Successful LOIs Invited to Full Application Phase for NeuroDevNet Renewal

NeuroDevNet received 50 Letters of Intent in response to our 2013 RFA. The quality of the applications was extremely high, and we are proud twenty-five projects/teams invited to submit a full application have joined with us in applying for a second five-year tranche of funding from the NCE program.

Successful applicants include:

Large Projects

Utilizing functional brain imaging to develop interventions for children with developmental challenges
PI: Dr. Ryan D'Arcy, Simon Fraser University

Cerebral Palsy Discovery Program (CPDP)
PI: Dr. Darcy Fehlings, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and the Social Determinants of health: Assessment and Intervention across Conditions
PI: Dr. David Nicholas, University of Calgary
Co-PI: Dr. Lucy Lach, McGill University, School of Social Work

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Towards Evidence-Based Intervention Strategies
PI: Dr. James Reynolds, Queen's University 

Canadian Neonatal follow-Up Network: Improving Outcomes
PI: Dr. Anne Synnes, BC Women's Hospital

ASD Project - Optimizing Development and Outcomes in Children and Youth with ASD
PI: Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, University of Alberta
Co-PI: Dr. Stephen Scherer, Toronto Centre for Applied Genomics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto

PROMISE (Parenting Research on Mental Illness, Stress & Epi/Genetics) Study
PI: Dr. Nicole Letourneau, University of Calgary 

Development, implementation, and evaluation of an internet-based behavioural sleep intervention and melatonin for children with NDD and insomnia
PI: Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University
Co-PI: Dr. Shelly Weiss, University of Toronto


Small Projects

BDNF Signaling in Autism
PI: Prof. Margaret Fahnestock, McMaster University

Evaluation of an Interactive and Adaptive Non-categorical Child-Centered Habilitation Program
PI: Dr. Jean-Paul Collet, University of British Columbia

General movements in high risk, premature infants.
PI: Dr. Victoria Galea, McMaster University

From Biosignatures to Behavioural Profiles in Autism Spectrum Disorders
PI: Dr. Geoffrey Hall, McMaster University
Co-PI: Dr. Stephen Scherer, Toronto Center for Applied Genomics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto

SWAPPs 4KIDS with NDD. APPs for Structured Assessment of Sleep/Wake Behaviours in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
PI: Dr. Osman S. Ipsiroglu, British Columbia Children's Hospital, University of British Columbia

Behavioural and sociodemographic correlates of neurodevelopmental disorders among 5-year-old children: Early Development Instrument data in three provinces.
PI: Dr. Magdalena Janus, McMaster University

Induced pluripotent stem cells: strategies for brain repair in Cerebral Palsy
PI: Dr. Andras Nagy, Mount Sinai Hospital

Games for Health
PI: Dr. James Reynolds, Queen's University

Further Development of the Unique Canadian Autism Classification System of Functioning Social Communication (ACSF: SC(R)) for school-aged children with ASD
PI: Dr. Peter Rosenbaum, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University
Co-PI: Dr. Briano Di Rezze, CanChild and Offord Centre, McMaster University

Testing a neural precursor hypothesis for how constraint induced movement therapy works as a method to treat cerebral palsy
PI: Prof. Derek van der Kooy, University of Toronto

Metabolic evaluation of atypical cerebral palsy: towards improved diagnosis and treatment
PI: Dr. Clara van Karnebeek, BC Children's Hospital, CFRI (University of British Columbia)
Co-PI: Dr. Michael Shevell, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University
Co-PI: Dr. Sylvia Stockler, BC Children's Hospital, University of British Columbia

Mindfulness-Based therapy for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Parents
PI: Dr. Jonathan Weiss, York University

Translating knowledge about autism to catalyze evidence-based reforms in special education
PI: Prof. Stuart Shanker, York University


Service Cores

Tangible, Organizing and Therapeutic Technologies to Engage Children
PI: Assoc. Prof. Machiel Van der Loos, University of British Columbia

Neuroethics Excellence and Societal Innovation Core (NESIC)
Co-PI: Dr. Judy Illes, University of British Columbia
Co-PI: Dr. Eric Racine, McGill University

PI: Dr. Paul Pavlidis, University of British Columbia

Knowledge Translation
PI: Dr. David Phipps, York University

For updates on this Research Proposal competition, deadlines, and Application Materials follow us on twitter @NeuroDevTrainee #NDNRFA or bookmark this page. For more information contact Dr. Douglas Swanson, Training and Education Program Manager


Full Application Submission Deadline November 15, 2013

Important Upcoming Dates:

Aug 20, 2013   Full Application Invitations
Nov 15, 2013   Full Application Deadline
Jan  10 2014    Selection Announcement

Application Materials:

Full Application Guidelines
Full Application Template Forms
   Large Project Application
   Small Project Application
   Service Core Application


Quick Links

Summary of RFA

NeuroDevNet, a national Network of Centres of Excellence, is applying for a second round of funding from the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Canada program. We are inviting Letters of Intent (LOI) for Research Project and Core proposals, anticipating renewal for a second five-year term, extending from 2015-2019. In the event of a successful application, approximately $3.5 million per year will be available for research and service programs fundamental to the network. As part of the Network strategic plan, we are seeking to expand our research activities in certain priority areas including a focus on therapeutic interventions, common co-morbidities across neurodevelopmental disorders, and novel data analytics that facilitate cross-project integration. Research project submissions should have translational capacity toward commercialization or social innovation, and present leveraged funding opportunities. New groups or individuals who have not previously received NeuroDevNet funding are particularly encouraged to apply, as are existing research teams currently supported in ASD, CP and FASD projects.


NeuroDevNet is a highly interactive Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) ( in Canada whose vision is to accelerate the pace of understanding brain development and the causes of neurodevelopmental deficits, as well as to facilitate the translation of this research into best care.

NeuroDevNet was established in 2009, with an initial focus on research into early detection and etiology of three neurodevelopmental disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and cerebral palsy (CP). Research-service cores for neuroinformatics, neuroethics and knowledge translation (KT) have supported the efforts of the research projects to enhance the impact of the projects and the Network. These research-projects and cores have coalesced to form a comprehensive Canadian Network of integrated and interactive researchers committed to early diagnosis and interventions to improve the lives and health of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

In 2014, NeuroDevNet will be applying to the NCE program for a five-year renewal of funding. The present open call for Request For Applications (RFA) seeks to identify outstanding research-project and/or research-service teams (i.e., Projects and/or Cores) that will contribute to the next five years of success. Eligible Projects and Cores will emphasize innovation and possess a high degree of potential for cross-disciplinary networking and synergy with past NeuroDevNet efforts. Investigators are strongly encouraged to seek additional support with external institutional or industrial partners.

Successful Projects and Cores will be selected based on the excellence of the science, innovation of ideas, the fit of the research area within the existing NeuroDevNet framework, the proposed level of integration with other Network Projects, and a readiness to produce impactful deliverables.


Funding Scope, Term, and Budget

Large Research Projects ($200K-$500K/year for three years) are multi-disciplinary, multi-centre projects that either focus on a particular neurodevelopmental disorder or co-morbid conditions that are commonly expressed across neurodevelopmental conditions (not just ASD, CP and FASD).

Small Research Projects ($50-$200K from one to three years) are multi-centre projects with a narrower focus or a smaller multi-investigator-driven research projects that either augment or integrate closely with a single large disorder-oriented project or bring cohesion and integration across multiple projects.

Service Cores ($100-$200K/year for one to three years) focus on providing services to the large and small research projects as well as the other Core and Network activities. Examples are: commercialization and intellectual-property development, social innovation, web development, or policy.

Priorities for Renewal

Importantly, the Projects and Cores should be engaged in the Network culture and provide synergies across Network Projects and Cores.  These Project and Core proposals should meet thematic and evaluation criteria.  The competition is open to Projects involving any neurodevelopmental disorder, including (but not limited to) the three current areas of ASD, CP, and FASD. As part of NeuroDevNet’s strategic plan for renewal and a goal for this competition, the Network is looking to expand engagement in activities in the following priority areas:

  • Projects with a focus on co-morbid neurological conditions presenting in children across multiple neurodevelopmental disorders, such as pediatric epilepsy, sleep disorders, or mental health conditions.
  • Translational activities with the potential to contribute to professional practice, commercial products and services, or public policy, all with socioeconomic gains to Canadian society.
  • Novel therapeutic interventions for improving the quality of life of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Use/analysis of datasets generated by NeuroDevNet Projects (e.g., imaging, genomics, phenotype) to provide insights that would lead to early diagnosis and/or interventions.
  • Biological validation studies of neurodevelopmental disorder-associated genes identified through NeuroDevNet or other genomics-related research.
  • Pre-clinical assessment of biological interventions for neurodevelopmental disorers.

Proposals for this RFA will be accepted from new research groups as well as existing NeuroDevNet teams, and will be reviewed by the NeuroDevNet Research Management Committee with input from the International Scientific Advisory Board, using the selection criteria provided in the LOI/Application Guidelines.



A. Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Each letter of intent will be assessed against the following six criteria. It is important to note that these criteria are not the same as those of a traditional granting agency, and reflect the different mandate and objectives of a Network of Centres of Excellence.

To Be Addressed in the LOI Proposals (small or large projects or cores) must highlight each of the following components:

  • Key deliverables clearly defined with measurable outcomes achievable within the funding period demonstrating socio-economic benefits to Canada;
  • Excellence of the research or service program;
  • Multi-disciplinary collaborations involving cross-provincial and/or international participation;
  • The potential for interactions with other NeuroDevNet Cores and/or Projects;
  • Highly qualified personnel development; and
  • Partnerships with stakeholders

B. Eligibility Criteria

  • To submit an LOI and proposal, applicants (project leaders and co-investigators) must be eligible to receive grant funding from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
  • In order to receive funds, successful applicants must be part of an Institution that is a signee of the NCE Network Agreement. If the parent institution is not currently a signee, they will need work with NeuroDevNet Central Office to execute a Network Agreement before funding can be issued.


C. Application Process

Summary of Application Process

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Phase 1: The application process begins with the submission of an LOI to NeuroDevNet. The deadline for the LOI is July 01, 2013. This letter should provide a two page plan as outlined below.
  • Initial Review of LOI: The LOI will be evaluated by the NeuroDevNet Research Management Committee based upon scientific excellence, compliance with NeuroDevNet’s mission, NCE guidelines, and the project selection criteria (see “Proposal Evaluation Criteria” on page 3). Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review by email no later than Aug 1, 2013. Invitations to submit a full application will include recommendations with respect to deliverables and opportunities for integration with other research proposals, where appropriate.
  • Proposal Development: It will be important and appropriate to consult with NeuroDevNet Research Management Staff during this development stage to ensure appropriate considerations are being taken in the planning of your proposal.
  • Full Proposal Submission Phase 2: The full Open Call application receipt deadline is Nov 15, 2013. The application packet needs to be compiled as a single PDF (including completed application form, investigator bio-sketches, budget, and partnership letters). Details for Full Application Submission will be forthcoming, all applicants will be updated when invited to submit a full application.
  • Proposal Review and Project Team Selection: Reviews of each full application will be undertaken by the NeuroDevNet Research Management Committee and in consultation with the International Scientific Advisory Board. The Board of Directors will make the final decision as to which projects should be funded and the budgets to be awarded based on the review recommendations.

The Application Templates and Guidelines are available for download here.


Application Phase 1: LOI Submission and Review

        Download LOI template here

  1. The Applicant Team Page;
    • Proposal Information; Title, Proposal Category, and Theme
    • Principal Investigator and full contact information (including Administrative Assistant details, if applicable);
    • Co-Investigators, contact information;
  2. Project Summary (2 page max);
    • A brief description of the research program and activities, including research objectives and anticipated outcomes and how they relate to the priorities for Network renewal. The LOI should also make brief note of collaborations (especially those that multi-provincial, multidisciplinary, or international participation); involvement of highly qualified personnel and plans for their development; and partnerships and anticipated sources of external funding.
  3. Budget and Budget Justification (1 page max);
    • Estimated total request with brief justification for personnel, supplies, and equipment; include in this summary a breakdown of leveraged funds and how they will be used.

LOI Submission Requirements

Please submit LOI (including all pages) as a single file in PDF format via email to no later than 5pm (PDT) July 01, 2013.

LOI Review Process

The LOI will be reviewed by NeuroDevNet’s Research Management Committee based upon scientific excellence, compliance with NeuroDevNet’s mission, NCE guidelines, and the project selection criteria (see “Proposal Evaluation Criteria”).  Applicants at the LOI stage will be notified of the outcome of the review via e-mail by August 01, 2013. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a Full Proposal.

Application Phase 2: Full Proposal Application

Details of the Full Proposal Phase will be circulated to those groups who will advance from the LOI stage and are invited to submit a full application.