GUIDELINES FOR THE ALLOCATION OF FUNDS FOR RESEARCH THE FOUNDATION FIGHTING BLINDNESS - CANADA
I. Mandate of The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada
The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada encourages and supports research relevant to understanding the causes and improving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and related diseases of the retina (broadly speaking, retinal degenerative diseases: "RDD"). It gives highest priority to studies of clear and direct relevance to RDD, such as the genetics, molecular genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental and cell biology of human RDD and animal models, with special emphasis on the photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Recognizing, however, that the properties of these tissues are often shared by other cells and tissues, the Foundation encourages all studies of high scientific merit that have significant promise of producing insight into pathogenetic and restorative mechanisms in RDD. The Foundation supports, and will remain open to supporting, rather general studies of high merit on the molecular and cellular biology of the retina, and novel diagnostic methods and instrumentation directly relevant to RDD. It will not, as a general rule, consider funding research on the outer coats or adnexa of the eye or central visual pathways, nor the development of techniques or instrumentation for its own sake. In case of doubt, interested parties may address inquiries in advance to the Director of Research Programs.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada gives high priority to strengthening Canadian intellectual and technical resources for RDD research, and will support other kinds of research initiatives and training of research personnel, when sufficient funding is available. The FFB welcomes applications from new investigators, as well as investigators who are well established in other research areas, to direct or redirect their efforts towards RDD research, and it invites proposals to conduct pilot projects applying novel approaches to the study of RDD. Preference will be given to programs that promote advanced research training, development of physical resources, and collaboration between geographically dispersed Canadian RDD research laboratories as well as between RDD research laboratories in Canada and elsewhere.
II. Eligibility for Research Support
The Foundation will award research operating grants, scholarships and travel grants, through accredited Canadian universities and affiliated teaching hospitals, to scientists who hold regular full-time academic appointments in such institutions. The Foundation will also award post-doctoral fellowships and studentships, when sufficient funds are available. Any research or research training supported by the Foundation must fall within the mandate described above. A Letter of Intent (LOI) may be required, in order to determine whether the scope of the proposal falls within the mandate of the FFB-C or the Guidelines for the Allocation of Funds. When this is the case, potential applicants will be informed by the Foundation in advance as to procedures, forms, and deadlines for LOI submission.
Investigators who hold an academic appointment at a Canadian university and/or teaching hospital are eligible to apply to the FFB-C for grant support of their research. Applicants from outside Canada will be considered eligible only under unusual circumstances and at the discretion of the Board of Directors. If an applicant does not hold an academic appointment at the time of submitting an application, a covering letter from the Dean of the Faculty must be attached to the application indicating the position and date on which the appointment will take effect.
III. Criteria for Allocating Research FundsBearing in mind the priorities of the Foundation, applications for funding will be approved on the basis of scientific excellence, as determined by peer review by the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The judgment of the SAB will be reached by open discussion and an open vote, according to widely accepted best peer-review practices. Recommendations of the SAB will be presented to the Board of Directors of the Foundation at its final meeting near the end of each grant year. All final decisions regarding the allocation of research funds will be made by the Board of Directors.
Members of the Scientific Advisory Board will be absent from all discussions of the scientific merit, duration, and level of support of any applications in regard to which they might have or be perceived to have a conflict of interest. Such applications would normally include those from the SAB member him/herself, from anyone currently in his/her own faculty or research institute, from current or past trainees or collaborators, or from applicants for Scholarship, Fellowship or Studentship in his/her own institution. Members of the Scientific Advisory Board will be expected to identify these or any other potential conflicts of interest, and to absent themselves from deliberations of the Board whenever appropriate.
The Scientific Advisory Board will make its recommendations on the basis of the qualifications (training, experience, productivity) of the applicant(s) and the scientific merit of the research proposal. The nature and amount of the applicant's funding from other sources will not normally be a major determinant of the recommendation whether or not to fund a particular project. When there is substantial overlap between projects approved for funding by the FFB-C and another source, however, the following established rules for allocation from the two sources will prevail:
Joint Funding with Other Agencies: In cases of overlap in funding of similar or identical projects by the FFB-C and another agency, successful applicants are entitled to the full amount awarded by the FFB-C as a result of its own independent peer review. If the project is also approved for funding by another agency, the applicant will have three options: 1) to accept only the other agency's award, as-is; 2) to accept only the FFB-C award, as-is; 3) if the award from FFB-C is the larger, to accept the full award from the other agency plus a supplement from the FFB-C, up to the maximum permitted by the other agency, the total not to exceed the amount of the FFB-C award.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada receives contributions from all regions of Canada. However, since the Foundation is committed to funding research solely on the basis of scientific merit, geographical location will not be a consideration in the allocation of funding for our general operating grant or fellowship competitions. However, from time to time, the FFB may offer specific awards targeted to particular research disciplines and conditions or to specified Canadian institutions or geographical regions, in accordance with the designated wishes of a major gift donor.
IV. Term and Amount of FundingOperating grants will normally be awarded for a term of one to three years. The recommended term may be shortened to one or two years when required by circumstances, for example, when there is reasonable uncertainty about the successful outcome of the project or the applicant's ability to accomplish the project's goals, or in times of dire fiscal uncertainty.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness - Canada is committed to the principle of providing adequate support for selected investigators and projects of high scientific merit, rather than providing sub-optimal support for a larger number of investigators and projects. Therefore, the Foundation will attempt to support research projects with funds sufficient to assure their successful completion. The funding recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Board will be determined by its judgment as to what level of funding is sufficient. Since sufficient funds are rarely available to support all meritorious research proposals, funds will be allocated according to the total funds available, commitments previously made for continuing support, and the relative rankings of all applications in the same grants competition.
V. Review of Continuing Projects
Inquiries about the Foundation’s research support objectives and policies, and the suitability of projects for funding by the Foundation, can be directed at any time by email to:
|Dr. William K. Stell||Dr. Valerie Wallace|
|Director of Research||Chair, Scientific Advisory Board|
Foundation Fighting Blindness
890 Yonge St, 12th Fl, Toronto, ON M4W 3P4