SPOR National Data Platform Webinar – Frequently Asked Questions

Presented by: Dr. Robyn Tamblyn, Scientific Director, Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, CIHR

What is the total amount available from CIHR to fund the National Data Platform?

The total amount available from CIHR for this funding opportunity is up to $39,000,000 enough to fund one grant for a term of up to seven years.The breakdown of the annual funding can be found in the funding opportunity.

Does the National Data Platform require matching funds?

Funding provided by CIHR for the SPOR National Data Platform must be matched at a 1:1 ratio from non-federal sources brought forward by the applicants as part of the application process. Matching partner contributions can include up to 100% eligible cash equivalent contributions.

What is considered an eligible cash equivalent contribution?

A list of eligible cash equivalent contributions can be found within the funding opportunity under the Partner Contributions section.

Do I need to submit a registration in order to be considered at the full application stage?

Applicants must submit a registration for the full application to be considered eligible.

Does the Nominated Principle Applicant (NPA) need to be based out of an organization located in Canada?

Yes, the NPA must be based out of an organization located in Canada.

Are there a minimum number of applicants required for the National Data Platform?

The minimum number of team members for this funding opportunity is five (5). The NPA must be supported by a team of key members comprised of at least one (1) of each of the following categories: Academic researcher with experience in administrative data research (identified as a Principal Applicant); Data access specialist (identified as a Principal Applicant); Knowledge user (identified as a Principal Knowledge User); and, Patient (identified as a Principal Knowledge User).

Is it mandatory that the SUPPORT Units be engaged in the creation and implementation of the SPOR National Data Platform?

It is mandatory that the SUPPORT Units be engaged in the creation and implementation of the SPOR National Data Platform.  A letter of collaboration from each SUPPORT Unit outlining how they have been engaged in the development of the application and how they will be engaged in the implementation of the Platform must be included in the application. If a letter is not provided, a clear rationale must be provided.

Does the SUPPORT Unit letter of support need to be included in the registration?

The SUPPORT Unit letter of support need only be included in the full application.

How are SPOR networks and iCT teams engaged and consulted?

Please see the SPOR Networks contact page on the SPOR website for a list of contact information. Please contact CIHR at: support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca for a list of SPOR iCT grant recipient contact details. The applicants are required to contact both the SPOR Network and ICT grant recipients during the application process to determine the data needs and the expertise that exists within these entities. The knowledge gained from these interactions must inform the final application.

Are there expectations of how the budget should be allocated between the core functions outlined in the RFA?

It is up to the applicant to decide how to allocate the budget with the funding available.

The annual breakdown of funding is heavily back ended. Is there flexibility to shift more of the funding into year 1 and 2 to better support the upfront work?

CIHR is open to considering a modification of the cash flow to enable the deliverable timeline; a discussion that can occur with all applicants registering for the funding opportunity. CIHR will contact each Nominated Principal Applicant shortly after the registration deadline. To this end, the funding opportunity has been modified to reflect the need to provide a budget at the registration phase.

If there is a reduction of funds during the 7 year timeline, what are the expectations about the ongoing function of the SPOR NDP?

The text included in the funding opportunity pertaining to reduced or pulled funding is standard text used by CIHR to manage risk.

Is the evaluation criteria weighted?

The evaluation criteria are not weighted however there is an expectation that all components of the NDP will be addressed.

Can CIHR expand on the vision of the portal?

Initially, the portal will act as a single place to submit data requests. It is imagined this access portal will be a one-stop-shop for the researcher whereby others engage with the data custodians to address their needs in relationship to their process. Gradually, over time, it is expected that the process will become increasingly standardized across jurisdictions, and later, possibly automated.

Can you expand on the retrieval function in the Data Access Services?

It is expected that the single portal of access will initially be staffed by an appropriate number of people who will be engaging with data custodians across Canada. As such, when a researcher submits a data access request, the elements that are necessary to meet the processes of each of the data custodians in their respective jurisdictions are enumerated and understood, and the kind of information that needs to be obtained in order to meet the requirements in each of the processes would be collected from the applicant. This will require appropriate application forms to be completed in order to obtain data in each of the relevant jurisdictions. Over time, the National Data Platform will work to streamline and harmonize the processes across jurisdictions in accordance with best practice standards so that it will eventually be automated.

Is there a possibility of leveraging an existing data platform as part of this project?


Does the stated eight month time frame include the data harmonization, standardization and linkage requirements as outlined in the RFA?

The eight month timeframe does not refer to the data harmonization, standardization and linkage requirements. Ideally, the National Data Platform will establish a process with the SPOR Networks and the iCT teams to identify priorities and jurisdictions where data is needed and use that to begin the process of retrieving, standardizing, and harmonizing priorities for the Networks and iCT teams.

Is there a requirement around collecting and accessing patient-reported data?

While there is no requirement for collecting and accessing patient-reported data, if discussions with the SPOR Networks and iCT teams reveal that this type of data is integral to their research programs, it would be important for the applicant to consider this in the development of their application.

The RFA includes specific governance and advisory requirements related to patient engagement and involvement of Indigenous communities. What does CIHR anticipate this new level of structure for the National Data Platform will uniquely contribute beyond what is already in place?

Each province and the Northwest Territories already have patient and indigenous advisory committees within their SUPPORT Units but none of them have a mandate for a scope beyond their own jurisdictions. The unique contribution of the patient and indigenous governance and advisory requirements outlined in the NDP RFA will be to have something national in scope. Given the advisory capacity is well developed in some of the SUPPORT Units, it would make sense that the NDP would try and leverage what is running smoothly and in place now and determine if this could be scaled up.

Can SUPPORT Units be applicants?

Members of a SUPPORT Unit can act as applicants on the application, however funds that have been committed towards the operations of the SUPPORT Unit cannot be used or repurposed to serve as matching funds for this funding opportunity.

Key Dates
Registration Deadline 2018-04-17
Application Deadline 2018-06-19
Anticipated Notice of Decision 2018-10-31
Funding Start Date 2018-09-01

For further questions, please contact support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

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