Establishment Grant


The Establishment Grant assists in building research capacity and provides initial support for new health researchers in Nova Scotia by funding investigator /curiosity driven research across NSHRF’s four health research categories.

Application Process
Review Process
Assessment Criteria
Resources and Assistance



To apply for an Establishment Grant, the Principal Investigator must meet one of the following criteria:

a) A new doctoral graduate

  • You graduated with a doctoral degree on, or after January 1, 2012; and
  • You hold a first-time academic appointment at a Nova Scotia university/affiliated research institution, or an appointment with research responsibilities at an affiliated hospital/ research centre/ institute

b) A health researcher that has recently moved to Nova Scotia

  • You have recently moved to Nova Scotia for the first time or after an extended absence of at least 5 years; and
  • You hold or will hold an academic appointment at a Nova Scotia university/ affiliated research institution for the first time, or an appointment with research responsibilities at an affiliated hospital/ research centre/ institute; and
  • Your appointment start date was on or after January 1, 2014

c) A researcher new to the field of health research

  • You hold an academic appointment at a Nova Scotia university/ affiliated research institution, or an appointment with research responsibilities at an affiliated hospital/ research centre/ institute; and
  • You have undergone a career transition since January 1, 2012, and are now conducting health research

Special Eligibility Considerations

Academic Appointments

The NSHRF considers the following to be academic appointments:

  • Tenured appointments
  • Tenure-track appointments
  • Probationary tenure-track appointments
  • Limited-term appointments
  • Continuing Appointment
  • Clinical scientists, clinical faculty or other appointments approved by a senior official (i.e., CEO or VP Research)

Adjunct and instructor positions are not considered academic appointments.

Current Establishment Grant Holders

  • A Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator may hold only one NSHRF Establishment Grant at a time. Researchers currently receiving NSHRF Establishment Grant funding are encouraged to contact the Manager, Research Programs to confirm eligibility before applying.

In the following circumstances, additional documentation must accompany the application in GMS:

Limited Term Appointment

  • The end date of a PI’s limited term appointment must not be earlier than the end date of the funding period and must be clearly indicated on his/her CCV.
  • The PI must also provide a letter from a senior official at their institution indicating the start and end dates of their appointment.
  • If, at the time of application, the PI holds a limited term appointment that ends prior to the funding end date, he/she is still eligible to apply. However, if the application is successful, a condition of funding will be institutional confirmation of a new appointment that extends the full length of the funding period.

Applicants New to the Field of Health Research

  • Researchers who have recently transitioned from another discipline to the field of health research must provide a letter describing the details of this career change.

Applicants Currently Residing Outside NS

  • Researchers from outside the province who are planning to move to Nova Scotia are encouraged to apply for this funding opportunity.
  • Researchers must demonstrate they will have an academic appointment at a Nova Scotian institution by the grant start date (September 1, 2020) by providing a letter from a senior official at the institution confirming the start date of the appointment.

Applicants Returning to NS

  • Researchers who have recently returned to Nova Scotia, after a minimum 5-year absence, must provide a letter describing the details of this absence.
  • Details of the new Nova Scotian academic appointment must be in the PI’s CCV.

Leaves of Absence

  • Researchers who have taken institution-approved leaves of absence during their eligibility period may receive a corresponding extension to their eligibility period.
  • Applicants must provide a letter from their institution confirming the length of the approved leave

Funding Amount and Duration

A maximum of $50,000 / year per grant will be issued for a period of up to 3 years (maximum value of $150,000).

Multiple Submissions

Applicants may submit only one application for consideration. 

Dates and Deadlines

Application Available in GMS: January 14, 2019
Deadline: March 26, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. (AT)
Peer Review: June 2019
Results Available: July 2019
Funds Available: September 2019


Application Process

Step 1:
Confirm Eligibility

Consider whether you meet the eligibility criteria, and obtain the necessary documentation required to support your eligibility, as outlined above.

If applicants have any questions related to their eligibility, they are encouraged to contact the Manager, Research Programs before submitting an application.

Step 2:
Review Application Requirements
Be sure to carefully review all application requirements, as outlined in the document below:

2019-2020 Establishment Grant Application Requirements (PDF)

Step 3:
Register in NSHRF’s Grants Management System (GMS)
Applications must be submitted through NSHRF’s online Grants Management System (GMS).

To access the application in GMS, the Principal Investigator (PI) must create an account. Please visit and click "sign up here" to create an account.

Step 4: Complete Application

To apply, login to GMS to access the application, where information will be either entered directly into GMS or uploaded as PDF documents. All instructions are detailed in the Application Requirements and the GMS / CCV User Guide.

Step 5: Obtain Team Member Application Consent Ensure all team members have provided their consent in GMS prior to submitting application.
Step 6: Obtain Institutional Approval Institutions must approve the application in GMS after it is submitted and prior to the application deadline.

Be sure to contact your institution to inquire about their process and deadlines for approval.

More information about these steps is outlined in the Application Requirements.

Review Process

  1. NSHRF staff will assess applications to determine whether they are complete and meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. One of two peer review panels will review applications in accordance with NSHRF’s peer review guidelines and the assessment criteria outlined below. The two committees reviewing applications are:
    • Biomedical (MED) Peer Review Committee: Applications related to basic scientific and biomedical study, including clinical and epidemiological investigations. 
    • Health Policy, Health Services, Health Outcomes (PSO) Peer Review Committee: Applications related to health policy, health services and health outcomes. 

Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used by the peer review committee to assess Establishment Grant applications:

Project Description

  • Clarity, scope and appropriateness of objectives
  • Clarity and appropriateness of methodology
  • Extent to which proposed research is innovative and original
  • Relevance and clarity of gender and/or sex considerations or strength of justification for not including gender and/or sex considerations
  • Extent to which potential challenges and limitations are identified and adequately addressed
  • Appropriateness of dissemination plan and potential for findings to be used by other researchers and end-users
  • Appropriateness of how success will be identified and clarity of approach to determine success

Work Plan and Timeline

  • Clarity and feasibility of project timeline
  • Clarity and feasibility of project activities
  • Alignment of timeline and work plan with objectives

Relevance to Nova Scotia

  • Relevance to the health of Nova Scotians
  • Relevance to the health research priorities of the NSHRF
  • Potential for impact on the economy, clinical practice, health policy and/or services in Nova Scotia

Team Composition

  • Clarity and appropriateness of team member roles and responsibilities
  • Relevance and scope of expertise and experience of the PI and team members, including peer reviewed publications, presentations and previous research awards or grants
  • Appropriateness of the PI’s environment to enable the conduct and success of the research project
  • Potential of team to successfully conduct proposed research
  • Clarity of mentorship role and potential contribution to project
  • Potential impact of the mentorship relationship on the merit of the proposal


  • Appropriateness and adequacy of budget expenses and their justification
  • Availability of in-kind contributions and other sources of funding
Overall Merit of the Proposal
  • Significance of proposed research and expected contribution to understanding, interpreting, or creating knowledge


Resources and Assistance

Application Support

Applicants are invited to contact the Manager, Research Programs for assistance prior to submitting an application.

Grants Management System (GMS) Support 

Please click here to download a step by step guide for applicants outlining how to navigate the Grants Management System. 

For technical questions regarding the GMS (including password resets, system navigation), contact the NSHRF Helpdesk at 902-424-4043 or

Please allow 1-2 business days for a response.

Canadian Common CV (CCV) Support 

Looking for your CCV/NSHRF PIN? Your PIN is the email address you used to register with GMS. 

Please click here to download a step by step guide for validating your PIN and submitting your CCV. 

For technical questions regarding the CCV (including password and account resets, PINs, CCV submission, etc.), contact the CCV Centralized Helpdesk at 1-888-603-4178 or