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COVID-19 Data Curation Funding Call (now closed)

The COVID-19 Data Curation Funding Call aims to support the curation of Canadian research data related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary objective of this funding is to bring COVID-19-related data into timely compliance with the FAIR Guiding Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) for the management of research data, algorithms, tools and workflows. As a secondary objective, this initiative aims to build capacity for research data management (RDM) in Canada by supporting the training of highly qualified personnel (HQP) in data stewardship and curation. 

This initiative will contribute up to CAD $336,000 toward the employment of HQP by eligible applicants for data stewardship and curation activities taking place between the date of the award and March 31, 2022. The maximum funding available per project is CAD $42,000. This funding may only be used for the contracting of HQP for the stewardship or curation of data from research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of funding awarded to each recipient will be based on the scope and defined needs of each project as demonstrated through the application process. 

Additionally, funding recipients will receive support from the Alliance RDM team (formerly Portage) in the form of an initial consultation with the Data Curation Team and with the possibility of group or individual training activities during the project, as determined by the needs of recipients and in consultation with the Alliance RDM team. 


Context and RDM guidance 

The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to the need for accurate and rapidly available research data to respond to public health emergencies. As part of the global response to public health emergencies, many organizations and publishers have committed to making data free and openly accessible. Among these are the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Science Publishing, Fonds de recherche du Québec, Genome Canada, Génome Québec and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). 

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with the publication of its  Recommendations and Guidelines on Data Sharing. Portage’s COVID-19 Working Group (now concluded) produced RDM guidance to support Canadian researchers in managing and sharing data related to the COVID-19 pandemic: 

This guidance may be used by applicants in scoping the work for which they request funding. 


Eligibility and application process 

Applications are welcome from Canadian researchers and research programs eligible to administer funding received through the Alliance. Where applicable, research must be compliant with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018)

This call is not open to federal government institutions, such as federal departments, agencies, Crown corporations and their research facilities. 

This funding may be used for the stewardship and curation of research data related to the COVID-19 pandemic from any discipline. 

Any activities undertaken for the stewardship and curation of data throughout the data lifecycle by HQP may be included in the scope of activities for which funding is requested through this call. Generally, any activities covered in Portage’s COVID-19 RDM Guidance will be eligible. This includes activities such as data management planning, curation, de-identification and deposit in a recommended repository. 

Applicants will be asked to submit an overview of the research project, describe the proposed activities for which funding is being sought and submit a preliminary budget in their completed application. Where applicable, applications must be submitted by the principal investigator or project director. For projects involving human participant data, including secondary use of human participant data, applications should indicate whether ethics approval or exemption is being sought or has been obtained. 

Applications will be screened for eligibility by the Alliance RDM team. A selection committee of experts will then evaluate the applications using the scoring criteria outlined below to assign a score which will be used in making selection decisions. 

The confidentiality of applicants will be maintained throughout the selection process. Members of the selection committee will be required to declare any conflicts of interest that may exist between themselves and applicants and will be recused from the selection process as necessary. Successful applicants will be notified, and individual feedback will be available to all applicants on request. 

Applications should be prepared using the form linked here. Please download and save a copy of the form, complete all required fields and submit the completed form via email to

Applications will be accepted until May 28, 2021. 

Successful applicants will be notified by June 25, 2021. 

Awards are subject to confirmation of federal government funding. 


Scoring criteria 

The selection committee will use the following criteria to assess applications and assign a score which will serve as the basis for selection decisions. 

  • Evidence of the significance of the research to its domain(s). 
  • Feasibility of the proposed activities, including clarity of scope, technical feasibility and budget. 
  • Evidence that the work undertaken with this funding will support and grow RDM expertise among the HQP engaged in the project. 
  • Demonstrated need for funding from this call to achieve the proposed activities and/or need for RDM support from the Alliance RDM team. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the research team and research environment, including team composition and recruitment processes, training and development opportunities, and value and respect for all individuals.