Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

2022/2023 Inlight Strategic Research Grant Program

Program Statement: Inlight has launched a Strategic Research Grant call to support student mental health and wellness research that aims to advance understanding and impact of the intersectionality of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Indigeneity (EDIAI) on student mental health and wellbeing at the University of Toronto. 

  • Inlight Strategic Research Grant applications are expected to address the 2022-2023 competitions priority theme by centring EDIAI in mental health and wellness through high-quality, impactful research which will directly or indirectly impact University of Toronto students. 
  • EDIAI encompasses all equity groups including but not limited to racialized persons/persons of colour, women, Indigenous Peoples of North America, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2Si+ persons. 
  • Student mental health is inclusive of mental wellness, mental illness and substance use. It encompasses the full length of a student’s journey — from transitions into postsecondary education to graduation to the transition out of postsecondary education — and the full range of student mental health experiences— from community and individual well-being to clinical intervention, inside the classroom and out. 
  • Application teams must include a tenure/tenure stream University of Toronto faculty member and a knowledge user in student mental health and need to have at least at least two UofT divisions represented on the research team. We encourage tri-campus representation on research teams. 
  • Applications must integrate Inlight’s guiding principles into the research project planning, engagement, design and implementation. 

        Inlight Strategic Research Grant Program - Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Indigeneity (EDIAI)

        Inlight Strategic Research Grant applications are due Wednesday March 29, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST.

        Open call for applications Thursday, March 9
        Deadline for grant applications Wednesday, March 29

        Anticipated Notice of Decision

        Friday, April 21
        Funding Start Date Tuesday, April 25



        The nominated principal applicant must be tenured/tenure stream faculty  eligible to hold research funding at the University of Toronto (U of T).

        All grant applications must have a co-principal applicant who is an identified knowledge user. Inlight knowledge users can include, but are not limited: to students, administrators, staff, and clinicians. 


        Team composition should include co-applicants and collaborators from diverse partner communities and include at least two UofT divisions and tri-campus (Scarborough, Mississauga and St. George) representation is strongly encouraged; co-applicants and collaborators can be knowledge users. 

        Submission Process

        Research Grant Application Deadline: Wednesday March 29, 11:59 EST  

        Applications can be submitted via online form, where applicants can upload their grant application template and CV for the nominated principal applicant.   

        Applicants will need to provide the following information in the grant application template:  

        1. Project title  
        2. Project rationale, goals and objectives (max 350 words)  
        3. Project impact and alignment with advancing EDIA and Inlight strategic priorities and guiding principles (max 350 words)  
        4. Research design and methods (max 750 words)  
        5. Team; including names, project role and project activities (max 350 words)  
        6. Student engagement considerations and activities (max 350 words)  
        7. Project milestones and timeline (max 350 words)  
        8. Project budget (350 words)  

        Only the nominated principal applicant will need to provide a recent CV, applicants are welcome to include multiple figures in appendix (optional, maximum 2 pages); please note that adjudicators are not required to review the appendix.  

         All applicants will be automatically enrolled into the Inlight Network and will receive communication on future Inlight opportunities and knowledge events.  

        Budget and Eligible Expenses  
        • Salary for postdoctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, undergraduate project student assistant(s) or research staff  
        • Student engagement stipends or honorariums for time spent support research project activities  
        • Reimbursement for purchasing of data, software, travel related to the execution of this research, or other research expenses explained clearly in the application  
        • Light refreshments for meetings, speaker honoraria, etc. for working groups or research convenings  
        • Funds cannot be used for equipment or administrative salaries  
        • Eligible expenses must align with U of T’s Guide to Financial Management and guidelines on reimbursable expenses.  
        Self Identification Survey 

        After teams submit their full grant application a self identification online survey will be sent for the principal applicant and co-applicants to complete. The survey data will only be used internally to ensure we are proactively seeking to increase diversity and representation from racialized persons/persons of colour, women, Indigenous Peoples of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2Si+ persons, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas. 



        An Inlight grant selection committee has been formed to review, evaluate and select grant applications for funding. The selection committee represents the diversity of the University of Toronto community with faculty, staff and student representation as well as cross division and tri-campus involvement.

        Selection Criteria for grant applications:

        1. Strategic alignment and impact on EDIAI and postsecondary student mental health
        2. Partnership and engagement
        3. Research design and feasibility (scope, timeline activities and budget)

        Full selection criteria rubric is available for review, and we strongly recommend all applicants review before submitting their application.

        All members of the grant advisory and selection committee will declare any conflict of interest and remove themselves from grant application review if a conflict exists. Inlight follows the CIHR guidelines of conflict of interest: “a conflict of interest means a conflict between a participant’s (e.g., reviewers and observers) duties and responsibilities with regard to the review process, and a participant’s private, professional, business or public interests.”

        Decisions on grant applications will be shared with all applicants in April 2023.


        All teams receiving Inlight grants are required to fulfill the following obligations:

        • The research project must be presented at the annual Inlight symposium (oral presentation, tabletop or poster).
        • A final summary and impact report must be submitted two months after the end of the funding period (June 31, 2024), this should include report on complete goals objectives, activities, impact of work, testimonials from team members and knowledge user, and media (if applicable).
        • Responding within four weeks to requests for updates on project progress (no more than a quarterly basis) during the year of funding.
        • Principal applicants may be asked to be grant and/or fellowship reviewers for Inlight funding opportunities in subsequent years.
        Frequently Asked Questions

        May I submit multiple proposals? 

        Individuals can only submit one application where they are identified as the principal applicant; Individuals are welcome to be co-applicants or collaborators on multiple applications. 

        May I be an applicant on a research grant application as an outside (non-UofT) researcher, so long as a UofT faculty member is the principal applicant? 

        Yes, we welcome inclusion, partnerships and collaboration with partner institutions. However, we are not able to award funds directly to partner institutions. 

        Can the project have more than one principal applicant?

        Yes, we highly encourage applicants to form diverse and collaborative teams including in project leadership roles but at least one principal applicant has to be a University of Toronto faculty eligible to hold research funding. 

        Are students eligible to apply for Inlight research grants? 

        Students and post-doctoral scholars are not eligible to apply for Inlight Research grants as principal applicants. However, students and post-doctoral fellows, where permitted by their division/program, are permitted to be co-applicants and knowledge users. We also encourage doctoral candidates leading existing student mental health research to investigate Inlight Fellowship opportunities .

        How many members are expected to form a team? 

        There is no number that is set but representation is expected to reflect the needed expertise and partners the research study is investigating. 

        Do principal applicants and co-applicants need to have training and experience in student mental health research? 

        It is not a requirement to have experience and training in student mental health research, we do encourage teams to highlight their experience in mental health and related fields if they do not have previous experience in student mental health. We do strongly encourage teams have co-applicants/knowledge users with student mental health expertise and/or experience.

        Will it be more competitive to submit one research initiative with multiple projects, or just one project?

        You should write the proposal that best aligns with Inlight research priorities, meets selection criteria and can be completed with $30,000 in funding. 

        Can I have existing funding related to the project application? 

        Yes other funding can be held, but the applicants must describe how the existing funding is not duplicative funding for the same activity being included in the Inlight application.   

        Are there eligible and ineligible expenses? 

        Yes, please refer to the list of eligible expenses to support project and budget planning in your application as well as guidelines on reimbursable expenses described in the UofToronto Guide to Financial Management. 

        What does it mean to be part of the Inlight network? 

        Joining the Inlight network provides the opportunity to connect with other researchers, students, providers and others involved in student mental health research as well as be invited to future Inlight research funding opportunities and knowledge events. 

        Should applications incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) practices and approaches in their applications? 

        Yes, given this Inlight Grant Call is specific to EDIA, every application must include attention to EDIAI in team composition and project design and practices.   

        Is there an age range that Inlight supports in their research teams and participants? 

        We will consider any age ranges that connect with undergraduate and graduate postsecondary student mental health. In cases where general samples/populations are being used for the study (i.e. secondary data analysis), postsecondary students must be the clearly identified and represent the focus of the research.

        Does the proposed project need to develop an innovation, intervention or technology? 

        Projects do not need to develop or link to an existing innovation, intervention or technology. 

        How is Inlight supporting Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility? 

        Inlight strives to be an equitable and inclusive community, and proactively seeks to increase diversity and representation among its membership and we encourage applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Indigenous Peoples of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. 

        How does Inlight approach sex and gender differences in mental health research? 

        Sex and gender differences exist in the research areas above, making sex and/or gender issues an important component of this research initiative. Applicants should consider sex as a biological variable and gender as a socio-cultural factor in their research. 

        Inclusion of EDIA Statement 

        Inlight strives to be an equitable and inclusive community. We proactively seek to increase diversity and representation among its membership and strongly encourage applications from racialized persons/persons of colour, women, Indigenous Peoples of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2Si+ persons, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas. 

        To learn more about research at the University of Toronto, including policies related to Principal Investigator eligibility and holding research funds, please visit the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) website.