Spark Program 2017 Call for Innovations

Watch for more information on CABHI’s next Spark Program Call for Innovations in May 2018.

Program Overview
Important Dates
Innovation Themes for 2017
Funding Available
Eligibility Criteria
Selection Criteria
Process & Timelines
Archived Webinar

Program Overview

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 SQLI members to apply for funding to develop or refine their grass-roots, early-stage solutions. Organizations of successful applicants will receive up-to $50,000 (CAD) to support their projects. Project cannot exceed 12 months and must begin by February 2018.

**The deadline to submit an Expression of Interest has been extended to October 23, 2017 by 5 pm EST, through the online form.

Important Dates

Applicants submit online Expression of Interest October 23, 2017 by 5 pm EST
CABHI invites selected applicants to submit application October 31, 2017
Invited applicants submit full online application including letter of support from Host Institution November 24, 2017 by 5 pm EST
CABHI notifies selected applicants January, 5, 2018
Sign agreements January 31, 2018
Start project February, 2018
CABHI’s 2018 Call for Innovations for the Spark Program will launch May 2018

Innovation Themes

CABHI is committed to accelerating innovative solutions that support health and economic outcomes. In 2017-18, we will be supporting innovations that are aimed at addressing the specific target areas listed below:

  1. Aging in place: solutions that enable older adults with dementia to maximize their independence and age in the most appropriate setting of choice (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 assist older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers 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 February 2018.

Flow of Funds

CABHI funding will be attached to project milestones and deliverables: CABHI releases an initial payment of 90 per cent of its funding at the start of the project. A holdback of 10 per cent will be released upon project completion and receipt of final progress and financial reports, outcomes 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 and deliverables as well as performance reporting.

Eligibility Criteria

CABHI will review all submitted Expressions of Interest to determine if projects meet the following criteria according to its sole judgement.


  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:
    • Health care professionals
    • Allied Health Professionals
    • Personal Support Workers
    • Certified Nursing Assistants
    • Support staff (for example dietary aides, housekeepers)
    • Home health care aides
    • Direct clinical care and/or service staff
    • Managers of clinical care delivery
  2. The Host Organization employing the lead applicant, and which will receive and administer project funding, must be:
    • A not-for-profit healthcare organization in Canada, or;
    • A not-for-profit organization with a mandate to serve the needs of older adults or people with dementia in Canada, or;
    • A member of the Seniors Quality Leap Initiative (SQLI)


  1. Must clearly address at least one of CABHI’s four innovation themes, and demonstrate potential to make a system-wide impact if implemented broadly
  2. The Host Organization must own the IP associated with the solution, or substantially contribute to an existing innovative solution, and retain some benefit from the commercialization or dissemination of the solution
  3. Must be “innovative” in that it deviates from standard practice or common procedure and demonstrate purposeful differentiation from existing solutions (i.e. not reinventing the wheel)


  1. Initiative 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 a pre-commercial 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 (20%): How well does the project align with CABHI’s Call for Innovation themes for 2017? How clearly defined and significant is the problem being solved?
  2. Quality of Solution (20%): How effectively does the solution address the identified problem? What is the quality of the existing evidence? How innovative, unique or “breakthrough” is the solution proposed?
  3. Opportunity to disseminate or commercialize the innovations (20%): What is the demonstrated size and value of the potential market for the solution? Does the team have a plan for dissemination and adoption of their novel solution? How ready is the solution to be scaled across Canada and beyond?
  4. Project goals (20%): How well planned and resourced is the proposed project? What outcomes and metrics is the project seeking to produce?
  5. Team (20%): Demonstrated track record of relevant successes and qualifications of key members of the project team? Organizational buy-in and strength of local support?

Final applications will be reviewed and scored by a project evaluation panel that is comprised of an independent group of external reviewers having expertise in the clinical, applied research, business and technical fields. Recommendations from the project evaluation team will be considered and approved by the CABHI leadership to ensure balance and strategic alignment. CABHI reserves the right to select proposals that represent distribution of projects across the 2017-18 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 and research ethics requirements of the project
    • 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 and provide project data up to 5 years after the completion of the Project and as required by Research Ethics Board (typically 7 years)
    • 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. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by completing the online form by 5:00 PM EST on October 23, 2017.

Step 2: CABHI will review and shortlist eligible applicants based on the eligibility requirements. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by October 31, 2017.

Step 3: Shortlisted applicants submit an online Application Form on the CABHI website by 5 pm on November 24, 2017. 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 4: CABHI will review the submitted applications, including project scope, timeline, deliverables and expected outcomes, against the selection criteria and select successful applicants.

Step 5: Successful applicants will be notified by January 12, 2018.

Step 6: Host Institution signs funding agreement with CABHI by February 7, 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.

Archived Webinar

View an archived version of the October 3, 2017 webinar.


Eligible Expenses Guideline

Letter of Support Template

Funding Agreement

Watch for more information on CABHI’s next Spark Program Call for Innovations in May 2018.

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.

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