FUNDING

The CRBS has several ongoing initiatives to help members potentiate their research and promote collaboration within the CRBS and between the CRBS and external scientists and clinicians. Furthermore, the CRBS is also dedicated to bringing the power of structural biology and biophysics to the broader scientific community, and has initiatives to lower the financial and know-how barriers to do so.

Blue Sky Seed Funding

Funding bodies award grants based on scientific excellence. However, typically extensive preliminary work is necessary to demonstrate feasibility. Hence, most cutting-edge projects die at their inception due to lack of funds to generate exciting preliminary data. The CRBS “blue-sky seed” funding competition will provide seed funds to generate preliminary data in proposed projects that will enable CRBS member researchers to later seek additional funding from other agencies.

 

The CRBS will provide seed funding research support for groups of two to four members to generate preliminary data and provide evidence for collaboration that will enable member researchers to seek additional funding from other agencies. Projects that foster new collaborations across disciplines are encouraged. There are funding streams for intra-CRBS, CRBS-MI4, CRBS-GCRC and CRBS-external teams.

 

The next competition will launch in January 2021.

Rapid Response Infrastructure Funding - Purchase

To keep on the cutting edge of technological advances, the CRBS will have an annual collaborative breakthrough equipment competition. Technological developments enable breakthroughs in biomedical research. Some technological developments are more moderately priced (~$30K-$80K) but are nonetheless key for performing the most informative experiments. There is a dearth of mechanisms that allow Canadian scientists to purchase such equipment. CRBS will allow its members will gain an advantage with access to the most recent equipment rapidly.

 

Applications will describe how the proposed equipment will be the most impactful for the research and training endeavours of multiple CRBS members. The infrastructure committee will evaluate and rank applications based on the potential impact of the equipment in advancing the research programs of multiple CRBS investigators and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration.

 

The current competition is underway, and has a deadline of January 2021. The application form and instructions are available here.

Rapid Response Infrastructure Funding - Supplement

To keep on the cutting edge of technological advances, the CRBS also will have an annual collaborative breakthrough equipment competition to enable purchase of equipment just beyond the budget of other opportunities. For example, if a new and important piece of infrastructure costs $180K and a federal or provincial equipment competition has a maximum budget of $150K, a team of CRBS members can apply for the $30K required to complete the purchase. Is the team is successful in the federal or provincial equipment competition, the $30K is supplied by CRBS, but if the federal or provincial equipment competition is unsuccessful the CRBS funds will not be awarded.

 

Applications will describe how the proposed equipment will be the most impactful for the research and training endeavours of multiple CRBS members. The infrastructure committee will evaluate and rank applications based on the potential impact of the equipment in advancing the research programs of multiple CRBS investigators and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration.

 

The next competition is expected in August 2021.

Access to Structural Biology In-Kind Funding

The CRBS will lower the barriers for to biophysical techniques, disciplines and translation. Typically, initial investment in reagents and operating fees necessary to perform a technique for the first time can be prohibitive, and obtaining the required expertise to interpret and analyze the data is challenging and time-consuming. For example, cryo-EM user fees are high, so launching new cryo-EM projects may be difficult without earmarked operating funds. Likewise, crystallization trays, sparse-array screening solutions, pins, mass spectrometry matrices and many other consumables are purchased in bulk, and impractical for exploratory experiments.

 

A rolling, quarterly competition will allow access to skilled support staff and consumables of up to ~$1K. Applicants will write short proposals outlining the barrier-lowering support requested and the scientific merit of the project. This initiative will help researchers discover rapidly whether their research questions or biological system is well suited to a particular technique and to gain the initial expertise upon which to build.

 

The next competition will open in January 2021.