PLEASE NOTE: Because of the way the application system works, even those who are applying for the SEED STREAM will be required to upload a ‘support’ letter, even though you don’t need a support letter. We apologize for this technical glitch. Please type up a one line Word or PDF document that says “I am applying for the Seed Stream” and attach that document as your ‘support’ letter during the application process. Thanks, and again, we apologize for this technical glitch in the application system.

Q: Your website indicates that I need ethics approval before I can receive my funds, but I can’t design the research portion of my project until the pilot phase is over. Will you release some money initially for development, with the rest held until I can secure full approval?

A: Pre-approval funds release requires approval from the Office of Research Ethics. Please consult the ORE for guidance on the process for applying for a pre-approval release of funds. If you have applied for pre-release, you must indicate this in your application; please specify the amount requested for initial release and provide a timeline for future approval.

Q: Does ethics approval have to be granted before I apply for ITIF funding?

A: No, you may apply at any time; funds will only be released upon receipt of a copy of the letter of approval, however. Please bear in mind that delegated/expedited review (the most common review for projects submitted to the ITIF, but by no means the only one) takes 4-5 weeks from the time of submission to the REB.

Q: What kind of projects require ethics approval?

A: As a general principle, if you are collecting any kind of data about humans, and especially if you plan on presenting or writing about a research component of your project, ethics approval may be required. We strongly urge you to consult with your divisional research services office to make this determination, prior to submitting your ITIF proposal.

Q: In the evaluation rubric, the highest mark for student involvement is described in this way: “The proposal clearly articulates active roles for students in the project, and envisions using a majority of funds for this purpose.” Do you mean here that a majority of the funds is used to pay students to work on the project? Or do you mean that a majority of funds is used to enhance students’ experience in some way?

A: The intent of that criterion was to provide students with employment/mentorship/experience/training opportunities. Keep in mind that this is only one of the criteria, so certainly projects that don’t employ students will be duly considered. However, I think the committee would like to see that students are hired to work on projects over contracting out the work to third-party companies, if appropriate student labour was available.

Q: Is inter-institutional collaboration (i.e. with someone from outside UofT) something that is viewed as a good thing in the context of ITIF, or is the ITIF is intended to be restricted to activities within U of T?

A: Inter-institutional collaboration would be viewed as a positive thing, but the main focus of the project should be on UofT teaching activities, and collaborations between UofT departments is particularly valuable. The source of matching funds does not have to be restricted to UofT however.

Q: In the details page you have the following: “A strong evaluative component is expected in each project and the outcomes should be of publishable quality.” Can you clarify what precisely you mean by this? Is it expected that we will write an evaluation of the project which would, e.g., be publishable in a pedagogical journal? Or by contrast, is it expected that the student-faculty interactions fostered by the project will themselves result in works of publishable in our own fields?

A: The answer to the evaluative component question is either/both. Essentially, the committee will be looking for evidence in the proposal that the person/team intends to write about their project, either an evaluation of the project itself, or the results of a study that emerge from the project. Even though we would like people to see this as more than just a development project, please keep in mind that this is an innovation grant, not a research grant, so the focus should be on the project, but having an evaluative component to the proposal will enhance its chances of success. (Reminder, if you intend to ‘study’ the project, we strongly recommend consulting with Research Services regarding ethical approvals!)

Q: The guidelines say that basic computing equipment is not normally funded through the ITIF. That makes it sound like the focus is on software, not hardware. We have a number of projects in mind whose primary expense is hardware.

A: Generally speaking, there is a reluctance to give money for basic hardware or basic software (like a PC running productivity software). However, where the hardware is more unique to the nature of the project, it could easily be considered for funding. Ultimately, the adjudication committee will evaluate each project individually, so if you are uncertain as to whether or not a request would be eligible, please err on side of chance and submit a proposal – we are much more interested in encouraging innovative ideas than turning people away. And yes, we have given money for such specialized hardware in the past.