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Alberta COVID-19 Rapid Response Program

This competition is now closed 
In partnership with Genome Canada through the COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative, Genome Alberta is pleased to present the Alberta COVID-19 Rapid Response Program (RRP).
An overview is below but you can download all the necessary information here and start preparing your proposal.

1. Overview
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses with large single-stranded RNA genomes. Genomic technologies and approaches have and can continue to play an important role in many aspects of the response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) such as the identification and detection of COVID-19 infections, understanding mechanisms of infection, mapping the spread in real time, tracking new mutations as well as the development of drug treatments or vaccines for the disease. Further research in this area will not only allow Canada to respond to the current pandemic but also allow scientists to better understand coronaviruses in general which will help to control future outbreaks.

In response to the urgent need for further research on COVID-19 during the current crisis, Genome Alberta is issuing this funding opportunity to support 1 or more genomics projects. The goal is to address specific, short-term needs as identified by public sector, industry, and not-for-profit receptors through research conducted by academics in collaboration with these receptors. Projects are expected to be outcome-driven, small-scale or larger (depending on additional funding sources) and focused on delivering a genomics-based solution (either technology or knowledge driven) to help address the current crisis in the near term.

Genome Canada has signed a joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak. Initiated by Wellcome, the statement ensures the World Health Organization (WHO) has rapid access to emerging findings that would aid the global response. Projects funded through this initiative must adhere to these principles and guidelines.

Connectivity with other research teams working on COVID-19 regionally, nationally and/or internationally is encouraged and expected.

2. Objective
To support Alberta-based genomics projects designed to address specific, short-term needs of industry, not-for-profit, and public sector receptors through research conducted by academics in collaboration with these receptors, with near-term outcomes that address the COVID-19 crisis.

3. Eligibility
Projects must be proposing genomics-based solutions that contribute to key areas of importance in Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. This may include implementing novel approaches to the diagnosis of the infection in patients, public health efforts in tracking the virus’ spread, or therapeutics for the treatment of the associated disease in patients. Social science projects that address unique challenges associated with the acquisition or utilization of genomics data sets, genomics tools, or genomics approaches supporting a rapid response to
COVID-19 are eligible. Social science projects that focus on the broader challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak are not eligible.

All projects must demonstrate engagement and integration with relevant stakeholders from the regional health authorities (or associated entities) to ensure rapid uptake of research results.

The Project Leader must be a researcher affiliated with an Alberta-based institution eligible to receive Genome Canada funding. This includes universities and their affiliated institutions including research hospitals and research institutes, not-for-profit organizations with an explicit research mandate, or non-federal government departments or agencies. To encourage collaboration, project expenses may be incurred by Project Co-leaders or Co-applicants based in other Canadian provinces as long as 75% of the project expenses are incurred in Alberta. Industry is not eligible to receive funding but is encouraged to partner with eligible researchers

4. Availability of Funds and Co-Funding
  • Genome Alberta currently has $237,500 available to support projects in this competition and Projects may request a maximum budget of $237,500 from Genome Alberta. As such, Genome Alberta expects to fund only 1 high-quality project.
  • Funds for approved projects must flow by July 1, 2020 and be spent by June 30, 2021, i.e., maximum term of one year. Extensions will not be considered.
  • Co-funding is not required but is encouraged as it could augment the ability of the initiative to be successful.
5. Process
A Registration must be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM (MDT) on the deadline date of April 9th, 2020, to NKerrigan@genomealberta.ca with the email subject line:
            “RRP – REG – [Lead Investigator LAST NAME]”
       Genome Alberta will conduct an internal review on registrations submitted based on alignment with competition objectives, timeliness to impact, and integration with regional receptors to select the top 3       registrations to invite forward to submit a full application. Invitations to submit a full application will be provided to applicants by April 14th, 2020.
Full Application
A FULL APPLICATION template will be provided to proposals invited to this stage. Full applications must be submitted to electronically by 11:59pm (MDT) on the deadline date of April 22nd, 2020.

Teams will be required to expand upon the information provided in the registration by further detailing the research plan, deliverables, benefits, and translation strategy.

The full application will be reviewed by an external peer-review committee. Review criteria for the full application will again include alignment with competition objectives, integration with regional receptors, timeliness to impact and will be further expanded to include feasibility of the research plan, appropriateness of the proposed research methods, ability to deliver impact in the short term, and significance of the expected deliverables to supporting Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis
Project Launch Notification of Award (NoA) to successful project(s) will be distributed by April 29th, 2020, at the latest. Projects will be expected to launch as soon as possible following receipt of the NoA but no later than July 1st, 2020 at the latest. Genome Alberta will work with successful institutions to streamline the agreement process to accommodate a rapid launch.
6.General Information
Please submit all application files in WORD format with the same file name as the email subject line, along with signed copies of the cover pages as a separate PDF. Type must be single-spaced, with top, bottom, left and right margins of a minimum of 1 inch. Type font Arial, 11-point or larger must be used.

7. Meaning of Signatures
The signatures of the Project Leader(s) attest that this project plan has been reviewed and approved for submission to Genome Alberta by all co-applicants listed on the form. Furthermore, Genome Alberta is requesting consent to confidentially share high-level information from all registrations to raise awareness with potential partners.

8. Contact Information
For submission of all application documents and general inquiries about the program, please contact Niall Kerrigan, Senior Program Officer, at NKerrigan@genomealberta.ca.
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