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Funding Opportunities


D2R Funding Programs Launch Date
Foundational Projects February 2024  (closed)
Research in Motion February 2024 (closed)
Translational Impact Research Spring 2024 (closed)
Training Awards* February 2024
Support for Early Career Researchers Summer 2024
Indigenous Health TBD
Core Platform Sustainability Summer 2024
Centres and Institute Support Summer 2024
International Partnership Summer 2024
Rapid Response TBD
Commercialization Priming Spring 2024
Major Partnerships Spring 2024
Clinical Research and Development Summer 2024

* Training Awards will be linked to some of the D2R funding programs (e.g. Foundational Projects, Research in Motion, Translational Impact Research).

About D2R's Funding Opportunities

Central to D2R’s strategy is the nurturing of emerging talent and the forging of novel research pathways. The D2R Initiative places a strong emphasis on supporting trainees and early career researchers, providing them with the opportunities and resources needed to excel. Programs like Training Awards (offered in conjunction with D2R’s funded projects) and Support for Early Career Researchers are specifically tailored to cultivate the next generation of scientific leaders.

Moreover, D2R places a major focus on collaborative and multidisciplinary research approaches for translational impact. The Translational Impact Research program, along with others like Research in Motion, aim to support collaborations across D2R axes that cut across traditional boundaries, maximizing opportunities to move research along a translational discovery pipeline.

From foundational projects promoting high-risk innovation to those focusing on international collaborations and commercialization partnerships, D2R funding programs aim to foster an ecosystem that nurtures diverse ideas. The D2R funding programs address gaps and needs from rapid response to public health emergencies, commercialization efforts, or clinical research and development. Each one is tailored to align with D2R’s overarching goal of advancing genomic medicine to benefit all, particularly vulnerable populations.

It is important to note that despite the plurality of programs, D2R is not a mini-funding agency strictly dedicated to funding good research. It is a mission-oriented initiative with a clear focus on delivering novel RNA therapies to Canadians afflicted with common or rare diseases. D2R will commit to projects that closely align with its strategic goals and specific objectives and priorities. Applicants seeking D2R funding are required to demonstrate a clear rationale for their choice. This includes explaining how their proposed project contributes to D2R's objectives, distinguishing their project from existing funding streams (if applicable), and articulating why D2R's support is crucial for their project's success.

Funding Cycle 

The D2R Initiative will distribute funding over four (4) cycles by 2030. Each cycle, spanning 12-18 months, will feature calls for proposal for the following regular programs: Foundational Projects, Research in Motion Projects, Translational Impact Research, International Partnership, and Clinical Research and Development. Some programs, however, will accept applications on a rolling basis, or be launched only as needed.

Description of D2R Funding Programs

1. Foundational Projects

  • Foster innovation, novel ideas and high-risk projects that are in early stages of development, with the potential to be game changers.
  • Support of novel directions of existing research.
  • Provide proof of concept such that industrial partners and/or Tri-Agency funding can be obtained, or strategically targeted to address a scientific gap identified during the program.
  • Awarded projects may provide leveraging opportunities from traditional funding sources, or transition access to other D2R funding programs.

2. Research in Motion

  • Aims to enhance interdisciplinary research and create novel research interfaces that foster innovative ideas and support new approaches to research questions.
  • Projects involving researchers from any two axes of D2R, with an additional focus on research projects involving investigators who might not have considered working together previously, e.g., AI and other data science and RNA therapeutics, clinical research/trials and social sciences, RNA biology and Indigenous health.

3. Translational Impact Research

  • To support a few, large-scale translational research projects to address strategic priorities, including new genomic and RNA-based therapeutic options in specific disease areas or for specific populations that will have a measurable translational impact on the health of Canadians over the course of the program.
  • Work packages will involve a minimum of three of any D2R axes working together with partners in inter- and multi-disciplinary fashion to enable translational outcomes. Size depends on the nature of the proposed project,
  • Will also engage other D2R funding programs, e.g., training fellowships, commercialization partnership awards, and clinical research grants.

4. Training Awards

  • Will foster multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, multi-national training of graduate students (M. Sc., Ph. D., PDF) for meritorious applicants, with the possibility to hold internships with industry partners.
  • Promote rotations or travel between different labs.
  • Include short-term industry training stipends, co-funded by partner organizations.
  • Will be linked to some of the D2R funding programs (e.g. Foundational Projects, Research in Motion Projects, Translational Impact Research).
  • Separate and more standard competitions for training awards may be implemented as needed.

5. Early Career Researchers

  • This program will support competitive start-up packages (complementary to those offered by Faculties) to recruit researchers of the highest caliber for the 18 tenure-track positions related to D2R: McGill has committed 11 tenure-track positions with an additional 7 committed by Université de Sherbrooke.
  • All recruitments will follow institutional regulations for academic hires respecting transparency, fairness, and the EDI plan, with emphasis on recruitment of Indigenous and equity-seeking groups.

6. Indigenous Health

  • Committed for a carefully constructed, staged process for Indigenous research engagement leading to community-based research projects in addition to fellowships and training programs for Indigenous university and pre-university students.
  • Will support participant fees for Quebec Indigenous communities as well as transportation, lodging, and translation.
  • Staged engagement process means that funding may need to be adjusted depending on engagement levels over seven years.
  • Training for non-university, undergraduate and graduate level trainees will be delivered in collaboration with McGill’s Branches IMPRESS program.

7. Core Platform Sustainability

  • State-of-the-art platforms support research and development providing researchers and industry collaborators with the latest technologies and resources on a fee-for-service basis.
  • New core facilities in the areas of genomics, RNA chemistry, data science, biomanufacturing, and clinical research may be created during the D2R term, and novel platforms in research ethics, policy, regulatory compliance, Indigenous health, and other areas of social sciences may be created, together promoting knowledge mobilization and KT to society.
  • Support is provided for operations, e.g., technical personnel, data managers, extended warranties and repair of equipment, and services.

8. Centres and Institute Support

  • Centres bring together researchers from different disciplines interacting under the same umbrella both at the scientific and operational levels and provide an important training framework for trainees at all levels through group meetings, seminar series, research symposia, and visiting scholars.
  • This program will provide modest funding to official centres and institutes with recognized funding by a Faculty and by external awards including philanthropic donations.

9. International Partnerships

  • Will use a flexible approach to support D2R participation in international partnerships such as “International Labs”, research projects, consortia, and partnerships with major international academic institutions.
  • This program will prioritize areas of innovative research and relevance to the program, areas of complementary strength, and/or areas of capacity building, bilateral exchanges and training for graduate and postdoctoral fellows, Knowledge Mobilization (KM), KT, and acquisition of new skills.
  • Will provide funding to Canadian partners with an equal contribution from the partnering institution.

10. Rapid Response

  • Should a critical public health emergency occur, this funding could be quickly activated to support a rapid response by D2R investigators.
  • Funded initiatives must have defined short-term goals (6-12 months), be inter-disciplinary, address an imminent or ongoing public health threat, and have a clear path to rapid translation.

11. Commercialization Priming

  • Will provide short-term financial support for early-stage efforts to test the commercial potential of a technology, an idea, or an invention linked to D2R and included in a report of invention (ROI) or patent filed by a partner institution.
  • Support would address simple and direct research questions.
  • Goal is to provide key proof of principle data required for attracting partnerships with industry or investors, or to be able to apply for other sources of funding.

12. Major Partnerships

  • Will provide financial support for the commercial maturation of technologies linked to D2R and that are covered by an ROI or patent filed by McGill or a partner institution, and for which a commercial partner, spin-off or venture group has been identified.
  • Will leverage funding from external commercialization programs that themselves require the engagement of a commercial partner.
  • Could partner directly with a commercial entity (industry, spin-off) or an investment group to develop an invention.

13. Clinical Research and Development

  • To support research initiatives that take advantage of the context of the clinical trials to discover or validate biomarkers (exploratory endpoints), which could enhance implementation of new therapeutics by guiding and targeting novel interventions to specific subpopulations.
  • Will not replace current sources of public or private funding for investigator-initiated or industry-sponsored phase I-IV clinical trials, but affiliated clinical researchers may generate novel state-of-the-art adaptive trial designs to greatly accelerate testing of new treatments and their approval by regulators.
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