Frequently asked questions about research grants
- Who is eligible to apply for the Royal College’s education research grants?
- I am a resident, enrolled in a Royal College-accredited residency program. Can I be considered as the principal investigator on the grant/research proposal?
- What types of education research does the Royal College fund?
- Can the CanMEDS grant apply to a research project relevant to continuing professional development (CPD)?
- Do the grants apply to research projects in the field of undergraduate medical education (e.g., involving medical students/undergraduate study populations)?
- May I submit more than one project proposal to the Royal College?
- How many pages should my proposal be?
- What if I don't have a letter of ethics approval at the time of application?
- Who should write the letter of support, and what information should be contained in the letter?
- When will funding start and to whom will monies be released?
- What items may be contained in my budget?
- Will grant monies cover travel expenses to disseminate research results?
- Is it necessary to obtain matching funds?
- When will the competition results be announced?
- Will I receive feedback/criticism on my proposal?
- If I receive a grant (i.e., my proposal is chosen to receive funding), what are my obligations/responsibilities to the Royal College?
1. Who is eligible to apply for the Royal College’s education research grants?
Applicants must be involved in teaching or medical education research in Canada. This may include specialist physicians or surgeons, family physicians, residents, allied health personnel or medical education, faculty development research associates and consultants (PhD researchers).
Principal investigators for the Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) and CanMEDS grant need not be physicians, nor is it mandatory to hold a teaching appointment in a faculty of medicine. Applications will be considered from individuals involved in teaching or educational research in a Canadian hospital or clinical setting; however, a Fellow of the Royal College must contribute to the research project (e.g., be a co-investigator on the project).
Applications may be individual or joint, involving one or more departments, disciplines or faculties of medicine.
2. I am a resident, enrolled in a Royal College-accredited residency program. Can I be considered as the principal investigator on the grant/research proposal?
Yes. However, a Fellow of the Royal College must also contribute to the research project and be listed as a co-investigator. Applicants for the Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) and the CanMEDs grant must be involved in teaching or medical education research in Canada. The Royal College recognizes the many and daily contributions residents make to teaching and medical education research in Canada.
3. What types of education research does the Royal College fund?
The Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) supports research relevant to the fields of postgraduate medical education or continuing professional development and continuing medical education. The research must take place in Canada. Preference will be given to projects that are general in scope or have broad applicability to postgraduate medical education (or continuing education), versus projects that are applicable to only one field of study or discipline. Areas of research include: curriculum design and implementation, instructional methods, assessment, program evaluation, and faculty development.
The CanMEDS grant supports research, development or implementation of projects that enhance specialty medicine education or practice in the promotion of the key roles for specialists as defined by CanMEDS. The research must take place in Canada. The research (or development) project must be beneficial to educating current or future specialists in how best to fulfill their roles as Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar or Professional. Research projects conducted at the undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development levels are considered; but researchers must demonstrate the project's applicability to CanMEDS objectives. Projects may advance the CanMEDS Framework as a whole, or focus on a single or subset of CanMEDS Roles.
4. Can the CanMEDS grant apply to a research project relevant to continuing professional development (CPD)?
Yes. Whereas research relevant to the field of CPD is more applicable to the objectives of the Medical Education Research Grant (MERG), one of the selection criteria for the CanMEDS grant is an assessment of the project’s “benefits to training programs in educating current specialists… to respond better to societal needs.” You must describe your proposal’s applicability to CanMEDS.
5. Do the grants apply to research projects in the field of undergraduate medical education (e.g., involving medical students/undergraduate study populations)?
Applicants wishing to undertake research in the field of undergraduate medical education may apply for the CanMEDS grant, based on the proposal’s relevance to the following CanMEDS selection criterion: “Selection is based on the project's benefits to educating future specialists.” You must describe your proposal's applicability to CanMEDS.
The call for proposals for the CanMEDS grant is sent to the deans’ offices.
It is possible that an undergraduate study may also apply to the Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) if the researchers were to describe the project's applicability or implementation to postgraduate medical education. However, proposals for the MERG should ideally include postgraduate medical education or continuing professional development study populations.
6. May I submit more than one project proposal to the Royal College?
Yes, you may submit more than one proposal to the same grants competition or to another grants competition concurrently (e.g., you may submit one project to Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) and another project to CanMEDS; or two different projects to MERG), but you may not submit the same proposal to different grants competitions (e.g., you may not submit the same proposal to both the MERG and CanMEDS competitions). You are eligible to receive only one grant in any given year (i.e., be the principal investigator on only one funded project per year).
Note that the peer-review committee has the prerogative to transfer your proposal to the competition it feels is most appropriate (e.g., a MERG proposal may be transferred to the CanMEDS competition if the committee feels the proposal has a better chance of success in the CanMEDS competition or better meets the CanMEDS grant's objectives).
7. How many pages should my proposal be?
The project description should not exceed five pages (10-point font minimum); however, applicants may include relevant appendices to support their project description. There is no page limit for the appendices. Applicants are also asked to attach the research instruments to be used in the research project, if such instruments are available at the time of application (research instruments would be attached as a separate appendix and not included in the five-page project description).
Note: The curricula vitae of the principal and co-investigators should not exceed four pages each (10-point font minimum).
8. What if I don't have a letter of ethics approval at the time of application?
If the letter of ethics approval is not available at the time of application, applicants are requested to provide the name and address of the ethics review board that will review the submission, and indicate when researchers anticipate receiving ethics approval. Please note, however, that if your application is successful, funds will not be released until the Royal College receives confirmation that the study has received ethical approval.
9. Who should write the letter of support, and what information should be contained in the letter?
The letter of support should be authored by the principal investigator's divisional chair, departmental head or faculty dean. The author of the letter should discuss his or her knowledge of the research project and its benefits to the academic or clinical education community; if applicable, the author may also comment on the research team's qualifications and their ability to bring the project to successful completion. The letter should demonstrate that the author, on behalf of his or her academic or clinical department, is aware and supportive of the proposed research or development project.
If the principal or any of the co-investigators is the divisional chair or departmental head, the letter of support should be authored by another principal within the department or by a faculty dean (e.g., postgraduate medical education dean or research dean).
10. When will funding start and to whom will monies be released?
Funds will not be disbursed until the Royal College receives confirmation that the funded project has received approval from the appropriate research ethics board.
Medical Education Research Grants (MERG) and CanMEDS grants will then be disbursed 75 per cent of the grant at project start, and 25 per cent on receipt of the researcher's final research and financial reports on project completion. Projects approved for funding beyond one year receive subsequent years' funding following receipt of a satisfactory progress report on completion of one year's study.
The Royal College requires that grant funds be administered by a third party (such as a university or hospital department or research institution) that will be responsible for providing the Royal College with a final financial report accounting for usage of grant funds; grants may not be made payable to an individual investigator.
Funds are to be used strictly as described in the grant proposal's budget page, and may not be used for any other purposes. In the event that a funded project is completed under budget, all surplus grant funds must be reported and returned to the Royal College on project completion.
11. What items may be contained in my budget?
Please refer to the budgetary guidelines for each grant (attached to the application form) for a list of acceptable and unacceptable expenses. Estimates to the best of your knowledge, rounded to the nearest $100, are requested.
12. Will grant monies cover travel expenses to disseminate research results?
Yes, costs anticipated for one investigator to travel to one scientific meeting to present the results of the funded research are allowable. The maximum request under a Medical Education Research Grant (MERG) or CanMEDS budget is $2,000; however, a maximum of $500 may be requested for travel expenses.
13. Is it necessary to obtain matching funds?
No, it is not necessary to secure matching funding.
14. When will the competition results be announced?
Competition results are announced in July, by email addressed to the principal investigator. It will not be possible to obtain competition results by telephone.
15. Will I receive feedback/criticism on my proposal?
Yes, in most instances. The peer-reviewers' comments are forwarded to the applicant following the adjudication process. These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or discussions of the Royal College. They are provided in the hope that they will prove useful to the authors.
16. If I receive a grant (i.e., my proposal is chosen to receive funding), what are my obligations and responsibilities to the Royal College?
On project completion, the principal investigator must send the Royal College a final research report that outlines the project's purpose, design and outcome/conclusions. The principal investigator must also discuss the project's contribution to the field of medical education and impact on his/her area of concentration as well as stipulate any gaps in knowledge identified through the work. If applicable, the principal investigator must forward a copy of any products of research, and attach a list of publications or presentations resulting from the work.
On project completion the principal investigator is also asked to submit a final financial report to the Royal College accounting for usage of grant funds; this report is prepared by the third party administering the funds. Funds are to be used strictly as described in the grant proposal's budget page and may not be used for any other purposes than those outlined in the proposal to the Royal College. In the event that the funded project is completed under budget, all surplus grant funds must be reported and returned to the Royal College on project completion.
Projects approved for funding beyond one year receive subsequent years' funding on receipt of a progress report (research and financial) at the end of each year of study.
If your proposal is chosen to receive funding, the Royal College will ask for your permission to post your name, institution, project title, abstract and grant amount to the Royal College website.
All publications and presentations resulting from the funded research must acknowledge the financial support of the Royal College. If you receive a CanMEDS grant, the financial support of Associated Medical Services, Inc. (AMS) and the Royal College must be acknowledged in all resultant publications and presentations. AMS is a charitable organization, devoted to supporting "initiatives which promote the development and understanding of those human and social values that are fundamental to health," and is an equal contributor to the CanMEDS grants program.