2019 Spark Program Call for Innovations

Apply Now!

Program Overview
Successful Examples
Important Dates
Innovation Themes
Funding Available
Eligibility Criteria
Selection Criteria
Process & Timeline
Spark+ Curriculum
View the Spark Program 2019 Call for Innovations in French

Program Overview

Calling all point of care staff – Do you need funding for your aging + brain health innovation project?

CABHI is inviting point of care staff to “try something different” to improve the lives of older adults, persons with dementia and their care partners. Apply to the Spark program to receive up to $50,000 (CAD) per project, over 12 months that can be used to develop and refine early stage solutions or to adapt and test a commercially available solution in a senior care environment. In total, up to $2.5 million is available across all projects.

Point of care staff often improvise to meet the growing demands of an aging demographic. They hold key insights into what can be improved in seniors’ care delivery. CABHI’s Spark program exists for point of care staff to translate these insights into novel innovations that can improve care delivery at their organizations and beyond.

The deadline to submit the application form online is 5 pm EDT on Friday July 5, 2019.

Successful Examples

Projects may include (see links to successful examples from previous Spark rounds):

  1. Designing a new approach to providing care to older adults
  2. Developing a new product or service to address an unmet system need
  3. Testing the clinical application of a technology that interests you
  4. Adapting a validated innovation for use with a new audience

Important Dates

Application Window Opens Monday, May 13, 2019
Application Deadline Friday, July 5, 2019
CABHI notifies Finalists Friday, August 9, 2019
Finalist Phone Interviews Wednesday, August 14 to Tuesday, August 20, 2019
CABHI notifies Applicants Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Signed Program Agreements returned to CABHI Friday, October 25, 2019
All Projects Begin Friday November 1, 2019

Innovation Themes

To be considered for approval, your proposed solution must address one or more of the following five senior care priorities.

Aging in Place: Solutions that enable older adults with dementia to maximize their independence so that they can age in their desired setting. (e.g. by reducing falls, addressing social isolation, etc.)
Aging Indigenous and/or Rural Populations New ways of supporting the healthy aging of Knowledge Keepers or older adults in Indigenous and/or rural communities
Care Coordination & Navigation: Solutions that help older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers to better coordinate and navigate care for older adults with dementia
Caregiver Support: Solutions that support caregivers (formal and informal) in their care for older adults living with dementia
Cognitive Health: Solutions that improve brain/cognitive health for aging adults and/or support the identification and assessment of adults at risk for dementia/cognitive impairment

Funding Available

The maximum funding available for projects selected in this call for innovations is $50,000 (CAD)The Spark program will be funding projects that are scheduled to run for 12 months, starting in November 2019.  Last year, CABHI funded 31 projects in the Spark program.

Funding will flow to the applicant’s host organization. The host organization will be accountable for ethics and regulatory requirements, administering funds at appropriate rates, and for the applicant’s completion of project milestones, deliverables and performance reporting. CABHI releases an initial payment of 90 percent of its funding at the start of the project. A holdback of 10 percent will be released upon project completion and approval of the final reports, and attestation from the host organization regarding the use of funds.

Eligibility Criteria

CABHI will review all submitted applications to determine if projects meet the following criteria:

The Applicant:

  • Must be one of the following:
    • Point of care staff
      • Healthcare Professionals
      • Allied Health Professionals
      • Personal Support Workers
      • Certified Nursing Assistants
      • Support personnel
      • Support staff (for example dietary aides, housekeepers)
      • Home Healthcare aides
      • Direct clinical care and/or service staff
    • Point of care manager
      • Person who directly manages clinical care delivery
    • Point of care researcher
      • Person who conducts applied or translational research in a care setting

    Must be working (including research) at a healthcare delivery organization located in Canada or a member of the SQLI network

    The Solution:

    • Must clearly address at least on of CABHI’s five innovation themes and demonstrate potential to make a system-wide impact if implemented broadly
    • Must be sufficiently “innovative” in that it purposely differs from existing solutions
    • In some cases, matching funds may be required by the third party where third party solutions are used

    The Project:

    • Cannot involve basic research, primarily academic goals, subsidizing existing programs or initiatives at the host organization, capital investment in a portfolio of intellectual property, pharmaceutical trials or incubators for startups
    • Focuses on the development and testing of an innovative solution at a healthcare delivery organization located in Canada/SQLI
    • Maximum of 12 months

    Selection Criteria

    All applications will be evaluated based on the following selection criteria:

    1. The Solution (30%)
      • How significant is the problem being addressed?
      • How is this solution better than others?
    1. Strategic Alignment (30%)
      • How well aligned is the solution to CABHI’s Call for Innovation themes?
      • How effectively does the solution address the identified problem?
    1. Project Plan (20%)
      • Does the project have clearly defined goals and objectives?
      • Is the intended use of funds clearly linked to project goals and objectives?
    1. Project Team (20%)
      • How strong is the team’s point of care experience?
      • Has the team worked together successfully?

    Applications will be reviewed and scored by an external project evaluation panel that consists of reviewers having expertise in the clinical, applied research, business and technical fields. Recommendations from the project evaluation panel will be considered by CABHI leadership to ensure balance and strategic alignment. CABHI reserves the right to select proposals to achieve a broad distribution of projects across its innovation themes and geographic spread across healthcare provider organization sites located across Canada and the United States. In the case that multiple applicants submit a proposal that uses the same third party solution, only the single highest scored application shall be considered for funding.  CABHI reserves the right to decline any application and to annul this Call for Innovations at any time, without incurring any liability. Additionally, CABHI reserves the right to modify the scope of this Call for Innovations at any time.

    Host organization obligations:

    • Provide a Letter of Support for the applicant as part of the final application
    • Receive funding from CABHI and deploy funding to support project’s approved costs
    • Provide infrastructure and facilities support to applicant, for example office or lab space, office equipment and supplies etc.
    • Permit applicant to access organization’s patient population to facilitate testing
    • Ensure that the applicant completes project milestones and deliverables as well as performance reporting according to the project schedule
    • Oversee any regulatory requirements for the project and ensure that the project is approved by an accredited Research Ethics Board or Institutional Review Board if necessary
    • Attest and submit financial reports to CABHI, regarding the use of approved project funds
    • Ensure submission of final report by the applicant within 30 days of project completion,
    • Maintain project data to comply with requirements imposed by the Research Ethics Board or Institutional Review Board if necessary
    • Cooperate with CABHI in the collection of performance metrics relevant to the Project and provide CABHI with reasonably necessary documents and participate in CABHI’s publicizing the results from the Project
    • Sign the CABHI Program Agreement related to the project

    Application Process & Timeline

    Step 1: Review the criteria to ensure your application is eligible. Applicants will submit an online application form on the CABHI website by 5 pm EDT on July 5, 2019.  The online application must include a Letter of support from the host organization, which includes confirmation from the host organization that it understands its role and obligations, if the applicant’s project is selected for funding.  All applications must be in English and contain no material that is confidential or proprietary. You are granting no rights to any intellectual property by applying.

    Step 2: CABHI will review and evaluate the submitted applications, including project scope, timeline, deliverables and expected outcomes, against the selection criteria and select finalists

    Step 3: Finalists will be scheduled for phone-interviews to take place from August 14 to August 20, 2019.

    Step 4: Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified via email by August 16, 2019.

    Step 5: Host organization must sign the program agreement with CABHI by Friday, October 25, 2019. The program agreement will set out any contributions/obligations of the host organization and any other rights of CABHI including rights to disseminate the findings. If agreements are not signed by this deadline, CABHI reserves the right to cancel offered funding and divert funds to the next Finalist.

    Spark+ Curriculum

    A new component of the Spark program is the “Spark+ Curriculum”, a 4-module acceleration curriculum which will run in parallel to the project and help guide Project Leads towards a plan for success and sustainability. The curriculum will be optional and offered in a virtual group learning environment. It will take no longer than 1-hour per month though additional support may beavailable for interested Project Teams through CABHI’s Acceleration Services. Successful applicants will also have an opportunity to learn about other innovative solutions in their Spark cohort.


    UPDATE: Watch a recording of the webinar here.

    Register for one of our upcoming webinars to learn more about how to submit a successful application to the CABHI Spark Program.  Topics will include: keys to a successful proposal, how to submit a proposal through our online portals, funding allocation, responsibility for reporting, and much more.

    WEBINAR #1 – May 28 @ 12pm EDT – Register

    WEBINAR #2 – June 19 @ 12pm EDT – Register


    1. Eligible Expenses Guideline
    2. Letter of Support Template
    3. Project Agreement with Charter

    View the Spark Program 2019 Call for Innovations in French.

    Funding for this program is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, as well as the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Baycrest Foundation.

    Contact Sunny Han at shan@cabhi.com with questions about the Spark program.

    Apply Now!