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Opportunities For Researchers

CCFC application forms now require Adobe Reader or Professional (version 8 or higher) for assembling and submitting applications as pdf files. You can find the latest free version of Adobe Reader here.


Grants in Aid of Research


Award Description:

The CCFC Grants in Aid of Research program is intended to support research on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This research program helps to advance prevention, treatments, health policy and to ultimately find cures. 

GIA’s support research projects with a defined objective, conducted by an investigator working alone or in collaboration with others. Grants will be awarded for a maximum of three years, not to exceed $125,000 per annum. For the first time, a grant of $5,000, provided in partnership with CIHR’s the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes’ (INMD), will be awarded as a one-time lump sum to the highest ranked project from a new investigator. This funding will help support travel and ancillary costs for the individual to attend or speak at gastroenterology conferences or to purchase essential equipment necessary to their study.


November 1st - Letter of Intent
January 20th - Guidelines, Application Form, and CoInvestigator Form.

Please note we need to receive an electronic copy and a print copy of your application. Electronic applications should be emailed to afernandes@ccfc.ca  and printed copies should be mailed to their attention at the address below:

600-60 St. Clair Avenue East
Toronto, ON M4T 1N5
Attention: Research Grant and Awards Coordinator


Investigators who hold an academic appointment at a Canadian University in a Faculty of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine or other Graduate Faculty are eligible to apply to the CCFC as principal investigators for grant support of their research. The research proposed must have a clear connection to the mission of the Foundation. Co-Investigators based in the United States are acceptable.

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 planned position and the date it will take effect. Investigators in Faculties other than the health sciences may also apply if the proposed research is deemed relevant to the CCFC’s mission and strategic directions.

If the research is to be done in a hospital or other health care facility, the signature of that institution’s officer on the first page of the application certifies that appropriate space and resources are available, and will be provided to the applicant.

Support for qualified undergraduate and graduate students within the operating budget is permissible. In order to be eligible to receive funding for a GIA from the CCFC, recipients must be members of the CCFC IBD Research Institute.

To qualify for the new investigator prize, individuals must have held a full-time research appointment for a period up to sixty months from the initial faculty appointment. 

Please note that at this time we are unable to directly fund Principal investigators (PI’s) outside Canada.

Nomination Procedure:

Each application is assessed for its scientific merit, relevancy and translatability potential by the Grants Review Committee (GRC). Applications may also be independently reviewed by external referees who are considered expert in the field(s) concerned.

The CCFC incorporates lay reviewers on its Grant Review Committee (GRC) panel in order to increase accountability and transparency of the review process and to ensure the research is aligned with its goals and mission. The lay reviewers help shed light on the relevancy of the proposal to CCFC’s mission. The CCFC places a high priority on ensuring appropriate lay summaries are submitted as part of each application.

The committee discusses the application and by consensus (or by majority vote if necessary) assigns it a score between 0 and 5. These scores represent the following categories: OUTSTANDING (4.5-4.9), EXCELLENT (4.0-4.4), VERY GOOD (3.5-3.9), ACCEPTABLE BUT LOW PRIORITY (3.0-3.4), or UNACCEPTABLE (<2.9). This assignment is based on the Committee members’ assessments of the application in light of the discussion, consideration of the application itself, the reports of the internal reviewers and the external referees. Each member of the GRC who has participated in the discussion (excluding GRC members from the same institution or otherwise in conflict) then assigns to the application a score within a range of +0.5 of the consensus score. An average of these submitted scores then determines the final score and rank. Only those proposals receiving a score in the range of good or better (3.0 or above) are discussed in detail by the GRC. In addition, relevancy to the mission of the CCFC and prospect for translatability is considered in the overall rating. Those deemed not relevant or translatable would be unacceptable and therefore rejected.

The Grants Review Committee is also required to recommend a budget or appropriate level of funding for each application. This is decided by consensus within the committee. In arriving at a recommended budget, the CCFC National Board of Directors expects that the Grants Review Committee will bring its collective judgment and knowledge of research requirements and costs. It should consider closely the budget submitted by the applicant and recommend funding that will permit the applicant(s) to make reasonable progress over the period of the grant. This recommendation of the budget is separate and distinct from the assessment of scientific merit and is made subsequent to that assessment.

Selection Procedure:

In accordance with Board direction, CCFC program priorities and budgetary constraints, the CCFC, informed by the Grants Review Committee, considers the ratings and the recommended budgets and announces the final decision. There will be no appeals of these decisions.

Click here to see a list of the projects we are currently funding.


Innovations in IBD Research

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada invites applications for an "Innovations Grant", to fund novel or innovative approaches to IBD research. This grant is intended to stimulate and support research which may not be encompassed within the boundaries of traditional medical research. Research proposals must conform to sound principles of research and may aim to collect pilot data for follow-on application(s). The Foundation seeks mission relevance and excellence as well as innovation.

Grants to a maximum of $50,000 for one year may be awarded.


January 20: Guidelines / Application Form

Please note that at this time we are unable to directly fund Principal investigators (PI’s) outside Canada.

Electronic applications should be emailed to researchassistant@ccfc.ca and printed copies should be mailed to their attention at the address below: 
600-60 St. Clair Avenue East
Toronto, ON M4T 1N5

Special Initiatives and External Partnerships

CCFC - CIHR Partnerships for Health System Improvement

The intent of the Partnerships for Health System Improvement (PHSI) program is to strengthen Canada's healthcare system through collaborative, applied and policy-relevant research. PHSI is Canada's premier health services and policy research competition — and with its strong emphasis on partnerships and knowledge translation it is also a major resource for managers and policy makers who want relevant research to inform their decision-making. PHSI funds teams of decision makers and researchers to conduct applied health services and policy research. Because they participate throughout the research process the research results are more likely to be relevant to and used by decision makers. PHSI projects can last up to three years and receive up to a maximum of $400,000 from CIHR over the life of the project. Additional funding from external partners is required.

As a competition partner in the PHSI program, CCFC is specifically interested in supporting researchers conducting applied and policy-relevant health systems and services research that responds to the needs of health care decision makers and strengthens the Canadian health care system and supports the vision and mission of the CCFC: Mission, Vision, Values - Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Eligibility for Competition Partner Support from CCFC:

1.applications must demonstrate clear relevance to CCFC's mission;
2.applications must be highly rated in the PHSI program merit review process;
3.The portion of funds requested from CCFC should not exceed $75,000;
4.Applications must have a minimum of 10% of the total budget secured through cash or in-kind contributions from a decision-maker partner(s).

Process for Obtaining Competition Partner Support from CCFC:
Applicants should notify CCFC by September 15, 2012 with the intent to apply. CCFC requires the following information:

•The Partnership Details form with all relevant fields completed;
•Title of the project;
•A draft summary of the project (abstract);
•The name of the nominated Principal Applicant and Co-Applicants; and
•The total amount and all sources of funding being requested for the PHSI grant as a whole, including the amount being requested from CCFC and any decision-maker partner(s).
CCFC will assess the application's eligibility for CCFC support and respond to the applicant. CCFC will not review any part of the full application prior to submitting to CIHR. For applications that are deemed eligible for CCFC support, CCFC will complete and return the Partnership Details form directly to the researcher.

Final Funding Confirmation
CCFC's allocation for this PHSI competition is up to $150,000, which may support up to two relevant grants. In the event that there are more successful applications than available funds can support, applications will be funded based on the priority rating established by the PHSI merit review panel, the eligibility conditions noted above, and funding availability.

Requests for information about the PHSI competition and application process should be directed to CIHR.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada - Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Sponsored Research Program
Request for Proposals

 I. Background and Purpose.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (the “CCFC”) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (“Vertex”) are pleased to announce the establishment of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada-Vertex Pharmaceuticals Sponsored Research Program (the “Program”). Through this Program, the CCFC and Vertex will support research initiatives in the area of Crohn’s disease and colitis research.

Subject to execution of a written mutually agreeable sponsored research agreement among the CCFC, Vertex, and the Institution of selected investigators (a “Definitive Agreement”), Vertex and CCFC will together sponsor up to three (3) two-year research projects commencing March 15, 2013.

This Request for Proposals describes the specific fields of research for which proposals are sought, as well as details related to the application process and funding arrangement. Letter of Intent and Detailed Proposal templates required for application are provided in the appendices. The application process and scientific review process will be managed by the CCFC, and the top-ranked projects which meet the criteria for funding will be selected by the CCFC and Vertex.

II. Program Eligibility

1. Who may apply?

Any scientist employed by a Canadian academic institution or other medical research non-profit institution (each, an “Institution”), who is eligible under the policies of their Institution to participate.

2. Eligible Research Fields

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated has recently identified inflammatory bowel disease as one of its strategic areas for research and development investment. Despite the clinical benefit achieved with current standard of care therapeutics, multiple unmet medical needs remain for both Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. Results of genetic association studies completed in the past several years have identified ~160 disease susceptibility loci for CD and/or UC that are defining the pathogenesis of these diseases and provide a molecular framework for selection of new therapeutic targets for drug discovery research. Combined with the advent of personalized medicine paradigms, matching drugs designed to impact specific disease pathways with selection of patients carrying a specific genetic defect may result in maximal benefits in disease management.

Vertex currently has an emerging portfolio of anti-inflammatory drug development candidates and advanced research programs designing additional molecules. Mechanistically, the current Vertex portfolio of compounds may affect Th1 and Th 17 cell functions, cytokine and chemokine receptor signaling, inflammatory cell migration, ROS generation and inflammatory cell mediated tissue injury. Since these agents affect primarily acquired immunity, Vertex is interested in exploring collaborative opportunities in other elements of IBD pathogenesis to identify new drug targets and expand the potential therapeutic diversity of its research and development portfolio.

To meet this objective, the following areas have been identified for further research proposals:

1.      Innate immune mechanisms in bacterial recognition & clearance

Polymorphisms in genes for NOD2, ATG16L1 and IRGM have been associated with loss of function defects resulting in diminished recognition and clearance of intracellular bacteria by epithelial cells and macrophages, altered antigen processing by dendritic cells and dysregulation of the NOD/TLR signaling network

Research proposals of interest may address the following:

·         Identification and functional characterization of inducers or negative regulators of autophagy and NOD2 activation
·         Inter-regulation and maintenance of homeostasis within the NOD2 and TLR signaling networks

2.      Epithelial barrier permeability and epithelial repair/restitution

Numerous polymorphisms have been identified in genes that could affect epithelial cell functions and epithelial barrier integrity. These include genes associated with ER stress (ORMDL3, XBP1), the extracellular matrix (ECM-1, LAMB1), ion transport (SLC26A3, SLC22A23, P-gp), microtubule organization, adherens junction and tight junctions (HNF4A, CHD1, CEP72, TPPP). However, functional defects associated with these polymorphisms and potential roles in altering trans-cellular, para-cellular permeability, regulation of tight junction integrity and epithelial restitution/repair remain poorly defined. 

Proposals comparing the role of wild type and genetic variants in the following processes would be of interest:

·         Regulation of tight junction integrity and altered trans- and para-cellular permeability
·         Regulation of intestinal epithelial repair mechanisms (restitution)
·         Regulation of epithelial-myofibroblast interactions in physiological and pathophysiological fibrosis
·         Epithelial cell differentiation, proliferation and regulation of Paneth cells and or crypt stem cell function
·         Primary human or mouse organoid cultures with differentiated mixed intestinal enterocytes (columnar, enteroendocrine, Paneth and goblet cells) with or without myofibroblast feeder layers
·         Human and/or mouse induced pluripotential stem cell (iPSC)-derived culture systems of differentiated primary enterocytes derived from definitive endoderm via intestinal progenitors


Investigators are strongly encouraged to bring forward proposals which already have or will lead to clinically translatable opportunities for IBD treatment or diagnosis. Some examples of research considered to be translational may include the following:

·         Validation of the functional role of novel biochemical targets in the pathology of colitis in a model system, or studies to extend biochemical findings from a model system to clinical specimens to substantiate the biological concept in the human disease process.
·         Development of a novel animal model that recapitulates human disease pathology (more relevant than the current set of animal models of IBD).
·         Establishment of a novel and robust assay (either a biochemical method with purified reagents, or a cell based phenotypic assay - such as high content imaging) to support screening a library of chemical compounds or siRNA/shRNA libraries.
·         Establishment of a high throughput cell based assay suitable for RNAi/shRNA genome wide screens to select and validate targets in a field of interest e.g. barrier permeability, barrier repair, autophagy, AIEC infection etc.
·         Identification of a biomarker and development of an assay for that marker that may have the potential to be used in a clinical trial to monitor the activity of a therapeutic modality.
Establishment of the functional effects (gain or loss) associated with a, IBD genetic risk variant to define the biochemical role in disease pathology and to define ways to screen for targets that regulate or drugs to correct the gain/loss of function

III. Funding. Funding for each project will be restricted to direct costs for up to $CAD100,000 per year, for up to two (2) years.

IV. Review and Selection Process. This Program will use a two-stage application process described as follows.

1. Letters of Intent.  Initially, each applicant will submit a brief, non-confidential summary of the proposed research (a “Letter of Intent”), with a one-page project synopsis, using the Letter of Intent form provided in Appendix A. The Letter of Intent will briefly describe the research objectives, an overview of proposed studies, and will highlight the biomedical relevance and translatability potential. The level of detail should be no greater than that of an abstract submission for publication at a public conference. Based on the Letters of Intent submitted, the CCFC and Vertex will invite those candidates which fit the request for proposals (RFP) mandate to submit a Full Application. To maximize the chances of success, the Letter of Intent should succinctly address the following:

A. Background and Significance.
(i) Need and Significance (highlighting the novelty, risk and potential benefits of the project).
(ii) Briefly describe recent research directly relevant to the proposal, including others in the field and, in particular, your own work.

B. Proposed Research Plan.
(i) Specific Aims and Objectives
(ii) Translatability potential

C. Investigator Information.

(i) Indentify co-investigators
(ii) Curriculum vitae (in brief) for each investigator
(iii)Relevant publications/manuscripts (no more than five (5) citations) for each investigator

2. Full Application. The second stage of application requires that applicants, who are selected from the first round of Letters of Intent, submit a detailed research plan (up to six (6) pages, as guided by the format defined in the Full Application form provided in Appendix B and a simple budget, brief biographical information on any co-investigators. Full Applications may contain confidential information and provided the confidential information is identified as “confidential,” the CCFC and Vertex will treat such information as confidential. The Full Application should provide greater detail than in the Letter of Intent, including the following:

A. Background and Significance

(i) A more formal connection of the proposed project to the furtherance of Crohn’s disease and colitis disease, diagnosis, or treatment understanding, including a concise relevant literature review.

(ii) Unlike the Letter of Intent the Full Application is a confidential document, so in submitting a Full Application, investigators are invited to elaborate more on their recent research that has relevance to the proposal.

B. Proposed Research Plan.

(i) Specific objectives, and for each objective provide an estimate of the cost and time required for completion.
(ii) Describe the milestone criteria that will be used to determine if the specific objectives have been achieved.
(iii) Describe key risks (beyond the control of the investigator) that could potentially jeopardize the successful attainment of objectives.
(iv) Translatability potential

C. Third Party Resources. Identify prior, current and pending sources of support to your lab related to the proposed project.

V. Timeline and Deadlines.

September 17, 2012: Deadline for submission of Letters of Intent to CCFC
October 1, 2012: Announcement of finalists
November 12, 2012: Deadline for submission of Full Applications to CCFC
January 14, 2013: Announcement of Sponsorship recipients

VI. Other Requirements: Terms and Conditions of the Sponsorship.

1. Collaborators. Proposals including up to two co-investigators (“Co-Investigators”) at the same or different Institutions will be considered, but all investigators must be individually eligible. If Co-Investigators are listed, the investigator (“Contact Investigator”) who will be primarily responsible for communication with the CCFC and Vertex must indicate that all Co-Investigators have consented to the collaboration concept insofar as is outlined in the proposal and to the provision of their names and details in the proposal document. Inclusion of Co-Investigators in the Full Application will constitute consent that the Co-Investigators will comply with all Program requirements. Funding will only be assigned to the Contact Investigator. The Contact Investigator must indicate in a Letter of Intent all concurrent submissions of separate proposals that list the Contact Investigator as a Co-Investigator. Funding of studies supported by third parties, other than the investigator’s non-profit Institution or the Canadian government, generally will be rejected.

2. Reporting. Subject to the terms of the Definitive Agreement, investigators will provide periodic progress reports and meet with the CCFC and Vertex on a regular basis throughout the duration of the funding period.

3. Publication. Subject to the terms of the Definitive Agreement, publication of funded research results will not be restricted, except as needed to comply with a short pre-disclosure period for all research publications and presentations resulting from the funded work

4. Funding of Supplies. Subject to the terms of the Definitive Agreement, requests for funding of “supplies” should generally be limited to a maximum of 20% of the total direct cost. Requests for funding of capital equipment purchases generally will be rejected.

VII. Submission of Proposals.

Electronic versions of the Letters of Intent must be (1) submitted via email to afernandes@ccfc.ca and be clearly identified as a proposal for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada-Vertex-Pharmaceuticals Sponsored Research Program, and (2) received no later than September 17, 2012.

The forms contain additional instructions for the preparation and submission of the Letters of Intent and Full Application. Applicants are required to adhere to all formatting stipulations in submitting their applications.

Please only provide the specifically requested materials. Additional materials such as letters of support, updates on publications, updates on other support received, letters confirming academic appointment, reprints, etc., will not be reviewed.

VIII. Contact Information. For additional information on the Program and the application process, please contact your liaison:

Aida Fernandes
Chief Science and Education Officer
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada
416-920-5035 ext. 214

IX. Legal Terms and Conditions. This document is a request for proposals in respect of the Program and is not a tender. Neither the RFP nor the submission of any Letters of Intent or Detailed Proposals in response to the RFP will, in any way whatsoever, create a binding agreement between CCFC, Vertex and any applicant. For clarity, this RFP is not intended to be an offer to enter into a bidding contract with applicants, including a Definitive Agreement, and no agreement of any kind will exist between any applicant and CCFC or Vertex until a Definitive Agreement if any, has been formally executed by the Institution of a selected applicant and CCFC and Vertex. Notwithstanding any other provision of this RFP, CCFC and Vertex may, in their sole discretion, accept or reject any or all Letters of Intent or Full Applications. CCFC and Vertex may accept any Letter of Intent or Full Applications in whole or in part. CCFC may elect to cancel this RFP process at any time before the end of the RFP process but, for clarity, before execution of a Definitive Agreement. After a cancellation of the RFP process, if any, CCFC may subsequently advertise or call for new submissions for the same or different subject matter of this RFP with the same or different participants.

RFP, Guidelines and Forms will be posted shortly.


For further information, please contact Aida Fernandes (afernandes@ccfc.ca) or 1-800-1479 ext 214.


The CCFC Visiting Scientist Program

The CCFC Visiting Scientist program is designed to allow Canadian institutions to bring in productive scientists having expertise not available within the institution, and to allow Canadian scientists to visit major international research centers in order to acquire knowledge or new techniques related to IBD research. For more information on this program, please click here. The deadline for applications is now past. Competition now closed.

CCFC/CIHR/CAG National Competitions

The Canadian Association of Gastroenterologists (CAG) administers a national competition under the oversight of and with funding support from the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. Personnel support is funded 50/50 between CIHR and the CCFC. Applications from IBD researchers at various early stages of their careers are considered. A description of each of these application categories is available via the CAG link provided below.

Summer studentships
Fellowships (post-doctoral: either Ph.D. or M.D.)
New Investigator Award

 Provincial Research Foundation Partnerships


Students at the doctoral and post-doctoral research stages are also encouraged to seek funding from provincial funding organisations. The CCFC now has partnership agreements to support IBD-focused researchers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. The links to these programs are as follows:


Other Opportunities

Conference Sponsorship


The CCFC IBD Research Institute will consider applications for financial support of a limited number of requests to hold scientific meetings relevant to inflammatory bowel disease. Interested applicants should submit a one-page summary providing details of the meeting, specifically addressing how the request applies to the CCFC mission of finding the cure for IBD. A budget is required as well. Average awards are from $1,000 - $5,000.

Please note that conference funds awarded cannot be sent outside Canada.

CCFC Symposium Sponsorship Request Template

Competition now closed.

Student Book Prize

The CCFC awards an annual book prize (value $250) to a deserving student at each Canadian Medical School with a view to encouraging students in the area of gastrointestinal disease.

Submissions from Medical Schools accepted throughout the year. To download a current application, please click below:

Book Prize Form