2022-2023 – Inter-network initiatives: Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) and Quebec Bio-Imaging Network (QBIN)

Important information

Application deadline: December 10, 2021 @ 2pm
Announcement of results: March 01, 2022
Funding period: April 01, 2022 to March 31, 2023
Funding amount: 25,000$ per project

QBIN and TACC networks

Established in 2008, the mission of the Quebec Bio-imaging Network (QBIN) is to promote and facilitate fruitful collaborations between researchers all over Quebec in order to strengthen and promote the province’s reach and role as a national and international leader in bio-imaging. The three research themes central to QBIN’s vision are: 1) the development of innovative methods for in vivo or ex vivo image acquisition and analysis; 2) the study of pathophysiological processes and novel therapeutic treatments for various diseases using preclinical imaging of animal models; and 3) the investigation of normal and pathological function in humans using imaging.

Since 2017, the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) has successfully connected and mobilized Quebec’s strengths in autism research in hope to improve quality of life for autistic individuals and their families. The TACC accomplishes this by structuring programs and activities around three strategic objectives: (1) Discovery, (2) Building Capacity and (3) Community Engagement.

The flagship initiative of TACC’s Discovery Strategy Objective, Québec 1000 families (Q1K), is a province-wide clinically integrated protocol that will engage in research 1000 individuals with autism or related neurodevelopmental conditions and their families. Q1K will create research resources including a provincial research registry, a biobank, and a database that will integrate genomic, clinical, behavioural, and neuroimaging data across participants of all ages. Following Open Science principles, these resources will be made available to the local and international research communities.

For more information, please refer to the QBIN and TACC websites.

Program description

This inter-network program aims to promote research collaborations between members of the TACC and the QBIN. Specifically, this program welcomes projects that can significantly contribute to the Québec 1000 families initiative. Contribution to this initiative can take many forms, such as the validation of new tasks, development of new methodologies, development of analysis pipelines and techniques or the creation of new knowledge on imaging of autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions.

Funding objectives

The funding should be used for at least one of the following purposes:

  • Generate knowledge and data that can lead to a concrete clinical or health care application;
  • Acquire preliminary data to allow the team to submit competitive applications for further project funding to granting agencies;
  • Serve as leverage for larger grants from partners to conduct a long-term research agenda;
  • Help Quebec researchers to become leaders in the targeted research themes at the national and international levels;
  • Contribute to the development of an activity or product dedicated to the transfer of knowledge to users or target populations.

Award funding and duration

Inter-network projects will be funded at the level of $25,000 starting April 1st, 2022 for one year. Expenditures must be made in Quebec during this period and must comply with FRQS policies. The grant may be extended by up to one year (without budget increase) if adequately justified.

Eligibility criteria

The following eligibility criteria must be met by each application:

  • Projects must correspond to the research areas of both networks, and be tied to at least one of the above objectives.
  • The project must include two principal investigators: a regular member from each network (TACC and QBIN).
  • At least one of the principal investigators must be an early career researcher, as defined by the FRQS Research scholar – Junior 1 & 2 categories.
  • The project may involve more than one Quebec research center, as well as other centers in Canada or internationally. However, the funding may not be transferred outside of Quebec.
  • Principal investigators may be part of the same research center.
  • Only one application as a principal investigator can be submitted to this competition. There is no limit as a co-investigator.

Application instructions

Applicants will be required to complete the application form and prepare the following three documents.

1. Project proposal
5 pages in English or 6 pages in French, including figures and tables, excluding references.
Required format: Times New Roman font, 12pt font size, black font, 2 cm margins, single line spacing.
Please include the following subsections in your proposal:

  • Potential impact and significance
  • Inter-network collaboration
  • Research team and training environment

2. Budget
1 page, same format as project proposal.

PDF for each co-PI, including detailed contributions.

To submit an application, all documents must be saved together in a single PDF file and emailed to rbiq@usherbrooke.ca.

Evaluation criteria

The pilot projects will be evaluated using the following criteria.

Project 40%
Clear motivation; well-defined and realistic objectives (feasible within one year); methodological approach; considerations of sex, gender, and ethnocultural background in project design (when appropriate); project deliverables; knowledge translation and open science practices.

Inter-network collaboration 20%
Alignment with research themes of both networks, complementary expertise from both network members.

Potential impact and significance 15%
Scientific and/or clinical impact, and capacity for pilot results to lead to external funding.

Quality of the research team 15%
Publications and grants over the last 5 years; training of highly qualified personnel; impact in their respective field (relative to seniority/career stage); equity, diversity and inclusion within the research team and training environments; open science practices in the lab.

Budget 10%
Realistic and well justified budget.

An external scientific committee will be formed to evaluate all applications submitted. The committee will be co-chaired by a member of the Steering Committee of each network. Competition results will be announced on March 1st, 2022.

Submission deadline

The deadline for submitting applications is December 10, 2021 at 2:00pm.
Requests submitted late, that are incomplete, or that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered.

Obligations of researchers towards the program:

Successful applicants commit to:

  1. Acknowledge QBIN and TACC support as an initial funding agency in any publication (e.g. conference proceedings and peer-reviewed articles) or poster or oral presentation resulting from this research;
  2. Produce and submit to both networks a progress report at the end of the year and funding period summarizing the status of the research project, including copies of abstracts and articles published as a result of this research;
  3. Participate in the annual retreat or scientific day of their home network in order to keep all members informed of the results of the funded project;
  4. Notify the networks of any positive decision of granting agencies related to the subsidized project.

Requests for additional information may be directed to the network coordinators, Martine Dallaire rbiq@usherbrooke.ca and Fabienne Samson info@rtsa-tacc.com.