2020 Innovation to Commercialization competition now open. New for 2020: additional resources to support female innovators

2 December 2019

Our 2020 Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) competition is now open. LOI deadline is January 27, 2020. Full applications are due on March 31, 2020.

MSFHR is introducing a number of changes across all our competitions for 2020, including a new equity and diversity survey, and a new, user-friendly interface for MSFHR ApplyNet (our online grants management system). We are also providing additional funding for the I2C Program to support maintaining a minimum success rate of ~20 percent while encouraging and supporting more female applicants. Program changes are based on data gathered from our annual program learning and improvement cycle, which encompasses program data, environmental scanning, and stakeholder feedback.

What’s new for 2020?

Supporting more female innovators

MSFHR believes diversity in research is important for cultivating talent and promoting inclusive excellence, which in turn drives discovery and helps build a more innovative and impactful health research system. We are committed to fostering gender equity in our funding programs.

As a data-driven organization, MSFHR closely reviews its programs to assess trends and impact, including how many people are applying and succeeding, and who. Our ongoing analyses of our larger, salary award programs (Scholar, Research Trainee, Health Professional-Investigator) demonstrate men and women have historically experienced comparable success rates. However, three years of I2C data show consistent gender differences, with more male applicants both applying for the award and also receiving a disproportionately higher number of awards. While this data may be reflective of well-documented systemic gender equity concerns in the technology and commercialization sectors, MSFHR is committed to fostering and building capacity for BC’s female innovators, and is providing additional funding to support female applicants.

To ensure an appropriate number of I2C awards are available for the anticipated number of applications submitted, and to address gender equity in this competition, MSFHR is doubling the base funding envelope of awards from a minimum of three to six for the 2020 competition. Increasing the approved number of awards allows us to still maintain a success rate of ~20% while better supporting female innovators who score above the quality line, but below the previous funding line. As always, all applications to the I2C Program undergo rigorous peer review, and are adjudicated based on excellence.

MSFHR is also calling upon our academic and health partners to support and encourage more female innovators to apply for the 2020 I2C award, and potential partners who may also be interested in fostering BC innovators through co-funding an I2C award.

Introducing an equity and diversity survey

As part of MSFHR’s ongoing work in supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), we are enhancing our data collection efforts with a new demographic survey of applicants and peer reviewers based on similar data collected by CIHR, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Our survey will enable us to understand diversity as it relates to our own work, but as important, its findings will contribute to the bigger picture understanding of BC’s and Canada’s research system diversity and to subsequent conversations about actions that may need to be taken. It will ask applicants to share their gender, age, Indigenous identity, racialized identity, sexual orientation and disability. While identified users (applicants, co-applicants, research users, trainee supervisors and peer reviewers) will be required to complete the survey, each question has the option to respond “I prefer not to answer”. Only anonymized, aggregate data will be shared with any internal or external stakeholders.

Launching a new, more user-friendly version of MSFHR ApplyNet

Earlier this fall, we launched an updated version of ApplyNet, our online grants management system (GMS).

The new system will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the application process for our applicants, peer reviewers, staff and other users. It offers a more streamlined, easy to use interface and enables us to collect and report on data more effectively.

More information about the new MSFHR ApplyNet, including tutorials, is available on our website.

All current MSFHR ApplyNet users should have already received an email asking them to accept the system’s new Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, and to reset their passwords. MSFHR ApplyNet users who have questions or have not received an email from no-reply@msfhr.org should contact our Help Desk.