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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) for Two-stage Call for Proposals for Research Teams for Women RISE

Women RISE identifier

Q1. Can an organization submit more than one proposal?

Yes. An organization can submit a maximum of two applications as a Lead Applicant Organization. The onus is on the organization to demonstrate that it has the resources and capacity to undertake the two projects, if their applications are successful. Different departments or faculties within the same institution may be considered different Lead Applicant Organizations for this purpose.

An organization may apply as a Co-Applicant Organization on multiple applications.

Q2. Can an organization submit more than one proposal under one Specific Research Area?

Yes. If an organization can demonstrate that it has the resources and capacity to undertake two projects relevant to one Specific Research Area, it can submit a maximum of two applications as a Lead Applicant Organization.

Each application can identify only one relevant Specific Research Area.

Q3. Is there a limit on the number of applications that an individual can be a part of?

Yes. An individual can only be a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) on one application. Other key team members of the proposed teams in the applications can be listed on a maximum of two applications.

Names from Low- and Middle-Income Country/Territory (LMIC) Co-Applicant Organizations can be listed on a maximum of two applications.

Names from Third-Party Organizations can be listed in any number of applications.

Q4. Who Can apply to this Call for Proposals?

IDRC is only able to grant project funds to institutions and is unable to grant directly to individuals. The eligibility criteria for individuals and organizations are listed under the Eligibility section of the Call for Proposals document.

Q5. What are the main differences in eligibility and profile between LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations?

There are two main differences:

  • LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations (other than the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization) must be based in any LMIC country/territory included in the list of eligible countries/territories in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals. Third Party Organizations are NOT restricted to those eligible countries/territories listed in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals.
  • LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations are direct partners in the research and share intellectual responsibility for and ownership of the data generated as well as of the knowledge and outputs produced. Third-Party Organizations are NOT direct partners in the research and do not share intellectual responsibility for and ownership of the data generated or the knowledge and outputs produced.

Q6. Are the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization required to subgrant to LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and/or contract Third-Party Organizations?

No, this is not a requirement.

Additional LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and/or Third-Party Organizations can be part of the application even if they are not receiving funds from the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization.

Only the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization can subgrant Co-Applicants or contract Third-Party Organizations.

Whether or not there is a proposed transfer of funds to participating Co-Applicant Organizations or Third-Party Organizations, the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization will need to provide a rationale for the role of these additional entities and why sub-granting (in the case of LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations) or contracting (in the case of Third-Party Organizations or consultants) will or will not be required.

Q7. What are the characteristics of the Decision-Maker Co-PIs that would be accepted?

A Decision-Maker Co-PI is a relevant local, district or national-level decision maker from the same country/territory as the Lead Applicant Organization or in a country/territory where the research will take place. The Decision-Maker should have responsibilities within the government (local, district or national level) relevant to the proposed research. They should have the responsibility and authority to support the identification of research questions, roll out of the research and uptake of the research findings. If the Decision-Maker Co-PI is not from a government entity, the team needs to justify how the chosen Decision-Maker has the ability to support the research, act to implement the research findings and influence relevant levels of government.

The Research Team (RT) should demonstrate true Decision-Maker Co-PI buy-in, not only by producing letters of support but also by obtaining concrete support through mechanisms such as co-funding and/or in-kind contributions and meaningful, ongoing participation in the design and execution or the research and in the mobilization of results. The RT will build in ways to ensure continuous policy and program engagement to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Q8. Can an organization based in an LMIC other than the study countries/territories where the research is taking place apply?

Yes. Organizations based in an LMIC other than the countries where the research is taking place can be included as LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations if they are based in any LMIC country/territory included in the list of eligible countries/territories in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals.

Organizations based in an LMIC other than the countries/territories where the research is taking place can also be included as Third-Party Organizations. Third-party Organizations are NOT restricted to those eligible countries/territories listed in in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals.

Refer to the notes under the list of eligible countries/territories in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals to see Organizations from which countries are not eligible to apply as Lead Applicant Organizations. However, Organizations from these countries can still be included in the case of multi-country applications.

Q9. Can an international organization apply to the Call for Proposals?

Yes. International organizations are eligible to apply as LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations only if they have regional chapters or offices with appropriate legal status to operate, receive and manage funds in an eligible LMIC country/territory listed in in Annex 1 of the Call for Proposals.

United Nations (UN) organizations and Consortium Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) members already receive significant Canadian funds via other funding windows and therefore are only eligible to serve as Third-Party Organizations.

Q10. Can a Research Team decline to participate in initiative wide meetings and Knowledge Mobilization activities?

No. RTs will be expected to participate in and contribute to both project-based and initiative-wide Women RISE meetings and knowledge mobilization activities. Knowledge mobilization activities will be discussed at the kick-off meeting and implemented throughout the duration of this initiative. Proposed budgets must set-aside funds for participation of the PI, Canada-based Co-PI and Decision-Maker Co-PI to travel and attend kick-off, mid-term and final Women RISE meetings.

Q11. What is the role of the Health Policy and Research Organization (HPRO)? What are some examples of knowledge mobilization activities that will be carried out by the HPRO?

RTs will be supported by a Women RISE HPRO that will facilitate knowledge mobilization, capacity strengthening and networking among all successful RTs. The HPRO will support RTs in collective research mobilization activities and facilitate relationships and interactions that promote the integration of research evidence into policy. Additionally, the HPRO will coordinate and support capacity strengthening among RTs, especially as it relates to gender-transformative research and health equity. RTs will be expected to participate in and contribute to knowledge mobilization and capacity building activities with the HPRO and/or with other funded RTs.

A plan for activities will be jointly developed in a meeting between the HPRO and RTs. Activities could include, for example, a newsletter, translations, participation in scientific conferences, convening webinars and panel discussions, success stories for social media and other thematic and/or geographic based knowledge mobilization activities.

Q12. Can LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations or Third-Party Organizations receive funding directly from IDRC?

No. IDRC will only negotiate funding agreements with the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. The Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization must develop and administer sub-grant agreements with the LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and contracts with Third-Party Organizations or consultants.

Q13. Is co-funding required?

No. Co-funding is not required for this Call. Nevertheless, for those applicants that are selected to receive a grant, IDRC’s policy on local contributions will apply as follows:

  • Any applicant selected to receive IDRC funding will be required to make local contributions to the project.
  • Local contributions represent cash amounts expended by the applicant from its own resources, from private grants or from grants received from local, provincial or national authorities for the purpose of the project.
  • In-kind contributions may include salaries of regular staff, equipment and infrastructure and overhead costs.
  • Cash and/or in-kind contributions should be reflected in the project budget.

Q14. How should the project budget be distributed between the Lead Applicant Organization, the Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations?

As stated above, IDRC will directly fund the Lead Applicant Organization and the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. The proposed budget must fit with the stated project activities of the Lead Applicant, Co-Applicants and Third-Party organizations (if applicable).

The Lead Applicant Organization or Canadian Co-Applicant Organization are allowed to enter into subgrant agreements with LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations. There are no restrictions on the portion of the total budget allocated by the Lead Applicant Organization or Canadian Co-Applicant Organization to the LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations. Third-Party Organization budget should not exceed a maximum of 20 percent of the total requested budget.

Q15. Can overhead costs be included in the total project budget?

IDRC expects grantees to absorb the overhead or administrative costs of a project as part of its IDRC grantee contribution. Where an organization has a supportable indirect costs recovery policy, IDRC may allow indirect costs (see below) of up to 13% of all IDRC grantee-administered costs. The indirect cost rate proposed in the budget should not exceed the grantee’s organizational rate and should be verifiable. 

Where a project includes sub-IDRC grantees who are administering a portion of the project, the maximum contribution may be shared between the proposing institution and the collaborating institution, but it should never exceed 13% of the total budget in aggregate.

Q16. For LMICs, what specific country procedures, clearances or permissions would be required?

In some cases, IDRC has agreements for scientific and technical cooperation with the governments of the countries where we support projects. Where such agreements exist, IDRC may require additional or alternative approval processes to be followed in order to comply with such agreements. Otherwise, grantees must follow the prevailing approval procedure as required by the government authority. This is often administered by a coordinating or nodal agency of the government and varies by jurisdiction.

If relevant, country procedures only apply to applications that are selected for funding and are not required prior to submitting a Concept Note or Full Proposal. IDRC reserves the right to not pursue the funding of a selected project if the country approval is not secured within six months after IDRC officially announces approval of the project, as this would jeopardize the timely completion of the initiative.

Q17. Are these country procedures only applicable to the Lead Applicant Organization?

No. If needed, country procedures apply to any Co-Applicant conducting research in that country where research activities are being implemented.

Q18. Is there a specific format and content for applying to the Call?

Yes. This is described in the Call for Proposals document. Annexes are excluded from the maximum page numbers.

Project duration should be presented in months.

Q19.Should the budget currency be in Canadian dollars?

The total amount of funding requested by the Lead Applicant Organization should be presented in its working currency and its equivalent in Canadian dollars. The amount of funding being requested by the Canadian Co-applicant should be presented in Canadian dollars.

Q20. When will applicants be informed of the outcome?

Applicants will be notified no later than May 27, 2022 on whether their application was successful at the Concept Note stage in order to move to the Full Application stage of the review process.

IDRC reserves the right to cancel the process at any time without prior notice and/or at its discretion to grant all or none of the awards under this Call. Moreover, grants will only be awarded subject to the availability of funding.

For those RTs successful at the Concept Notes stage, Full Proposals for this Call for Proposals must be submitted online through the SurveyMonkey Application platform by June 24, 2022. Applications must be submitted in English or French. Please refer to IDRC’s guidelines for application for a research grant available through this link: How to apply for and manage an IDRC research grant | IDRC - International Development Research Centre.

Q21. Who is considered a Canada-based co-principal investigator?

A researcher with an academic or research appointment in a Canadian research institution (the appointment must commence by the effective date of funding; allow the individual to pursue the proposed research project, to engage in independent research activities for the entire duration of the funding, to supervise trainees and to publish the research results; and oblige the individual to conform to institutional regulations concerning the conduct of research and the supervision of trainees).

Q22. What is the maximum number of LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations that applicants can include on their applications?

Applicants may include up to 7 LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations (including a Decision-Maker Organization and an organization affiliated with the Indigenous Co-PI if applicable) and up to 5 Third-Party Organizations.

 

Additional questions received from interested applicants, updated on March 18, 2022.

Eligibility Questions

Q23. In terms of the Research Project Region, can the research project be located in more than one region (ie. "Asia" and “Latin America and Caribbean")?

Yes.

Q24. Is any country that is considered a LMIC eligible for this Call?

Not all LMICs are eligible for this Call. Only countries listed in Annex 1 of the Call are eligible.

Q25. Can there be two Canadian applicants?

There can only be one Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. Other Canadian organizations can be Third-Party Organizations.

Q26. Would there be a conflict of interest if I work in a collaboration that is led by a close family member?

Having a close family member as part of the leadership team could represent a conflict of interest. Even if there is no direct conflict of interest, it could be grounds for the appearance of conflict of interest. Performance and accountabilities could be jeopardized even with the best intentions.

Q27. Can assistant or associate professors apply as a PI or as Co-PIs (LMIC and Canada) for this grant?

Yes, as long as this is allowed by the applicant organization’s policies and that the PI and Co-PIs are affiliated with (i.e., employed by) the institution for the duration of the grant.

Q28. For a two-country project, can the research team have a Co-PI and another Decision-Maker from the second LMIC country? Can the research team engage multiple Investigators, as needed?

In addition to the mandatory eligibility criteria of having one LMIC PI, one Canada based Co-PI, and one Decision Maker Co-PI, an application can have up to 5 LMIC Co-PIs who are based in 5 Co-Applicant Organizations (one in each). If research activities are being carried out in different countries, each country will need to have an additional Decision Maker Co-PI. Each application is also allowed to have up to 5 Third-Party Organizations.

Q29. Can you recommend or nominate a Canadian Co-Applicant Organization to partner with for applying to Women RISE?

While we are not in a position to recommend or connect you with any particular Canadian organization, we have the following suggestions for you:

The following searchable databases can help foreign researchers identify potential collaborators in Canada:

  • CIHR Funding Decisions Database: This database is comprised of data pertaining to grants and awards approved by CIHR since January 2009. Searches can be conducted using research subject, investigator, location, program, institute/theme and partners. Please note that this database does not contain researchers' contact information; however, it does identify their institution of affiliation at the time of the award.
  • Canada Research Chairs: This database of over 1,800 profiles of Canada Research Chairs will help those looking for research leaders in the natural sciences, engineering, health, the social sciences or the humanities.
  • Canadian Research Information System: This database contains data on grants and awards funded by a number of Canadian research funding agencies. Searches can be conducted using research subject, investigator, location, funded details and agency. This database does not contain researchers' contact information; however, it does identify their institution of affiliation at the time of the award.
  • External Databases: This list contains a selection of information databases on projects funded by other agencies.

How to Apply?

Q30. How can I apply for the Women RISE Call for Concept Notes?

As per the Two-Stage Call for Proposal, to complete your application for Stage 1, “you must submit your Concept Note online through the SurveyMonkey Application platform here."

Q31. Who should submit the application: the Lead Applicant (from a LMIC), the Canadian-based Co-Principal Investigator or the institution of the Canadian-based Co-Principal Investigator?

The Principal Investigator and the Lead Applicant Organization submit the application.

Q32. What does “affiliated institutions” mean exactly?

The term “affiliated institutions” applies to situations where there is a clear and demonstrable link between the two organizations, often represented by researchers who are appointed to both the affiliated organization and the academic institution. For example, a PI who works at an NGO and at the same time has an appointment at a university would be covered under this term.

Q33. Would an independent medical research institute or registered not-for-profit organization, with grants that are administered by an external head office in a non-LMIC, be eligible to submit a proposal as LMIC Lead Applicant Organization?

No. The eligibility for Lead Applicants is limited to Organizations that, “Have independent legal status (or “legal personality”) and the ability to receive and administer funds”.

Q34. Will I receive reviewers’ comments on my application?

Only applicants who meet all eligibility criteria and are selected by the external Scientific Review Committee to move onto the full proposal stage will receive reviewers’ comments on their Concept Note applications.

Scope and Types of Research

Q35. Is it possible to apply for more than one of the Specific Research Areas? For example, is it possible to apply to both "Area #1: Infectious Diseases" and to "Area #3: Pandemics and other health emergencies" if the project falls under both categories?

No. The Call for Proposals document states: “Applications for the Specific Research Areas must include in an Appendix a brief description of how their research is relevant to only one of the areas”.

Budget and Finance Questions

Q36. Are there any guidelines for where the money has to be allocated, and what percentage of it has to be spent in the LMIC?

At this stage, you will need to submit a budget that is based on your proposed activities. According to the Call document, it is at Stage 2 that “Guidelines on preparing Full Proposals and a more detailed breakdown of these evaluation criteria will be provided to applicants invited to submit a Full Proposal. It is expected that each RT will submit one unified Full Proposal. Accompanying the Full Proposal, the Principal Investigator and Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator will submit two separate budgets according to the IDRC template.”

You need to be cognizant of the following evaluation criteria listed in the Call for Stage 1 Concept Notes:

Appropriateness of budget (5%)

  • The proposed budget is justified in relation to the suggested activities.
  • The budget outlines feasibility of planned activities within project timelines.
  • The budget shows an anticipation of difficulties that may be encountered and embeds appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

The budget must include the resources required to participate in-person (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) in the international Women RISE kick-off, mid-term and final meetings.

Q37. Can any of the budget go to the Canadian Investigators?

Yes.

Q38. Could you provide further clarification on the aspect of the Call requiring that “all research must be undertaken in the designated recipient countries,” especially in terms of deliverables, engagement level, etc. of the Canadian Co-Investigators?

Funding research activities in the locations where the research will take place is allowed and expected, be it in one or more places, including in Canada. This is as long as this is part of the research activities, serves research purposes and is adequately justified.

Q39. How many applications will be invited to the proposal strengthening workshop and Stage 2 Applications? How will you decide how many get invited?

As per the Call for Proposals:

  • Only Concept Notes that meet the eligibility criteria above and are within the scope of the Call will be considered.
  • An external Scientific Review Committee (SRC) composed of international and multi-disciplinary experts will evaluate the applications.
  • Concept Notes will be judged both on their own merit as well as how they compare with other applications submitted.
  • There is $20M available to fund projects under this Call.

So, the number of those invited will depend on a number of factors, including the ranking by the external scientific review committee to identify the top list of candidates, the total proposed budget amounts of these applications and the number of top list candidates applying for the window of the Special Research Areas.

Additional Documentation

Q40. In terms of letters of support (section 2), who is acceptable as letter writers? Is it best to have the heads of the department, faculty, etc.?

According to the Call document: “Signed letters of support from all organizations in the RT, namely: Lead Applicant Organization, Canadian Co-Applicant Organization, Organization with which the Decision-Maker Co-Principal Investigator is affiliated, and other LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations.” These need to be from those that have signing authority to sign on behalf of their organization. “Signed letters of support from relevant government ministries or other key stakeholders, where appropriate.” These need to be signed by heads of organizations or relevant departments.

Q41. In terms of uploading additional letters of support (section 3), will applicants who submit these optional letters be favored over those who don’t?

As per the Call document: “Signed letters of support from relevant government ministries or other key stakeholders, where appropriate.” So, the evaluation will look at whether support can be demonstrated from the relevant stakeholders for the proposed work.

Q42. Is there a maximum length for the CVs of the Co-Principal Investigators (section 4)?

No.

Q43. Our team potentially includes people from other countries than Canada and LMIC. Will it be possible to upload their CV in section 4?

Yes. In addition to the mandatory eligibility criteria of having one LMIC PI, one Canada based Co-PI, and one Decision Maker Co-PI, an application can have up to 5 LMIC Co-PIs who are based in 5 Co-Applicant Organizations (one in each).

If research activities are being carried out in different countries, each country will need to have an additional Decision Maker Co-PI. Each application is also allowed to have up to 5 Third-Party Organizations.

Q44. If the LMIC organization is a private university, does the university need to reveal all its donors (section 10)? The Canadian university also has thousands of donors and a very active development team. To what degree of detail does the list of donors need to be?

In SurveyMonkey, the instruction is: “Upload a list of current external donors and their contributions to the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization.” The expectation is that a full list is submitted. If the numbers are in the thousands of listings, it up to your discretion to decide a cut off funding amount or number of donors which you need to state explicitly with your rationale.

Q45. What kind of CV is required for team members for the Women RISE stage 1 application?

You can find the relevant information to answer this question under section # 4: “Additional Documents” of the Call for Proposals which states: “For an application to be considered complete, all required documents must be received before the deadline. … Short biographies (250 words) and CVs of the PI and Co-PIs.”

Q46. Are all the documents listed on the website mandatory for submission in the call for concept notes phase?

As per the Call document under “How to Apply”, under “Stage 1 – Submit Concept Notes”, all the documents listed under items 1-4 are required to accompany your application (Listed below).

  1. Research Summary and Lead Applicant Information
  2. List of all LMIC Co-Applicants Organizations and/or Third-Party Organizations
  3. Concept Note Content
  4. Additional Documents

Important Dates and Timelines

Q47. If funded, will there be any extensions granted for research teams to complete their projects?

Because of the specific timeframe of Women RISE, extensions will not be possible or allowed.

 

Additional questions received from interested applicants, updated on March 23, 2022.

Eligibility Questions

Q48. Can a Canadian citizen, who is not affiliated with a Canadian institution, apply as the Canadian Co-PI?

The Canada-based Co-PI should be someone who is affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution and/or its affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other non-profit organizations with a mandate for health research and/or knowledge translation).

Q49. Does the Canada-based Co-PI need to be affiliated with an academic institution, OR does the NGO (where the co-PI sits) need to be affiliated with an academic institution?

Both the Canada-based Co-PI and the NGO (where the Co-PI sits) need to be affiliated with a Canadian academic institution.

Q50. Does the Lead Applicant PI need to be a resident of the country/countries of focus?

According to the Call for Proposals, “A Principal Investigator (PI) is an LMIC researcher (citizen or permanent resident of an LMIC country/territory) based in the LMIC Lead Applicant Organization and residing in an eligible LMIC country/territory where the research is proposed.”

Q51. Does the Decision-Maker Co-PI need to be a woman?

No, the Decision-Maker does not need to be a woman.

Q52. For teams preparing a multi-national research project, should there be a Decision-Maker Co-PI for each country or from only one, from the country of the PI?

A Decision-Maker will be required for each country where the research will take place.

Q53. If the other team members do not come from the same organization as the Canadian co-PI, will they be considered as a third party even if they come in as academic or scientific experts (no funds transfer involved)?

Other experts can join the research project, as needed and justified, and be contracted directly. As per the Call for Proposals: “Grant agreements allow the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization to sub-grant to LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and contract Third-Party Organizations or consultants for specific services. 

Q54. What is the definition of “affiliated institutions”?

Affiliated institutions can be among institutions that have a binding, reciprocal relationship, established through a formal agreement, for example, for educational, research, training or representational purposes. Here are a couple of examples, for illustration purposes only:

If you have an affiliation that you would like to ask about specifically, please share additional specific information with women-RISE-femmes@idrc.ca for our consideration.

Q55. If there are multiple countries of focus, do we need a Lead Applicant PI in each one?

In addition to the mandatory eligibility criteria of having one LMIC PI, one Canada based Co-PI, and one Decision-Maker Co-PI, an application can have up to 5 LMIC Co-PIs who are based in 5 Co-Applicant Organizations (one in each). If research activities are being carried out in different countries, each country will need to have an additional Decision-Maker Co-PI.

Q56. Can there be two co-applicants who are based in Canadian universities in a single project?

There can only be one Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. You may invite another Canadian organization but only as a Third- Party Organization or for consultancy services as per the relevant section of the Call for Proposals. For ease of reference here is a quote from the Call document: “Third-Party Organizations: Upon justification, RTs can include Third-Party Organizations (academic or non-academic). Third-Party Organizations (academic or non-academic) may provide support to the Lead Applicant Organization or to the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization by providing expert advice or consultancy services. Eligible Third-Party Organizations are NOT restricted to the eligible countries listed in Annex 1. Grant agreements allow the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization to contract Third-Party Organizations or consultants for specific services.”

Q57. Is it possible to submit a concept note without having a co-applicant organization based in Canada at the moment of submission?

Including a Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator and a Canadian Co-Applicant Organization is an eligibility requirement. This means that applications that do not meet this criteria will be excluded.

You may wish to keep monitoring the Partnership tool for Women RISE (Two-stage Call for Proposals for Research Teams for Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable) – CIHR (cihr-irsc.gc.ca), where interested teams can express their areas of interest and expertise, and possibly find a match.

Q58. Are organizations affiliated to a public/government university research institute, private universities, or organizations or individuals that participated in the previous IMCHA funding opportunity eligible to apply?

Yes. According to the Call for Proposals, “A Principal Investigator (PI) who is an LMIC researcher (citizen or permanent resident of an LMIC country/territory) based in the LMIC Lead Applicant Organization and residing in an eligible LMIC country/territory where the research is proposed.” And under “Lead Applicant Organization”, it is stated that: “In addition to academic institutions, Lead Applicant Organizations can be private research organizations (e.g., non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, unions, civil society organizations, non-profit foundations or divisions of for-profit organizations), an Indigenous non-governmental organization with research and/or knowledge translation mandate or public organizations (e.g., governmental departments of line ministries or local governments).”

Q59. Can a research-focused NGO be a “lead applicant”?

Yes. According to the Call for Proposals, “A Principal Investigator (PI) who is an LMIC researcher (citizen or permanent resident of an LMIC country/territory) based in the LMIC Lead Applicant Organization and residing in an eligible LMIC country/territory where the research is proposed.” And under “Lead Applicant Organization”, it is stated that: “In addition to academic institutions, Lead Applicant Organizations can be private research organizations (e.g., non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, unions, civil society organizations, non-profit foundations or divisions of for-profit organizations), an Indigenous non-governmental organization with research and/or knowledge translation mandate or public organizations (e.g., governmental departments of line ministries or local governments).”

Q60. How many co-applicants can we have in one proposal from Canada?

There can only be one Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. Other Canadian organizations can be Third-Party Organizations.

Q61. How many co-applicants can we have in one proposal from the LMIC (apart from the Lead applicant)?

In addition to the mandatory eligibility criteria of having one LMIC PI, one Canada-based Co-PI and one Decision-Maker Co-PI, an application can have up to 5 LMIC Co-PIs who are based in 5 Co-Applicant Organizations (one in each). If research activities are being carried out in different countries, each country will need to have an additional Decision-Maker Co-PI. Each application is also allowed to have up to 5 Third-Party Organizations.

Q62. Will a Decision-Maker from an NGO from an LMIC be eligible or do we have to have a Decision-Maker from a government department?

If the Decision-Maker Co-PI is not from a government entity, the team needs to justify how the chosen Decision-Maker Co-PI has the ability to support the research, act to implement the research findings and influence relevant levels of government.

Q63. Will grants involving more than one country be prioritized over those that have only one country?

No. Grants involving more than one country will not be prioritized vs those with just one country.

How to Apply?

Q64. Are you still receiving concept notes for both Component 1 (Call for Proposals Health Policy and Research Organization) and Component 2 (Two-Stage Call for Proposals for Research Teams)—using the same submission criteria and dates?

No. The decision about the Health Policy and Research Organization (Component 1) is already made and is not subject to the same submission criteria and dates as Component 2.

Q65. What other documents must be submitted with the Concept Note?

As per “How to Apply” under “Stage 1 – Submit Concept Notes” of the Call document,  all the documents listed under items 1-4 are required to accompany your application (as below):

  1. Research Summary and Lead Applicant Information
  2. List of all LMIC Co-Applicants Organizations and/or Third-Party Organizations
  3. Concept Note Content
  4. Additional Documents

Q66. If we decide to cover more than one country in our proposal, should submit  two different applications?

One proposal can cover research activities in more than one country, provided that this is well justified. Among other things, a Decision-Maker will need to be identified in each country where research activities will take place.

Q67. I have tried to create a “test” Concept Note application within the SurveyMonkey Apply portal; however, the content of the application only seems to include an eligibility profile and a privacy statement. How might I be able to see what the complete Concept Note application looks like in the portal?

Only applicants who pass the eligibility criteria can proceed with the other sections of the application process. Under “Concept Note Content” in the Call for Proposals you can find the various headings within the Concept Note and the word limits.

Q68. Can you provide more information on what other components there are in the online submission after the privacy, eligibility and the research summary sections?

Q69. Can you provide the pdf format of the actual application form so that we can prepare everything in a word file and then copy and paste it? In some countries,  internet connections are low speed.

The components of the application stage are outlined on the Women RISE website under “How to Apply,” including how many words are allowed for each section. You will be able to see all these components in SurveyMonkey as well once you’ve completed the privacy statement and eligibility sections (https://idrc.ca/en/two-stage-call-proposals-research-teams-women-rise-research-support-womens-health-and-economic). You can also fill in each section with just a "To be completed" in the text box and then go back later to change your answers.

Scope and Types of Research

Q70. Can we have implementation and other research project designs together?

Each application should indicate one type of research type / theme per application. In the case of Specific Research Areas, each application can identify only one Area. An organization can submit a maximum of two applications as a Lead Applicant Organization. The onus is on the organization to demonstrate that it has the resources and capacity to undertake the two projects, if their applications are successful. Different departments or faculties within the same institution may be considered different Lead Applicant Organizations for this purpose.

Q71. Is the call focused on epidemiologists/medical doctors/medical researchers, or would you also fund more by social science researchers looking at topics related to health equity and livelihoods?

Women RISE welcomes social science research. Epidemiological Studies are only one of the types of research listed in the Call for Proposals.

Q72. Would a randomized control trial (RCT) of a newly introduced intervention at the beginning of the study (instead of policies that are already put in place) still be considered within the scope of this Call for Proposals?

Yes, a RCT of an intervention that is introduced specifically under the proposed research is eligible.

Q73. Does this Call for Proposals only allow research ideas that cover all the periods of time before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic? May we choose to focus, for example, only on the time period during the COVID-19 pandemic without taking into account pre-pandemic data?

The Call for Proposals allows research ideas that cover one or more of the time periods before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q74. How are you defining health? Does it also include wellness? Mental health? Financial health?

The description of the intent of the Call for Proposals is described under the section “Description”. This statement in the description might be a good lead for you: “Applications are encouraged to address one of the sub-priorities listed under Research Priority 3.5 or to identify and justify additional research questions relevant to the research region, target population or community, or context and aligned with Research Priority 3.5.”

Q75. Should the project focus on the general population of women? Or is it possible to focus on a very specific population of women (e.g., domestic workers, sex workers, migrant women, women with disability, etc.)?

Both are possible. It is acceptable to focus on a specific population of women.

Q76. Can the research be jointly conducted in one LMIC and in Canada?

Research activities can take place in one LMIC and Canada provided that the research design, objectives and outputs are connected and clearly justified.

Budget and Finance Questions

Q77. For full proposals that are selected for funding, is the funding provided before the research activities are initiated? Or can the research activities be initiated and then reimbursed once funding is received?

Upon signing of the Grant Agreement and Project Commencement, IDRC will advance funds to the Lead Applicant Organization equivalent to the first six (6) months of project implementations, as per the approved Grant/Project budget. All subsequent payments will be disbursed as stated in Part 3 - Schedule of Project Milestones subject to interim financial reporting which considers expenses incurred in the reporting period and projected expense for the subsequent period. With the exception of the final payment, all other payments are considered advances until the Project Milestones are satisfactorily achieved and a financial report of actual expenses incurred against the payment is accepted by the Centre. The final payment at the end of the project is based on the final financial report.

Research work and expenses can be initiated upon the Project/Grant “Commence Date” and no project-related expenses will be paid if these expenses were incurred prior to the Grant/commencement Date or after the Grant Duration.

More details are provided through the links in the “Grant Structure and Conditions of Funding” section of the Call for Proposals, which states: “The grants will be managed by IDRC. For those Full Proposals selected for funding, IDRC will exclusively enter into funding agreements (IDRC’s standard Grant Agreement), with the identified Lead Applicant Organization and the organization where the Canadian Co-PI is based (Canadian Co-Applicant Organization). Please see Annex 4 for more information on authorization requirements and minimum requirements to receive an IDRC grant.”

Q78. Will the Canadian-based Co-PI be contracted individually if he/she joins our research team or will the contract be with the university or research institution where he/she works as a researcher or faculty member?

The grant will be made to the Canadian Co-Applicant Organization directly.

Q79. Can you please share any budget guidelines, apart from the budget template listed on the IDRC website?

Q80. Within the "Grant Structure and Conditions of Funding" explanation in the Call for Proposals, it is stated that the LMIC Principal Investigator and the Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator are responsible for managing the grant funds separately. Is there any further guidance on how the grant should be split between the LMIC Principal Investigator and the Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator?

Q81. Is there a specific template for the total amount of funding requested? And do we need to put down a breakdown of activities or a lump sum is sufficient?

At this stage, you will need to submit a budget that is based on your proposed activities. In the application, there is a section to describe your budget in a maximum of 250 words.

The requested funding for each organization will depend on the proposed research activities and their location. It is not based on a predetermined percentages for each organization. According to the Call document, it is at Stage 2 that: “Guidelines on preparing Full Proposals” and a more detailed breakdown of these evaluation criteria will be provided to applicants invited to submit a Full Proposal. It is expected that each RT will submit one unified Full Proposal. Accompanying the Full Proposal, the Principal Investigator and Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator will submit two separate budgets according to the IDRC template.”

You need to be cognizant of the following evaluation criteria listed in the Call for Stage 1 Concept Notes:

Appropriateness of budget (5%)

  • The proposed budget is justified in relation to the suggested activities  
  • The budget outlines feasibility of planned activities within project timelines.
  • The budget shows an anticipation of difficulties that may be encountered and embeds appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
  • The budget must include the resources required to participate in-person (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) in the international Women RISE kick-off, mid-term and final meetings.

The budget template provides budget guidelines within the document. We cannot provide any further guidance, as the budget is part of the Project’s proposal evaluation process.

82. Can salaries be earmarked in the budget for the Lead Applicant from an LMIC, the Canadian Co-Applicant, the Decision-Maker from an LMIC, and other co-investigators from Canada and an LMIC? (I am referring to those who may be a part of the Research Team and not consultants).

Yes, they can; however, salaries should be kept within the maximum of 25% of the total proposed budget for the project.

Q83. The Women RISE website indicates that budgets up to CAD 1 million will be allowed. Would smaller projects, with budgets between 2-300,000 CAD, also be considered?

Yes. As per the call document, “Projects will have a maximum budget of CAD1,000,000 per grant.” So, applications are allowed for amounts less than that maximum.

Q84. FAQ#15 states “Where an organization has a supportable indirect costs recovery policy…” Can you please clarify what “supportable” means in this context?

Supportable means that the information/Indirect Cost recovery policy can be provided as back-up to IDRC, if and when requested. 

Q85. FAQ#15 states “The indirect cost rate proposed in the budget should not exceed the grantee’s organizational rate and should be verifiable.” Can you please clarify what “verifiable” means in this context?

Verifiable means that the organization can provide back-up information on how Indirect Costs are being calculated and they should not exceed the rate stated in their policy. Furthermore, the Indirect Costs stated in the proposed budget cannot exceed 13%, which is the maximum allowable under IDRC’s Granting policy.

Q86. Does the LMIC have to administrate the funds and transfer them to a Canadian partner? If this is complicated, can IDRC transfer the funds directly to the Canadian organization?

There is no expectation of transfer of funds between the Lead Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization. As per the Call for Proposals: “The grants will be managed by IDRC. For those Full Proposals selected for funding, IDRC will exclusively enter into funding agreements (IDRC’s standard Grant Agreement), with the identified Lead Applicant Organization and the organization where the Canadian Co-PI is based (Canadian Co-Applicant Organization). Please see Annex 4 for more information on authorization requirements and minimum requirements to receive an IDRC grant.

Qualifications and Competencies

Q87. Does the Lead Applicant PI need to hold a PhD?

This is customary and preferrable.

Q88. May we obtain more information on the education qualifications of the Principal Investigator from the LMIC Research Team as well as the Canada-based Co-PI?

There are no pre-determined education qualifications. The person will need to be qualified enough to lead/carry out the research activities authorized by his/her organization and meet the other eligibility criteria listed in the proposal. Please also refer to the description n the Call for Proposals of the Canada-based Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) who is an independent researcher.

Q89. Would a postdoctoral fellow be eligible to act as a co-PI if they have an academic or research appointment within one of the listed Canadian Research Institutions?

This could be considered if the situation meets these two requirements:

  • The Canada based Co-Applicant Organization’s policies allow a Postdoctoral Fellow to be the Co-PI, and
  • The Canada-based co-PI is employed by the institution for the entire duration of the grant.

Q90. How do you define the gender specialist in the scope of this call for proposals? Should the PI be a gender specialist? Are there any criteria to define their "demonstrated experience and skills" in this domain? How specialized should the gender perspective be in the scope of this call for proposals?

For the purposes of this Call for Proposals, there is no predetermined qualification for this specialist. The proposal has to demonstrate how the qualification and contribution of this person (and other team members) will contribute to the achievement of the research objectives in an integral manner.

Q91. Can team members be added after the concept note but before the final grant stage

The application needs to include information on the full proposed team. This will be part of the evaluation criteria of the applications as listed under “Research Team capacity”. Additional team members can be added if the applicant is invited to process to Stage 2 and submit a Full Proposal.

Q92. When should the PI and Co-PI complete the gender modules. Is this during the 1st stage or 2nd stage?

The gender modules should be completed during the 1st stage. Further information can be found under “Conditions of Funding” on the Call webpage: The PI and Co-PIs are strongly encouraged to complete one of the sex- and gender-based analysis training modules available online through the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health. Applicants should select and complete the training module most applicable to their research project. Applicants are encouraged to review the “How to integrate sex and gender in research” section of the CIHR website.

Additional Documentation

Q93. I note that at the Concept Note stage, Research Teams must append the following to the application: “List of current external donors and their contributions to the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization”. Can you please clarify whether this is in reference to only the proposed project at hand (i.e., external donors and their contributions to the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization for the proposed project)?

In SurveyMonkey, the instruction is: “Upload a list of current external donors and their contributions to the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization.” The expectation is that a full list is submitted. If the numbers are in the thousands of listings, it up to your discretion to decide a cut-off funding amount or number of donors, which you need to state explicitly with your rationale.

Q94. Can you clarify the form of letters of support needed from all organizations?

For an application to be considered complete, all required documents must be received before the deadline in PDF or word format. There is no specific template for these letters. Signed letters of support from all organizations in the RT, namely: Lead Applicant Organization, Canadian Co-Applicant Organization, Organization with which the Decision-Maker Co-Principal Investigator is affiliated and other LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations.

Q95. What is the institutional profile questionnaire to be completed under the Additional documents section?

In the Additional documents section in SurveyMonkey, you will find a link to the Institutional Profile questionnaire: IDRC’s institutional profile questionnaire completed by the Lead Applicant Organization and Canadian Co-Applicant Organization.

Q96. If the LMIC organization is a university, do they still need to present an entire organizational chart and a list of donors? And can we submit a limited organization chart rather than include everyone in the university?

Yes. We require the full organization chart or the link to the organizational chart. Canadian Universities have a link to their organizational charts; the same applies to most LMIC large and medium sizes universities.

Q97. Is there a specific format for the CVs?

There is no specific format. It can be uploaded in the online platform as a separate Word or PDF document.

Q98. How do we show proof of partnership with a Canadian Co-PI on the concept note? Do we have to have a letter of partnership?

In the Call for Proposals, under “Additional Documentation,” it is stated that the following is required: “Signed letters of support from all organizations in the RT, namely: Lead Applicant Organization, Canadian Co-Applicant Organization, Organization with which the Decision-Maker Co-Principal Investigator is affiliated and other LMIC Co-Applicant Organizations and Third-Party Organizations.”

Important Dates and Timelines

Q99. What is the deadline for submitting the Concept Note

The deadline is April 12, 2022 at 23:59 EDT.

Q100. Is there a date yet for the June workshop?

The workshop is anticipated to be during the week of May 30. We will include the exact date and duration on the FAQ webpage when the date is confirmed. 

Q101. Is it mandatory that the 3 investigators (Principal Investigator as well as Canada-based Coinvestigator and Decision-Making Coinvestigator) travel and attend the meetings? Is it possible for at least two to travel? Or will virtual workshops be considered for those who cannot travel?

It is mandatory for the PI and the Co-PIs to participate in the proposal strengthening workshop, as well as the inception, mid-term and final meetings. The proposal strengthening workshop is planned as a virtual workshop. The format of other meetings will be decided in due course.