Weston Family Foundation Brain Health: Sleep 2023 Program


Opportunity type:



Weston Family Foundation

Award amount and duration:

up to $1.2 million over 3 years




For this program, the Foundation is only able to accept LOIs and Proposals from
institutions (or individuals affiliated with and applying through or on behalf of
institutions) that are Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) qualified donees located in
Canada. Applicants may appear in any role on any number of applications.
• Eligible Principal Applicants must be a researcher working in Canada at least 50% of
the time and hold a position at or above the level of Assistant Professor or equivalent
at a CRA qualified donee institution located in Canada.
• Co-applicants must be at the post-doctoral level or above and working at a CRA
qualified donee institution located in Canada.
• Collaborators must be at the post-doctoral level or above and can be working outside
of Canada.
The Foundation highly encourages collaboration within the research community and across
multiple disciplines. Applicants should consider collaborations where possible to maximize
the impact of their project.


The Brain Health: Sleep 2023 program seeks to accelerate the research and development
of sleep-based strategies that improve brain-related outcome measures relevant to (or
associated with) NDAs. This includes observational studies (e.g., studies mining existing
databases, cohort studies, biomarkers studies) and interventional studies in humans
(e.g., pilot studies, proof-of-concept trials, ancillary trials). Work involving animal
models/data are not in scope of the program.

Examples of projects in scope:
Interventional studies:
• Testing the impact of a sleep apnea treatment on cognitive performance and
Alzheimer's disease pathology measured with PET imaging.
• Developing an intervention to improve sleep-wake cycles as a means of treating
sleep and cognitive disturbances in Parkinson's disease.
• Testing a device or technology to promote slow wave sleep and improve memory
function among people with NDAs.
• Testing the effect of a sleep medication on the quality of sleep and fluid biomarkers
of Alzheimer's or related diseases.
Observational studies:
• Harnessing existing data to investigate whether reduced quality of sleep is
associated with poorer cognitive performance and an increased risk of Alzheimer's
• Collecting primary data to study the association between sleep disturbances and
biomarkers of disease in the brain in an at-risk population for Alzheimer’s disease.

Every project must include one or more brain related outcome measures (e.g., fluid-based
biomarker, neuroimaging outcome measure, well-established clinical/cognitive measures)
relevant to NDAs as a readout. Peripheral/systemic measures, if proposed, must be
correlated with brain function or brain-related outcome measures. Self-reporting sleep
questionnaires should be well-validated

Developing new therapeutics or sleep technologies are not in scope of this program.
However, studies using existing therapeutics are eligible if they are being assessed in the
context of a sleep-based intervention and impact brain-related outcome measures relevant
to (or associated with) NDAs.

If selecting a sleep technology for the proposed work, we recommend that you consider the
• Has the technology been validated for the proposed measures (e.g., sleep/wake,
sleep stages) within the proposed study population? Has the validation been
published in peer-reviewed journals?
• Does the technology meet or exceed the current “gold standard” used to measure a
given sleep parameter? If not, what unique advantages does it offer to justify its use
for the proposed study?
• Does the technology offer the specificity and sensitivity required for the proposed
• Has the technology demonstrated good test-retest reliability?
• Will the technology be evaluated in real-world settings, for example under social and
environmental variables, that could affect its performance? Has it previously been
evaluated under those variables?
• If using a consumer sleep technology:
o Does it offer ease of use for the user?
o Are there safeguards to ensure privacy of user data?
o Can access to raw signals/data be acquired if needed for analysis?
o Will software updates negatively impact ongoing research as well as the future
replication and dissemination of the results?

Preliminary data are required for this program, which should serve to support the rationale,
hypothesis and experimental feasibility of the study.


Overhead is not eligible


Pre-application deadlines

RSO internal deadline

July 6, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Pre-application program deadline

July 11, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Application deadlines

RSO final internal review deadline

December 7, 2023 - 12:00 PM

Program application deadline

December 12, 2023 - 12:00 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

LOI Stage:

  1. Complete LOI application on the Weston Foundation Online application portal. A sample LOI application can be found here.
  2. Upload a copy of your final and complete LOI application to the RMS Application record, and submit for academic approvals.  Please ensure that you allow enough time for academic approvals prior to the Research Services (RSO) final internal deadline of NOON, July 6, 2023.
  3. RMS will notify you that institutional approval has been provided and will provide any institutional signatures if required. You may now submit on or before July 11, 2023 at 12:00PM Mountain time.

For Full Application:

Full proposal application is by invitation only. All application documents must be uploaded onto RMS and approvals received by noon on December 7, 2023.

Contact Details


Weston Family Foundation
Brain Health: Sleep 2023 Program
neurodegenerative diseases