Operating Grant: CRISM Indigenous Engagement Platform 2023


Opportunity type:



Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Award amount and duration:

$400,000/year up to 5 years





For an application to be eligible, at minimum the Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA), the Principal Applicants (PAs) and Principal Knowledge Users (PKUs; if applicable) must self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) and/or provide evidence of having meaningful and culturally safe involvement with Indigenous Peoples. A 5-page document describing how this eligibility criterion is met must be submitted as an "Other" attachment (see How to Apply section).

All the requirements stated below must also be met:

  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) must be a member of the CRISM Network. A letter of support from all CRISM Regional Node Nominated Principal Investigators (NPI) will be required to confirm eligibility. See How to Apply for more information.
  2. The NPA must be one of the following:
    1. An independent researcher or a knowledge user affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution and/or its affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other non-profit organizations with a mandate for health research and/or knowledge translation);
    2. An individual affiliated with an Indigenous-led non-governmental organization in Canada with a research or knowledge translation mandate;
    3. An Indigenous non-governmental organization in Canada with a research and/or knowledge translation mandate.
  3. The NPA (individual) must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term.
  4. The Institution Paid must be authorized to administer CIHR funds before the funding can be released (for more information see Administration of Funds.
  5. If the NPA is not an independent researcher, there must be at least one Principal Applicant (PA) who is an independent researcher.
  6. If the NPA is an Indigenous non-governmental organization, an individual from that organization has to be identified as a PA on this application in order to then hold the role of PA (representative of the organization) on the CRISM Coordinating Center application (see the Conditions of Funding for more details).
  7. A representative from each of the other four Regional Nodes (i.e., one from each of the Nodes not represented by the NPA) must be identified as PAs.
  8. In addition to the NPA, the research team must include the following participants:
    1. At least one project participant must be a Service Provider for substance use, under the broad definition of a Knowledge User (KU) and listed in that role;
    2. At least one project participant, other than the Service Provider, must be an Indigenous PWLLE and be identified as a PA, Co-Applicant, Principal Knowledge User (PKU) or KU on the application. In the context of this funding opportunity, this includes Indigenous individuals with lived and living experience and their caregivers and family members, as well as advocacy groups and others that represent Indigenous PWLLE; and
    3. At least one project participant, other than the Service Provider and PWLLE, must be an Indigenous Elder and/or Indigenous Knowledge Holder* and be identified as a PA, Co-Applicant, PKU or KU on the application.
  9. The application must identify a Sex and Gender Champion with experience in meaningful and culturally safe sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA) or gender diversity in Indigenous communities, identified as NPA, PA or PKU on the application.
  10. The NPA** and the Sex and Gender Champion (if different) must have successfully completed one of the sex- and gender-based analysis training modules available online through the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health and have submitted a Certificate of Completion (see How to Apply section). Select and complete the training module most applicable to your research project.

*A Knowledge Holder (also known as a Knowledge Guardian) is a person, regardless of age, who possesses the Indigenous cultural knowledge necessary for the proposed research project or activities, as recognized, validated, and authenticated by the Indigenous community.

**Organizations as NPAs: For organizations applying as the NPA, a representative of the organization must complete the training module on the organization's behalf.


The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) was established in 2015 (Phase I) by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to build a national network in substance use research. CRISM Phase I comprised of four large multi-disciplinary, integrated teams (also referred to as "Nodes") of substance use researchers, service providers, decision makers and people with lived and living experience (PWLLE) collectively known as the "Network". This Network provides a flexible and expandable platform for accelerating the development and flow of local and pan-Canadian research studies and knowledge mobilization (KM) on problematic substance use, including prevention, harm reduction and treatment. To date, research in partnership with Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), including Urban Indigenous communities, has been carried out at a Regional Node level; however, more support is needed to facilitate and coordinate engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including Urban Indigenous communities, across Canada.

This funding opportunity will support the development of an Indigenous Engagement Platform (hereafter referred to as the Platform) to foster and encourage distinctions-based and Indigenous-led community-based substance use research and knowledge mobilization that is founded in Indigenous ways of knowing, priorities, and values. The Platform will also provide a foundation to support existing and develop new relationships between the CRISM Network and First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including Urban Indigenous communities.

The CRISM Indigenous Engagement Platform will work with the Regional Nodes and the CRISM Coordinating Centre to ensure that Indigenous perspectives are incorporated into the work of the CRISM Network. This Platform will adapt and spread the successes of the Regional Nodes while also expanding capacity for further engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including Urban Indigenous communities, across the Network and across Canada to establish a robust and sustainable foundation for Indigenous-led substance use research.

The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are to establish a foundation for Indigenous-led substance use research by creating and implementing an Indigenous Engagement Platform for the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) to:

  • Expand the reach and impact of CRISM's engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including Urban Indigenous communities across Canada, and serve as a bridge between the Regional Nodes, the CRISM Network and Indigenous communities;
  • Inform, support and co-lead relevant activities of the CRISM Network Coordinating Centre and the Regional Nodes; and
  • Champion Indigenous-led substance use research to ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, including Urban Indigenous communities, can engage, lead and participate in substance use research in a meaningful and culturally safe environment that is founded in Indigenous ways of knowing, priorities, and values.


Application deadlines

RSO final internal review deadline

October 2, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Program application deadline

October 5, 2023 - 6:00 PM


NOTE: Consult your Faculty Associate Dean (Research) (ADR) regarding Faculty-specific deadlines and submission processes.

Principal Investigators: Complete a Research Management System (RMS) record, including a copy of your complete application, and submit this for approvals in RMS.

Postdocs, students, and trainees: For fellowships and externally-sponsored research training awards or opportunities, you must complete the Research Funding Application Approval (RFAA) Trainee PDF form, and submit it, along with a complete copy of the application, to Research Services at rsotrainee@ucalgary.ca. Trainees should not use RMS at this time.

Approvals: The University of Calgary requires that all funding applications be approved prior to submission. Approval requires signatures via either RMS or the RFAA Trainee form, in the following order:

  • Principal Investigator
  • Department Head
  • Faculty ADR/Dean
  • Research Services (on behalf of the Vice-President Research)

Read the Meaning of Grant Signatures policy to understand what your approval means. Please see the agency guidelines for details about which signatures are required on your application, as it may differ from internal requirements.

Late submissions: Late submissions will only be accepted in cases of medical or family emergencies, or other exceptional circumstances. If you submit your RMS record to Research Services after the internal deadline has passed, you must secure additional approvals. Please read: Late Applications Process.

Additional Information

Overhead N/A

Conditions of Funding

  • The NPA must consent to the use and disclosure of full application and nominative information at the time of application, for purposes of funding decisions by the relevant sponsors.
  • The Indigenous Engagement Platform will become a part of the CRISM Network.
  • The NPA of the Platform must be a PA on the CRISM Coordinating Centre funding opportunity. If the NPA of the Platform is an Indigenous non-governmental organization, then the representative of the organization identified as Principal Applicant on this application (Eligibility 6.) will be the PA on the CRISM Coordinating Center Funding opportunity.
  • The NPA (individual; Eligibility 2a-b.) must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term. Should the NPA leave Canada, a new NPA must be identified.
  • The NPA must remain a member of the CRISM Network throughout the term of the grant. Should the NPA leave the Network before the grant term end, another member from the CRISM Network will need to be appointed as Nominated Principal Investigator.
  • Data related to research by and with First Nations, Inuit, Métis or Urban Indigenous communities whose traditional and ancestral territories are in Canada must be managed in accordance with data management principles developed and approved by those communities, and on the basis of free, prior and informed consent. This includes, but is not limited to, considerations of Indigenous data sovereignty, as well as data collection, ownership, protection, use, and sharing.
  • The Platform will be required to collaborate with the Network Coordinating Centre on the planning and organizing of the Network Coordinating Centre's annual event on Canadian substance use research and/or CRISM activities. The application's budget must account for collaborating on the planning of this annual event, if applicable.

Submission Process:

Full application, plus approvals in RMS, will be required by RSO by noon on Monday, October 2, 2023. Please be sure to select "Submitted for approvals" (Under Save & Progress) in RMS in enough time to allow for approvals from your Department Head and/or ADR prior to the internal RSO deadline. Consult your department and faculty for more information on their approval processes and timelines.

Do not submit through ResearchNet until RSO's signature has been granted!! 

Once institutional signature has been obtained, a copy of the CIHR signature page will be available via the RMS record, under Documents. Upload the CIHR signature page and routing slip in the Print/Upload Signature Pages task in ResearchNet by 6:00PM Calgary time on Thursday, October 5, 2023.

Contact Details


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
substance use/misuse
mental health