The Tripartite Partnership

New Call Application Deadline: 1st June 2018

Oxford-Brain @McGill-ZNZ Partnership in the Neurosciences






Policy, Organisation and Guidelines

General principles:

The XXI Century has already witnessed impressive advances in the brain sciences made possible by new research initiatives based on national partnerships and international collaborations. McGill, Oxford and the University of Zurich/ETH  are universities of high international standing, and as such, their faculties can make important contributions to joint projects with other elite universities.

On 29 May 2017, Brain@McGill, the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ) and Oxford Neuroscience extended their Partnership in Neuroscience for the next five years.

Under the agreement, researchers are expected to leverage the seed funding obtained from the partnership to apply for external research grants. This outcome remains the key objective of this collaborative program and is evaluated as such at the reporting stage.

Student mobility and training are also an integral part of this joint program. By providing a framework to promote and sustain ambitious research projects in emerging fields of neuroscience, the agreement facilitates exciting new international synergies and exchanges, exposing researchers to different scientific cultures. Such partnerships also help to move research forward at a faster pace and maximize research opportunities and support.

Applications may be made in two categories, ‘pilot projects’ and ’joint workshops’.

Call for Joint Project Proposals

Joint applications may originate from any two or all three of the partner institutions. Proposals should show scientific excellence with clear evidence of added value and synergy between the groups of the partner institutions.

Preference will be given to new applicants pursuing novel, innovative, or high-risk collaborative projects. Research projects should be new initiatives and funding will not be provided to extend existing awards/fellowships. Investigators who have previously received a Tripartite Partnership award may apply for funding of a new joint initiative. Applications from investigators who have previously received a Tripartite Partnership award and wish to apply must be aware that preference will be given to new applicants. If such researchers apply, they should also include a summary detailing the success of their previous collaboration. On the new application please include the number of publications produced, awards received, and scientific meetings attended as a result of the previous Tripartite Partnership award.

Projects may encompass any area relevant to the nervous system and its disorders. Where appropriate, applicants should consider the potential translational outputs of their project e.g. novel targets, in vitro/in vivo models, diagnostics, biomarkers and the development of novel therapies/interventions. In such cases, the potential application to the understanding and/or treatment of neurologic and mental health disorders in humans should be clearly outlined in the application.

Pilot projects can explore the feasibility of a new approach or research path and may have duration of up to one year.  These may take the form of a staff, graduate or postgraduate student exchange. However, undergraduate student exchanges will not be supported. The objective of a pilot project would be to generate preliminary data that will be used to support external research grant applications which should be submitted within six to twelve months of the completion of the award. The maximum amount that can be requested for a pilot project is generally C$30,000. The budget will usually be split evenly between partners covering the activities of their own participating groups.

High risk approaches will be considered.  In these cases risk will be evaluated against the potential to deliver ground breaking results.

Call for Joint Workshops

To  discuss areas of potential collaboration,  where Oxford, McGill and ZNZ research teams present their own data and showcase their own research capabilities. The  maximum  amount that can be requested for a workshop is C$10,000 or the equivalent in £GB/SFr.

Time Line

  • Call for Pilot Projects and Workshops Announced: Monday, 30 April 2018
  • Application Deadline: Friday, 1 June 2018
  • Decision Expected by: TBA
  • Earliest Start Date:  TBA


Relative Distribution of Awards

The distribution of awards will be decided on the basis of the scientific merit of the applications and the strategic objectives of the partnership as agreed at that time. The distribution of awards between each partner will be subject to the availability of sufficient funds available at the partner institutions.

Funds for successful applications will be allocated by the partner institutions involved in each award. The basis for the allocation of funding between institutions will be agreed by the steering committee.

If an applicant has been awarded by this program in an earlier call, a project report must have been sent after the termination of the earlier project (see “Reporting” below) to be eligible for this current call.

Application Procedure

Application forms are provided in appendix 1. Applications should include a completed application form, CVs of each investigator and budget breakdown. The budget breakdown should include a proposed breakdown of costs between the partner institutions. The funding requested for each institution should be given in the local currency and should include all matching contributions to the project (personnel, equipment, consumables, etc).

The current exchange rate, at the time of application, will be used for all cost calculations.

Assessment Procedure

Each partner institution will establish a committee of approximately 3-5 senior researchers to evaluate proposals.  Each proposal will be evaluated by the committees of the institutions involved in the proposed project. Partner institutions that are not involved in the proposal will not ordinarily be involved in the review process at this stage. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the assessment criteria provided in appendix 2. Applicants may not take part in the review of their own proposals.

The results of each institution’s evaluation will be provided to the steering committee members representing the partnership at that institution, who may choose to seek further scientific expert advice if it is deemed necessary. It may be possible to ask applicants to resubmit, taking into account the reviewer’s comments.

Funding decisions will be made by the steering committee. These may take into account the longer term strategic objectives of the partnership as agreed at that time; or any other factors deemed appropriate.  The panel’s decision will be final and there will be no appeal procedure.

Review committee comments will not be made available to applicants, unless they are invited to revise and resubmit their proposal.  However, the committee may wish to provide feedback if it is deemed this will assist the development of early career researchers. 



At project end, pilot projects and workshops should provide a brief (normally 1 page max) report detailing achievements.  This should highlight key results, potential impacts of continued research in the area, student mobility, abstracts, talks at scientific meetings, funding applications, publications in preparation and any media highlights. 

Any publications generated as a result of either award type must acknowledge the partnership specifically referring to support from ‘The Oxford McGill ZNZ Partnership in the Neurosciences’.  Investigators should update the partnership coordinators on the progress of publications arising from these awards.

Should a project cease for any reason, including project end, unspent funds will be returned to the partnership.


Click here to acccess the Appendix and Application form:

PDF icon oxford_mcgill_znz_partnership_appendix_fillable_april_2018.pdf

For Oxford, all PI information can be accessed via

For ZNZ, all PI information can be accessed via

Please direct inquiries to:

Karen Kinsella
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation)
McGill University

Phone: +1-514-398-3991
karen.kinsella [at]