Spark 2018 Call for Innovations

Program Overview
Important Dates
Innovation Themes for 2018 
Funding Available
Eligibility Criteria
Selection Criteria
Process & Timelines
Archived Webinar

Apply Now!

Program Overview

The mission of the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation is to accelerate the development, validation, commercialization, dissemination and adoption of innovative products, services and best practices to support brain health and aging.  Our vision is a world in which people can age in the setting of their choice, maintaining their well-being and independence for as long as possible.

The Spark program is intended to support innovative products and practices informed by the experience of point-of-care staff working with older adults. CABHI invites staff working at Canadian not-for-profit healthcare organizations and Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI) members to apply for funding to develop or refine their grass-roots, early-stage solutions.  Projects involving point-of-care staff testing or evaluating third party innovative solutions in a real-world environment will also be considered for funding under this program. Host organizations employing successful applicants will receive up-to $50,000 (CAD) to support their projects. Projects cannot exceed 12 months and must begin by September 2018.

The deadline to submit the application form online is 5 pm EST on June 14, 2018.

Important Dates

Program Announcement Apr 23, 2018
Applicants submit online Application Form including Letter of Support June 14, 2018 by 5 pm EST
CABHI notifies selected applicants July 13, 2018
Sign agreements August 31, 2018
Start project September 2018

Innovation Themes

CABHI supports innovations that address challenges associated with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. In 2018-19, CABHI’s focus will be on testing innovative solutions that are aimed at addressing the specific themes listed below. All project applications must focus on one or more of these themes. You can learn more about CABHI’s priority themes here.

  1. 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.)
  2. Caregiver support: solutions that support caregivers (formal and informal) in their care for older adults with dementia
  3. Care coordination and navigation: solutions that help older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers to better coordinate and navigate care for older adults with dementia
  4. 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 6 to 12 months, starting in September 2018.

Flow of Funds

CABHI funding will be attached to project milestones and deliverables. 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 receipt of final progress and financial reports, evaluation and outcomes report, and attestation from the Host organization regarding the use of funds.

Funding will flow to the applicant’s Host organization. The Host organization will be accountable for ethics and regulatory requirements, and for the applicant’s completion of project milestones, deliverables and performance reporting.

Eligibility Criteria

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


  1. The lead applicant must be a point-of-care staff member working at an eligible Host organization. ‘Point-of-care’ staff perform work that directly affects older adults, and include:
  2. Healthcare Professionals
  3. Allied Health Professionals
  4. Personal Support Workers
  5. Certified Nursing Assistants
  6. Support staff (for example dietary aides, housekeepers)
  7. Home Healthcare aides
  8. Direct clinical care and/or service staff
  9. Managers of clinical care delivery
  10. The Host organization employing the lead applicant, which will receive and administer project funding, must be:
  11. A not-for-profit healthcare organization in Canada, or;
  12. A member of the Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI), either in Canada or the United States
  13. If the Host Organization doesn’t own the intellectual property (IP) in the solution being tested or evaluated, then the owner of the IP will be required to provide CABHI with a letter confirming, among other things, that it owns the IP, that Host Organization has the right to use the IP for the project, and that it understands that CABHI will have the right to publicly disseminate the findings of the project.  The form of letter will be provided by CABHI.


  1. Must clearly address at least one of CABHI’s four innovation themes, and demonstrate potential to make a difference if implemented broadly


  1. Initiatives cannot involve basic research, primarily academic goals, capital investment in a portfolio of intellectual property, pharmaceutical clinical trials or incubators for startups.
  2. Eligible projects must focus on the development or refinement of an innovative device, software, practice or service.
  3. Projects cannot exceed 12 months.

Selection Criteria

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

  1. Strategic Alignment: How well does the project align with CABHI’s Call for Innovation themes (1.1) for 2018-19? How clearly defined and significant is the problem being solved?
  2. Quality of Solution: How effectively does the solution address the identified problem? What is the quality of the existing evidence? How innovative, unique or ‘breakthrough’ like is the solution proposed?
  3. Opportunity to disseminate or commercialize the innovations: What is the demonstrated size and value of the potential market for the solution? Does the team have a plan for dissemination of their novel solution? Potential of the solution to be scaled across Canada and beyond?
  4. Project goals: How well-planned and resourced is the proposed project? What outcomes and metrics is the project seeking to produce?
  5. Team experience: Demonstrated track record of relevant successes and qualifications of key members of the project team? Strength of local support?

Final applications will be reviewed and scored by a 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 the CABHI leadership to ensure balance and strategic alignment. CABHI reserves the right to select proposals to achieve a broad distribution of projects across the 2018-19 innovation themes and geographic spread across healthcare provider organization sites located across Canada and the United States.

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 redirect received 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.
  • Attest and submit financial reports to CABHI, regarding the use of approved project funds
  • Ensure submission of final report by the applicant after Project completion,
  • Maintain project data to comply with requirements imposed by the Research Ethics Board
  • 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 of the Project
  • Sign the CABHI Funding agreement related to the project

Process & Timeline

Step 1: Review the criteria to ensure your proposal addresses the identified themes. Applicants submit an online application form on the CABHI website by 5 pm on June 14, 2018.  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 submitting an application.

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

Step 3: Successful applicants will be notified by July 13, 2018.

Step 4: Host organization signs funding agreement with CABHI by August 31st, 2018. The funding agreement will set out any contributions / obligations of the Host organization and any other rights of CABHI including rights to disseminate the findings.


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 scucessful proposal, how to submit a proposal through our online portals, funding allocation and responsibility for reporting, and much more.
Dates:  Friday, May 11, 2018, 1 – 2 pm EST (Link to register)
Friday, June 1, 2018, 1 – 2 pm EST (Link to register)


Eligible Expenses Guideline

Letter of Support Template

Funding Agreement

View the Spark Program 2018 Call for Innovations in French.

Funding for this program is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science, as well as the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Baycrest Foundation.

Apply Now!