ABHI notifies selected applicants July 8, 2017
Step 8: CC-ABHI and Signatories Sign agreements No later than August 31, 2017
Contract negotiations will set out any contributions/obligations of the Host Institution, the Lead Applicant and the other Signatory (or Signatories), and any other rights of CC-ABHI, including rights to disseminate the findings, with the signing of the final agreement.
Start project September 2017

 

Contact Information

Hema Prabhu
Contracts Assistant
innovations.partnerships@utoronto.ca | (416) 978-5557

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