Research Project Grants :  
September 11, 2015 at 4pm

Fellowships / Studentships : 
October 30, 2015 at 4pm

General Guidelines

Peer Review

All applications are reviewed for scientific merit and relevance to the objectives of the Foundation. The Research Committee receives applications for project grants; the Fellowships Committee receives applications for Fellowships and Studentships. For all project grants  the Committee solicits input from external referees. External reviews may be shared between committees. Once the review process is completed and the results are made public, all applicants, with the exception of Studentship applicants, receive an edited version of the reviews.

To receive a favourable rating, an application must:  

  • make the case that the work addresses an important mental health problem/issue that is amenable to scientific research; the applicant should point out how the work is relevant to the mission and objectives of the Foundation as stated in this pamphlet (Click here for guidance on addressing the issue of mental health relevance),
  • give an excellent scholarly presentation of the theoretical and empirical foundations of the proposed work,
  • clearly state the specific research questions that the applicant proposes to answer; if there are hypotheses to be tested, they must be clearly stated and well grounded in existing knowledge and theory,
  • clearly describe the methods and justify their appropriateness,
  • state how the work makes a contribution to knowledge, policy development, or practice; the applicant should envision the most exciting result that could come from a successful execution of the proposed work and briefly explain the value and potential benefits of that result,
  • clearly set out and justify the budget,
  • reflect the highest standards of compliance with the ethics of research with human or animal subjects; consent forms must be acceptable to the review committee, and
  • show that the human and material resources needed to carry out the work successfully are available to the applicant.

The Foundation will consider all complete applications. Internal reviewers may, following a preliminary review, determine that an application is seriously deficient or noncompetitive. Should this occur, we will send the applicant an edited version of the written reviews but the Committee will not discuss the application in detail at its annual review meeting.

Members of the Peer Review Committees


The sole basis for an appeal of all Foundation's grant, fellowship, or other funding decisions is improper procedure. The function of the Appeal Process is not to adjudicate scientific disagreements among applicants and peer reviewers. The Appeal Process is designed to ensure that the established and published procedures for the review of applications were followed. The sole remedy available of a successful appeal of a Foundation decision will be an amendment to the procedures of the Foundation.  

An applicant wishing to make an appeal of a grant, fellowship, or other funding decision must notify the Executive Director within 10 days of the applicant's receipt of the notification of the funding decision. The written notification must cite the specific decision and include a brief statement of the procedural defect giving rise to the appeal.  

The Executive Director will review the claim, the procedures followed in reaching the specific decision, and will consult, where applicable, with the Chair of the relevant Committee to determine if the procedures of the Foundation were appropriately applied. The applicant will be notified by letter by the Executive Director of the result of the review within 30 days of the receipt of the letter of appeal.

A further appeal of the Executive Director's decision may be requested; the review will be carried out by the Executive Committee of the Board.

Copyrights and Patents

The ownership of, and all rights to, all industrial and intellectual property which may be generated from activities that Foundation funds have supported in whole or in part, will be determined as follows:

  1. If the sponsoring institution receiving an award has an established policy relating to industrial and intellectual property, and the policy is acceptable to the Foundation, the ownership and rights to such property will be determined according to this policy.
  2. If the sponsoring institution receiving an award has no such established policy, or if its policy is not satisfactory to the Foundation, the following policy relating to industrial and intellectual property will apply:
    • All such industrial and intellectual property will belong to the Foundation. The exceptions to this are set out in (d) and (e) below.
    • The Foundation has the right to require that grant recipients make applications for patents, trade marks, copyrights, etc., relating to any such industrial and intellectual property. The Foundation also has the right to require that the necessary assignment of any right be made for this purpose.
    • The Foundation will not recognize individual interest in any industrial or intellectual property. Any proceeds from such property arising from sale, royalty, licenses or otherwise, will belong to the Foundation. The Foundation will devote these proceeds to the promotion of research in the field of mental health preferably, though not necessarily, in the originating institution.
    • If the Foundation decides not to seek patents, trade marks, etc., relating to any such industrial or intellectual property it will, on the request of the institution, release its interest in this property.
    • The copyright in any book or scientific publication will belong to the author, subject only to the following:
      1. The Foundation will have the right to review any writing before publication, to determine if any rights to industrial or intellectual property will be prejudiced by the publication.
      2. The Foundation will have a royalty-free license to reproduce any extract from such copyrighted material, in any publication it has sponsored. The Foundation may also publish content from final or progress reports the grantee has submitted.


While submissions are welcome from applicants who are not institutionally based, these applicants must have an acceptable mechanism for scientific, ethical, and financial accountability, as well as meeting the standards of excellence expected of all applicants.  

The Significance of Signatures on Application Forms

The signature of the applicant assures the Foundation that:

  • All information the applicant provides is accurate and consistent with institutional policies.
  • The applicant accepts the terms and conditions for the application and for any grant or award that may result, as set out in the Ontario Mental Health Foundation Information and Guidelines for Applicants.
  • The applicant authorizes the Foundation and the institution to release to each other scientific, administrative or personal information pertaining to the application, or the funds awarded as a result of the application
  • The applicant has not been barred from applying to any other research funding organization due to breach of standards of ethics or integrity.

Signatures from institutional administrative officers certify to the Foundation that the institution will:

  • Administer any grant or award received as a result of the application according to the Foundation’s policies as set out in the Guidelines for Applicants.
  • Accept responsibility for withholding Foundation grant funds until they have issued the required ethical approvals.  These will be indicated on the signed facesheet when the application is submitted.
  • Investigate by appropriate procedures any allegations of conduct inconsistent with the Foundation’s policies in connection with any application of Foundation funds.
  • Report to the Foundation the results of any investigation that concludes that an applicant or grantee has infringed Foundation policies.
  • Provide any infrastructure and support.  

If a signature of a co-investigator is missing from the facesheet, the Foundation will not assume his or her agreement to participate in the project.


Ethics & Conduct

By signing the application forms to the Foundation, applicants and administrators accept responsibility for ensuring that any research carried out with funds from the Foundation is within the applicable guidelines for ethical conduct (as outlined below).  Institutions also accept responsibility for withholding Foundation grant funds until they have issued the required approvals.  The required approvals should be indicated on the signed facesheet at the time of submission.   

 The Foundation reserves the right to withdraw funding if the following guidelines are not met.  We look to other agencies for guidance in matters of ethics and conduct, and reserve the right to modify our requirements to be consistent with those agencies.  

a)   Investigations involving human subjects:  

The sponsoring institution and the principal investigator are responsible for ensuring that research involving human subjects is done in an ethical way.  In making judgements about ethics the Foundation will be guided by the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1998) available from the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics at (The Foundation can provide a hard copy of the policy upon request)

The Foundation requires that all research projects be approved by a Research Ethics Board (REB) or an equivalent body.  Each applicant must arrange to have the chair of the REB certify: (i) that the institution's REB has met to examine the research protocol, and (ii) that the REB has given approval for the project to go forward.

Approval by the REB is important, but applicants are still required to provide all materials necessary for the Foundation’s review committee to make its own assessment.  For example, applications that propose the use of human subjects in an investigation must include a copy of the consent form (a draft is acceptable if this is all that is available at the deadline) and any letters of explanation or other material to be given to potential subjects or to others whose consent is sought.

Institutions without a REB should call or write the Foundation for guidance about how they may satisfy the requirement for an ethical review.

b)   Investigations involving animals:  

Applicants whose work involves the use of animals as research subjects must get a letter or a certificate from the Chairman of the institution's Committee for Animal Care verifying that the use of animals in their research is in accordance with the Animals for Research Act  (  (The Foundation can provide a hard copy of the policy upon request)

c)   Laboratory biosafety:

The Foundation accepts the guidelines expressed in the Medical Research Council/Health Canada’s (1996) Guidelines for Laboratory Biosafety available from the Public Health Agency of Canada at  (The Foundation can provide a hard copy of the policy upon request) Any research involving agents identified in those guidelines must be approved by the institution’s applicable review committee.

d)   Final authority:

On the advice of a review committee, or at its own discretion, the Foundation may reject an application on ethical grounds even though it has been approved by the sponsoring institution.


Citizenship Requirements

All Foundation grants and awards are available to permanent residents and Canadian citizens with an appointment at, or affiliation with an Ontario post-secondary institution or, for those applicants without institutional affiliation, primary residence in Ontario. Students must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an Ontario post-secondary institution. Applicants must maintain tenure at an Ontario post-secondary institution for the full term of an award. All awards are tenable at institutions in Ontario only. Permanent residents must submit a copy of their card with their application.  

Applicants who have formally applied for permanent residency and can reasonably expect to have it by March of the following year in which the proposal is submitted are permitted to apply. Should they be recommended for funding, they must achieve the required immigration status before final recommendations are made to the Board in March.


Interruptions to Career

The Committee will take into account both academic standing and evidence of ability and accomplishment in research when reviewing applications.  The Committee will also take into account an interruption in a candidate’s career.  Where this has been the case, the applicant should briefly explain the circumstances behind the interruption in the covering letter.  An applicant whose eligibility for a particular category is affected in this way should discuss the situation with the Executive Director before submitting the application.


Maternity Leave/Parental Leave

A grantee/fellow requesting deferral of a grant/fellowship must send a letter to the Foundation setting out the nature of the leave, the dates of its start and completion, and an assessment of the effect of the leave on the completion of the work. For fellows, the supervisor must sign the letter as well, when applicable.



Many members of the Fellowships Committee take the view that it is intellectually limiting for an individual to take most or all of their advanced training in the same research setting.  For example, the committee would question the wisdom of staying on for postdoctoral training in a laboratory where the applicant completed his or her doctoral work.  If you are proposing to stay on in a setting where you have already taken extensive training, you must give the committee a persuasive reason for this choice.  


Other Funding

When an applicant to our competition is successful in obtaining funds from another agency, he or she should inform the Grants Officer without delay.  If the costs can be properly transferred to another agency, the money freed up is passed to the project next in line for support.



In all publications resulting from research supported by the Foundation, the following acknowledgement should be included: This study was assisted by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. 

Communication of Competition Results

Research Grants

The Ontario Mental Health Foundation will send a letter at the end of January to applicants, stating their rankings. After the Board has met in March, the official funding decision will be conveyed in a letter to applicants who are recommended for funding. Under no circumstances will results be provided over the phone.


The official funding decision will be conveyed in a letter to all applicants after the Board has met in March. Under no circumstances will results be provided over the phone.