New Connections Grants 

The Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium (EPIC) seeks to foster cross-disciplinary research collaborations advancing innovative approaches to research on infectious diseases that pose a threat to human health. 

EPIC New Connections Grants support innovative projects that are fostered through cross-disciplinary collaboration across at least two research groups. Successful proposals will feature joint lead investigators from different university divisions and/or departments and/or EPIC partner institutions coming together for their first significant research collaboration. The joint investigators will tackle an infectious disease research question by applying innovative methodologies that capitalize on their different areas of expertise for impactful outcomes.  

EPIC is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas 

Lead investigators of successful projects selected in the EPIC New Connections Grant will be profiled in EPIC communications, social media and highlighted on the EPIC website. They will be invited to present their collaborative research in the EPIC Research Talks lecture series. 


Submissions to the EPIC New Connections Grants competition will: 

  • Be led by at least two investigators from different university divisions and/or departments and/or EPIC partner institutions 
  • Present an innovative and novel approach to an infectious disease research question 
  • Outcomes will address existing high impact human infectious disease or zoonotic pathogens with human pandemic potential 
  • Be led by investigators who have NOT previously been co-PIs or co-applicants on a research grant together. 
  • Be led by investigators that hold primary affiliations at EPIC’s partner institutions (Hospital for Sick Children, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, and University of Toronto)  
    Value and Duration

    Each EPIC New Connections Grant is worth $100,000 in research operational funding over two years. The funds will be awarded to the lead investigator who will administer them over the course of the term, including transfers to the co-investigator, to support activities as outlined in the proposed budget. 

    We anticipate supporting up to three projects in the March 2023 competition, with an aim to fund at least one project co-led by an early career investigator. Please see selection criteria for more information. 

    Grantee Responsibilities

    EPIC New Connections Grant recipients will be required to present at the EPIC Research Talks lecture series during the grant term. They will also enter the pool to serve as adjudicators for the following year’s grant competition. A progress report will be expected at the first anniversary of funding. At the conclusion of the funding term, a progress report will be required outlining major findings, trainee engagement and impact of the research. Grant recipients are also required to acknowledge EPIC support in publications, presentations and communications resulting from the funded work. 

    Selection Criteria

    Proposals submitted to the EPIC New Connections Grants will be evaluated using the following criteria: 

    • Advantage that the proposed multidisciplinary approach brings to the research question  
    • Level of integration of the efforts of joint applicants 
    • Significance, feasibility and merit of proposed research activities  
    • Strong potential to impact on human health, societal resilience and/or pandemic readiness.  
    • Extent of engagement of trainees in the execution of the research activities 
    • Incorporation of values of equity, diversity and inclusivity in the research environment and/or the project implementation, where appropriate. 

    The career stage of the investigators will also be considered as we aim to fund at least one project co-led by an early career investigator. 

    Early career investigator is defined as anyone who is within seven years from the start of their first independent academic appointment, with adjustments given for career interruptions. Career interruptions include, but are not limited to, parental leaves, extended sick leaves, medical leaves and family care leaves. Please indicate any career interruptions in your CV.

        Application materials

        Please submit all supporting materials as a single, combined PDF via email to PDF documents should follow the naming convention: NewConnect_Last name1_Last name2. (Lead Investigator is referenced as Last Name1 and co-lead is referenced as Last Name2.) 

        All materials should be easily legible, in a minimum of 11-point font with standard document margins (top/bottom: 2.5cm, left/right: 1.9cm)  

        For any questions or concerns, please email with “New Connections” in the subject line.  

          Please download and complete the PDF application form with information about yourself, your co-lead applicant and your research project. The form also needs to be signed by both applicants and the institutional or departmental chair for the lead applicant.

          Plain language summary (maximum 250 words): Provide a summary in non-specialist language of the proposal, highlighting project objectives, outcomes and impact. The plain language summary may be posted on EPIC’s website and should be understandable by a general lay audience. 

          Project proposal (maximum 1500 words, not including references): Please provide a description of the research project, including background, rationale, aims, methodologies, timelines, expected outcomes and the number and level of team members, including trainees, that will be engaged.  The inclusion of two figures is permitted, but figure legends will count towards total word count of the proposal. Please also include an impact statement on the significance and relevance of this work to the field. 

          Statement of collaboration (maximum 250 words): Please describe each investigator’s strengths and expertise and how they/their groups will interact to maximize synergies to support the research program. Please also describe the specific resources each investigator is committing to this project, including equipment and personnel.  

          List of collaborators: If this project engages collaborators beyond the primary investigators and their teams, please download and complete this table.

          EDI Statement (maximum 250 words): Please share your reflections on the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and how it applies to your research and/or work environment. If relevant, please comment on how EDI considerations have been or will be factored into the project’s design and execution. Please also describe how you advance EDI in your positions as principal investigators, specifically any steps you’ve taken/plan to take to address inequities in research.

          Please provide a ‘CIHR Academic’-formatted Canadian Common CV for each lead investigator

          Please provide a 1-page breakdown and justification of the total budget requested for the project as aligned with Tri-Agency funding reporting (see Tri-Agency Form 300 for category examples). Stipend or salary support should be included in the budget to reflect multidisciplinary trainee engagement. Note: large equipment purchases are not eligible expenditures.

          Demographic Survey

          All investigators will be asked to complete our demographic survey. While this survey is required, there is an option to select “Prefer not to answer” for all questions.


          The 2023 New Connections Grants competition has closed. Please stay tuned for more information about the results and the 2024 competition.