Can-GARD: Advanced Therapies for Rare Diseases
2020 Spring Accelerator Grant Competition – Letter of Intent Application and Guidelines

Rare diseases affect 1 in 12 Canadians—a significant but underserved number, with untold costs to families, society, and the health-care system. The rarity of these diseases means that diagnosis is an odyssey of genetic and other testing that leads to a definitive diagnosis for fewer than 50 per cent of patients, while treatments remain scarce.  Hope for patients lies in the defining moments of clinical care: diagnosis and treatment. Our patients inspire us to push harder for the research discoveries that will improve their lives. One of the biggest challenges medical researchers face, particularly in underfunded areas like rare disease research, is securing the grant funding to get a novel idea off the ground. Seed funding gives life to the most innovative, high-risk ideas that are hard to fund through grants or other sources.

Can-GARD is led by Drs. Monica Justice, Head of the SickKids Genetics and Genome Biology (GGB) Program, James Dowling, Physician in the Department of Neurology and Senior Scientist in GGB, and Roberto Mendoza-Londono, Chief of the Clinical and Metabolic Genetics Division at SickKids. Can- GARD has two core beliefs: that every individual with a rare disease deserves (i) an accurate genetic diagnosis and (ii) appropriate treatment. These ambitious goals will be realized nationally across the pillars of research, education, and training.

Can-GARD aims to fund proposals that would eliminate barriers in the diagnostic or treatment journey for rare disease patients.  It is anticipated that approximately 3 grants will be awarded in this competition. Any topic: Basic research, clinical application, population studies, and machine learning approaches will be considered. Can-GARD has partnered with The Rare Disease Models and Mechanisms (RDMM) Network who will match one grant which will be made to an RDMM investigator, aiming to take their research on rare disease diagnosis or treatment to the nextlevel.

The deadline to submit the Letter of Intent (LOI) application (Letter of Intent (LOI) Summary Information Form and CIHR Academic CV) to is November 30, 2019 (11:59 PM, EST).

A confirmation email will be sent within 48 hours of receiving the submitted LOI application.

If a confirmation email is NOT received from Can-GARD within 48 hours of submission it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact and ensure that the application has been received.

Application Submission

All pages must be 8 ½” x 11”; single spaced; all text must be 12 point non-condensed Times New Roman font.
Failure to comply with these requirements will negatively impact the evaluation/rating of the submission and can lead to their withdrawal from the competition.

What to Include in the LOI application:

The LOI application is to be merged into one final PDF document and include:

  1.  Letter of Intent (LOI) Summary Information Form, and
  2. CIHR Academic CV

The merged PDF document should be emailed to

UPDATE: If you are experiencing difficulties merging the document, two separate PDF files will also be acceptable