Call for Applications: 2023 Pilot Study Funding Opportunity

Competition Details

  • Call for Applications: 2023 Pilot Study Funding Opportunity
  • Submission Deadline: Monday, November 20th, 2023 at 11:59 PM
  • Status: Accepting Applications


We are pleased to announce the seventh call for proposals for CanVECTOR Pilot Study Funding. The Canadian Venous Thromboembolism Research Network (CanVECTOR) Network is a panCanadian, patient-oriented Community Development Program centered on Venous Thromboembolism-related research, training, and knowledge translation. Our mission is to decrease the health, social and economic burden of venous thromboembolism (VTE) on affected individuals, their families, and on Canadians as a whole. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to build research capacity related to VTE and to enable CanVECTOR scientists to collect pilot data that will inform the conduct of larger multicentre clinical trials and increase the ability to attract external peer-reviewed funding.

Funding Details

A total of $100,000 is available to fund one or more pilot studies starting in 2023. Funding for individual projects may be awarded over one or two years. It is expected that the applicants will seek peer-reviewed funding for the full trial within 3 years of receiving CanVECTOR funds.



  • The project team for the pilot study will include an investigator triad (senior investigator, an early or mid-career investigator, and a thrombosis fellow or trainee). It is also expected that a methods expert will be included on the team.
  • At least one of the investigators in the triad must be a CanVECTOR member.
  • Any investigator in the triad can be the lead investigator for the application. • Inclusion of investigators from less-established research sites is encouraged.
  • CanVECTOR is committed to conducting research that is meaningful to patients and their families and to including trained patient partners on project teams. Applications should include a patient engagement strategy and/or patient partner. To request assistance, please send a request to


  • The project is expected to collect pilot data at two or more sites to inform a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that will be conducted at multiple CanVECTOR sites. Though it is often considered preferable, it is not an absolute requirement for the pilot study to have an RCT design; for example, it can be a cohort study that’s collecting pilot data that is needed to design a full RCT.
  • The pilot study must involve prospective recruitment of participants.
  • The objectives of the pilot study must be different than the full-scale RCT; the main objectives of the pilot must relate to feasibility. They should address issues of uncertainty that need to be explored to design the full-scale RCT, and may include the process, resources, management, and scientific aspects of the future trial.
  • The pilot project must be completed within two years.
  • The research focus is to be related to prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of venous thromboembolism or its sequelae.
  • Applicants are encouraged to refer to the following online resources (open access) that outline methodology and best practices for pilot studies.

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

  • Applications must be submitted by email to the CanVECTOR Network: by the end of day January 21, 2024 at 11:59 PM
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a minimum of 4 reviewers, including CanVECTOR members, international thrombosis experts, and patient partners. The reviewers’ ratings will be considered by the co-chairs of the Clinical Trials Platform (Dr. Deborah Siegal and Dr. Leslie Skeith) who will make recommendations for funding.
  • Decisions will be announced by the end of February 2023. A letter of notification, including brief feedback from the review committee, will be sent to all lead applicants.
  • Funds will be released to the lead investigator’s institution as soon as the required paperwork is completed.

Rating system

A 100-point rating system will be used by the scientific reviewers:

Component   Maximum Points
The research team (investigator triad, methods expert, patient engagement, inclusion of investigators at less established research sites) 20
The research proposal (including relevance to CanVECTOR’s mission) 50
Feasibility of the pilot study and potential to inform a full-scale RCT 30

A 100-point rating system will be used by the patient partner reviewers:

Component   Maximum Points
The lay summary (clarity, appropriateness and relevance for a lay audience) 20
The patient engagement strategy (clear and appropriate plan for including patients) 20
The research project (relevance to patient interests and concerns, with the potential for the pilot study to lead to a future trial that may improve health, quality of life or quality of care for patients) 30
Requirements for patients (balances and optimizes the needs of the study with the risks and burdens on participants; e.g. study visits, interventions, and tests that are outside of usual clinical care)  30

Administration and Conditions of Funding

  • A summary of the successful pilot proposal will be posted on the CanVECTOR website.
  • Registration of the pilot study in a clinical trials registry (e.g. is required.
  • Funds will only be released once evidence of Research Ethics Board approval is provided by the lead investigator.
  • Funds will be released to the lead investigator’s institution on an annual basis. The name of the institution’s financial officer must be provided to CanVECTOR’s Financial Officer.
  • Use of funds must comply with CIHR guidelines and those outlined in the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide (2020).
  • Successful applicants will complete an annual progress report after 1 year of receipt of funding, and annually thereafter until the study has been completed.
  • The funding recipient shall immediately notify CanVECTOR of his/her inability to complete the pilot project for any reason. In this case, any unused funding will be returned to the CanVECTOR Financial Office, and used funds must be justified or repaid.
  • If the one-year progress report has not been submitted, or if progress of a 2-year project is deemed unsatisfactory, any unused funding will be returned to the CanVECTOR Financial Office and funding for the second year will not be released.
  • The recipients of CanVECTOR pilot study funding will be expected to present their proposal and/or results at CanVECTOR annual meetings. Additional knowledge translation activities are encouraged, regardless of the pilot study’s results.
  • CanVECTOR and CIHR funding must be acknowledged in any publication or presentation arising from the pilot study (see Policy on acknowledgement of CanVECTOR in publications and presentations – version 3.0).

Components of the Application 

  1. Application Form
  2. Pilot proposal - recommended content (maximum 4 pages - Please spell out all acronyms in the proposal and lay summary).
    1. Study overview (1 paragraph)
    2. Background and rationale
    3. Research question(s) and specific aims
    4. Significance and novelty of research question(s)
    5. Description of the investigator team
    6. Patient engagement plan • Study design
    7. Study population and sample size • Intervention studied (if applicable)
    8. Measurement of outcomes
    9. Planned analyses
    10. Description of any potential ethical issues and how these will be addressed
    11. Description of the next steps: Indicate how the pilot project will facilitate the development of a full-scale research proposal.
    12. Detailed timeline for each specific aim (Note: Pilot projects must be completed within 2 years of receiving funds)
  3. References
    • references to the pilot proposal may be included after the proposal and do not count towards the 4-page limit
  4. Lay summary (maximum 1 page)
    • The lay summary is a brief summary of a research project that is used to explain complex ideas and medical and scientific terms to people who do not have prior knowledge about the subject.
    • In language suitable for a lay audience, describe the following:
      • Purpose of the research (pilot study and eventual full RCT)
      • Relevance of the research
      • General approach (methods) of the pilot study
    • Most granting agencies request a lay summary; learning to write about your research using plain language is a very useful skill to develop. The following resources are recommended:
  5. Budget and budget justification (maximum 2 pages: spreadsheet + justification)
    • Budget items must specifically relate to the pilot project, and may include:
      • Costs of research personnel salaries (e.g., research assistants, study coordinators, technicians, programmers, statisticians) and benefits (according to institutional rates)
      • Supplies and services
      • Equipment (carefully justified, with cost quotations provided)
      • Participant costs (e.g., reimbursement for hospital parking)
      • Patient partner costs (e.g.. honorarium, reimbursement for transportation)
      • Presentation/Publication
    • Ineligible expenses:
      • Institutional or administrative overhead (any indirect costs)
      • Salary support for investigators or trainees
      • Meals, alcohol, employee recognition

The applicant must state in the Budget if part of the Pilot Study will be funded from another source and justify the other source(s) of funding.

Submission Details

Please complete the application form & attach all required documents by Monday, November 20th, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

Inquiries can be addressed at