New Connections Grants

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

EPIC New Connections Grants support innovative projects that are fostered through cross-disciplinary collaboration between at least two research groups. Successful proposals will feature joint lead investigators with clearly distinct expertise from different university divisions 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 leverage their different areas of expertise to achieve 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 EPIC’s website. They will also be invited to present their collaborative research at future EPIC events. 


Submissions to the EPIC New Connections Grants competition will: 

  • be led by at least two investigators with clearly distinct expertise who are from different university divisions and/or EPIC partner institutions (Hospital for Sick Children, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, and University of Toronto) 
  • present an innovative and novel approach to an infectious disease research question. Research questions should address existing high impact human infectious disease or zoonotic pathogens with human pandemic potential 
  • be led by investigators who have not previously been co-principal investigators or co-applicants on a research grant together
Value and Duration

Each EPIC New Connections Grant is worth $100,000 in research operational funding over a 2-year term. 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. 

EPIC anticipates supporting two proposals in the 2024 New Connections competition, with an aim to fund at least one project co-led by an early career investigator. Please see selection criteria for more information.  

Recipient Responsibilities

EPIC New Connections Grant recipients will be required to present their research findings at EPIC events during the grant term. They will also become members of EPIC and be entered into the pool to serve as adjudicators for the following year’s grant competition. Recipients are required to submit an interim progress report as well as a final report at the end of the funding term outlining research findings, trainees and/or staff engagement, leveraged funding, conference presentations and publications that have resulted from this funding. To accompany the final progress report, a financial report is also required detailing the utilization of the awarded funds. 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 competition will be evaluated using the following criteria: 

  • Proposed multidisciplinary approach including the distinctness of each applicant’s area of expertise from each other, and the synergy and level of integration of the applicants’ joint efforts 
  • Significance, feasibility and merit of proposed research activities  
  • Strong potential to impact 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.pdf  (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 both lead investigators and the proposed project. The form also needs to be signed by both lead investigators as well as their institutional or departmental heads.

        Plain language summary (maximum 250 words): Provide a summary of the proposal in non-specialist language, highlighting the project objectives as well as anticipated 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, references not included in the word limit): Please provide a description of the research project, including background, rationale, aims, methodologies, milestones, timelines, expected outcomes and the number and type of team members, including trainees, that will be engaged. The inclusion of up to 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.  

        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 environments. 

        List of collaborators (if applicable): If this project engages collaborators beyond the lead and co-lead investigators and their teams, please download and complete this table.

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

        Please provide a CV (Canadian Common CV style preferred) for each of the joint lead investigators. 

        Please provide a one-page breakdown and justification of the total budget requested for the project as aligned with Tri-Agency funding reporting guidelines (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 considered eligible expenditures. In addition, please describe any other research funding being leveraged, in support of this project, at the time of application. 

        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.

        Important Dates

        Call for applications: January 15, 2024 

        Deadline to submit all application forms and supporting materials: March 27, 2024, 11:59 pm (EDT) 

        Anticipated review period: April 2024 

        Anticipated Notice of Award: May 2024 

        Funding start date: July 2024