Innovative Solutions for Planetary Health: seed grants for interdisciplinary research

Applications for the Innovative Solutions for Planetary Health seed grants are now closed.

See the winners for the first round here.

Supported by the Steinberg Fund for Interdisciplinary Global Health Research and by the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design the “Innovative Solutions for Planetary Health” seed grants program fosters collaboration between faculty members across the McGill community working on new and innovative research that advances sustainability, global environmental issues, and planetary health. In this round, we emphasize research conducted through partnerships between the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Engineering. Read more about this project.

We are providing two seed grants to support the initial stages of collaborative projects and catalyze new, innovative and impactful global environmental health research from interdisciplinary McGill teams with a view to increasing their ability to secure future external funding.

We are looking for bold, new, high-risk ideas. Proposals must embody that objective to score favorably.   

Seed grants are $75,000  each and are not renewable. Duration of the seed grant projects should be 18 months. Quality- and admissibility depending, two grants are expected to be funded—one in each of the two “research categories” (see “Research Scope”).

Questions? Please direct all questions to kristin.hendricks [at] (subject: Seed%20grant%20question)

Deadline: January 31st, 2018 23:59

Application Criteria | Research Scope | Ineligible Projects | Grant Administration | Application Instructions | Assessment & Evaluation | Outcomes and Reporting | Timeline

Application Criteria:

  • All teams must designate two co-Principal Investigators. One must be from the Faculty of Medicine and one must be from the Faculty of Engineering.
    • A lead applicant hereafter referred to as the “Corresponding Principal Investigator (C.P.I.)” will be the grant holder.
    • Researchers from specialties within global environmental health, including but not limited to, the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management, the McGill School of Environment, the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences are especially encouraged to join teams as “collaborators”.
  • Each investigator must be a tenure or tenure track professor holding a full-time academic appointment at McGill.
    • It is expected that the intellectual direction and leadership is shared among team members.
  • Each faculty member can only apply once per competition.

Research Scope:

  • Proposals must address novel research looking for solutions through advances in measurement, the distribution and characterization of environmental pollution, the assessment of its health impacts and/or strategies for the mitigation of the health impacts for development of sustainable living environments. Ideas that would lead to simple, practical solutions from the high-tech or natural world are encouraged.
  • Proposals are invited that address the above for water pollution.
  • Proposals must focus on a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) or Indigenous Canadian communities, and must include a strong partner in these settings  
  • Researchers are required to involve undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the work
  • Other funding sources (e.g. Global Health Scholars, TISED SURE and MEDA awards) can help support students outside of the seed grant funds

An important update: The Office of the Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation and Partnerships is now supporting this initiative with funding for graduate students or postdocs whose work in your project relates to innovation and biotechnology. One of the pre-established requirements for applications was to include students anyways (see immediately above) but please emphasize your rationale for graduate students or postdocs working in these areas in order to be considered for these funds.

Ineligible projects:

  • Research whose full scope is already supported by other sources 
  • Gap funding to bridge support between external grants or contracts

Those interested in other global health research topics should also investigate the Steinberg Fund Interdisciplinary Global Health Research.

Grant Administration for C.P.I.s and P.I.s

Seed grants are from $75,000 each and are not renewable. The Corresponding P.I. will be the seed grant’s Fund Financial Manager (FFM) for the administration of grant funds and the grant will be administered from that P.I.’s ‘home’ Department or School.

Application Instructions:

  1. Complete the Application Form
  2. Complete all sections of the proposal as outlined here and submit via the website.

Application/Proposal Format and Content

Note: If you feel additional information is important to submit, an appendix may be included but there is no obligation for reviewers to read it. A violation of the application format will result in your proposal not being reviewed.

I. PROPOSAL | 4 pages (Including tables and figures, excluding letters of support)

1. Summary of project described in plain language (not domain specific as review committee will be from various disciplines)

                                -Indicate the essence of your idea in bold in 1-2 sentences

2. Brief context justifying need for this research

3. How is your idea innovative? In other words, how is it cutting-edge, unconventional, creative, and courageous? 

4. Objectives and outcomes relating to Research Scope

5. Activity Plan with associated timeline

                                -Projects may start between May-August 2018 and should be 18 months in duration

                                -Specify start and end dates

                                -Specify project milestones with associated completion dates up to, and including, outcomes and reporting requirements (one year after specified project end date – see outcomes and reporting)

6. Why is your assembled team the best fit for this project?

7. Which partners in low or middle income country (LMIC) or Indigenous Canadian communities will the project involve? Why are these appropriate partners?

8. Letters of Support describing the partnership and in-kind contributions


1. Which external agency or body and funding program(s) will you seek support from? For which grant submission deadline specifically?

2. What will be the thrust of your external funding proposal and how is that specifically supported by this seed funding?

3. Why do you anticipate that the research supported by this seed grant will successfully leverage those external funds?

4. Who will be involved from McGill University and others? Briefly describe their skills related to the project. More people can be involved in your final proposal team than are included on the seed grant.

5. Who will read and comment on your proposal before it is submitted to an external funding program? Having a colleague pre-review your grant significantly increases its' likelihood of being funded.

III. BUDGET |1 page

In general, all expenses must conform to the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide regulations. Expenses may include direct cost of research such as:

(a) Salaries for students, postdoctoral fellows and other personnel directly involved in the project’s research;

(b) Travel cost for field work and data collection, not exceeding 30% of the budget requested;

(c) Supplies and small pieces of equipment (such as software or computers) less than $7,000 per item before taxes.

(d) Although costs related to outreach and networking activities are eligible, travel costs for dissemination of research results (e.g. academic conferences) are ineligible


V. CVs

  • NSERC, SSHRC or CIHR Common CV are acceptable
  • Include CVs for each investigator

Note: If you feel additional information is important to submit, an appendix may be included but there is no obligation for reviewers to read it. A violation of the application format will result in your proposal not being reviewed.

Assessment & Evaluation

Proposals will be reviewed by a review committee composed of researchers from multiple disciplines. Applications will be scored on whether the proposed research:

1. Fosters interdisciplinary collaborative research and develops new long-term research synergies (15%)

2. Has potential to attract external funding within two years of project end date (30%)

3. Has potentially significant impacts and is expected to contribute to new knowledge (30%) 

                       For example, does the proposed project:
                               *Explore or test new ideas, methods or practices can lead to simple, practical solutions?
                               *Have the potential for a breakthrough in knowledge or practice?

4. Complementarity of expertise of the team members and external partners (15%)

5. Feasibility of the project, schedule of proposed activities, and appropriateness of the budget justification (10%)

Outcomes & Reporting

  1. Financial report: Within two months of the project end date, a financial report must be submitted to the Global Health Programs Office and TISED. Any publications or presentation given related to the research project should be included. A template will be provided.  

  2. External funding application: Seed grantees must produce a new proposal for external funding as the final report within one year of project end date. In exceptional cases, where seed funding may prove the project to be ultimately non-competitive, a waiver of the external application requirement may be requested, by formal letter, to the Global Health Programs Office and they will work in partnership with the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) to evaluate the request.
  3. Annual Showcase Event: PIs will be required to attend a joint GHP-TISED event, which focuses on student and faculty work in the area of global environmental health from the Faculties of Engineering and Medicine. The event may include a keynote speaker, presentations, posters, and/or a student competition.

Note: If these outcomes are not met, no new funds from TISED or GHP will be made available to the P.I.s involved until those outcomes are met in a satisfactory manner.


  • November15, 2017: Call for Applications opens
  • January 31, 2018 Midnight: Applications due
  •  Early Spring 2018: Announcement of winners



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