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 ET
  • Status: Not accepting applications


We are pleased to announce the eighth call for proposals for CanVECTOR Pilot Study Funding. The Canadian Venous Thromboembolism Research Network (CanVECTOR) 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 likelihood of external peer-reviewed funding, such as from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

Funding Details

A total of $100,000 is available to fund one or more pilot studies starting in 2024. Funding for individual projects may be awarded over two to three years. The CanVECTOR award may not be used to top up existing funding that has already been awarded for the same project from a major granting agency. Questions regarding funding overlap can be directed to



  • 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.
  • Investigators, fellows, and trainees may be included on only one pilot study application per competition.


  • Studies are eligible if they are designed to assess the feasibility of a planned full-scale (definitive) randomized controlled trial (RCT) that will be conducted at multiple CanVECTOR sites. Although pilot studies designed to inform definitive RCTs commonly use a randomized design that reflects the full-scale design (or parts or it) on a smaller scale, non-randomized studies are eligible and applicants are encouraged to justify the choice of a non-randomized study design. 
  • Pilot studies must include at least two CanVECTOR sites. 
  • Pilot studies must involve prospective recruitment of participants. 
  • The objectives of the pilot study must be different than the full-scale RCT; the primary objectives of the pilot must relate to feasibility by addressing issues of uncertainty that need to be explored prior to conducting the full-scale RCT, and may include the process, resources, management, and scientific aspects of the future trial. 
  • The research focus is to be related to prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of venous thromboembolism or its long-term effects. 

Patient Partners

  • CanVECTOR is committed to conducting research that is meaningful to patients and their families and to including trained Patient Partners on project teams.  
  • Ideally, Patient Partners will be involved in early stages of all study design and planning. However, a minimum of 4 weeks is needed for the Patient Partners platform to communicate with patient partners and match them to studies. If timelines are too short to match a CanVECTOR Patient Partner to a study before the deadline, matching will be completed after notification that the application is successful. 
  • On the application, applicants must describe how they plan to involve Patient Partners on their pilot study team. 
  • Patient Partners will be compensated according to the network’s Patient Partners Compensation Policy. For successful Pilot Study applications, CanVECTOR will provide and administer the compensation. 
  • Please address any questions about CanVECTOR Patient Partners and patient engagement to 

Recommended Resources

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the following online resources (open access) that outline methodology and best practices for pilot studies.

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: 

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

  • Applications must be submitted online by Monday, November 20th, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET.
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by CanVECTOR members without conflicts of interests, 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 2024. A letter of notification, including feedback from the review committee, will be sent to all lead applicants.

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 and readability for a lay audience; informativeness – are questions of why, what, when, where, and how answered) 20
The patient engagement strategy (clear and appropriate plan for including patient partners) 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 CanVECTOR's website.
  • Registration of the pilot study in a clinical trials registry (e.g. is required.
  • Funds will be released once the Research Ethics Board approval certificate for the project 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 (2023).
  • 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 (Includes the following mandatory questions): 
    • How will you incorporate a Patient Partner on your study team? Specify their proposed roles and what will your engagement plan look like 
    • How will Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) be considered for the pilot study? (Max 200 words) 
    • How will Sex and Gender be considered for the pilot study? (Max 200 words) 
  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. Study design
    7. Study population and sample size
    8. Intervention studied (if applicable)
    9. Measurement of outcomes
    10. Planned analyses
    11. Description of any potential ethical issues and how these will be addressed
    12. Description of the next steps: Indicate how the pilot project will facilitate the development of a full-scale research proposal.
    13. Detailed timeline for each specific aim
  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 succinct 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:
      • what question are you asking
      • why should the study be done
      • where, when, and how will the study be completed
      • who will participate and what is involved for participants
      • what are the expected findings and how will they be used
      • what difference might the outcomes and results make for patients 
  5. Budget and budget justification (maximum 2 pages: spreadsheet + justification)
    • The Budget Justification must list all other sources of funding that have been awarded or applied for the proposed study. CanVECTOR funds cannot be used as top up funding for studies that have secured funds from CIHR to complete the same project. If funds from other major funding agency competitions have already been awarded, we encourage the applicant to contact us to see if their grant would be eligible to apply.
    • CanVECTOR will provide the following support to successful pilot studies without charging a Project Fee 
      • Patient Partner compensation, support, and resources 
      • Use of the VERDICT Adjudication platform. Additional costs will apply if customization is required. 
    • 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)
      • Presentation/Publication
    • Ineligible expenses:
      • Institutional or administrative overhead (any indirect costs)
      • Salary support for investigators or trainees
      • Meals, alcohol, employee recognition
      • Travel for the research team 

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