Through the Venture Grant Program the TRF supports innovative projects across British Columbia that have the potential to significantly impact organ transplantation. The intent of the Venture Grant competition is to fund new areas of research (e.g., new hypotheses, techniques, or ideas) that are in a pilot/feasibility stage, and which will lead to external peer reviewed funding to support the next stages of research.
Funds may be used to pay for direct costs of research, such as student stipends, lab consumables and minor equipment. Overhead or indirect costs are not eligible for TRF funds. Successful applicants are required to submit annual reports for the duration of the funding. Financial support by the TRF should be acknowledged in resulting publications.
The maximum annual amount that will be awarded as a Venture Grant is $25,000, renewable on application for extension for up to a total of two years. Grants are awarded once per year.
Grants shall be assessed on the scientific quality of the research proposal, the probability that it will lead to peer-reviewed scientific publications, the appropriateness of the proposed budget and the academic standing and research capability of the applicant. Applications shall be forwarded to three reviewers external to the Board of the Foundation. Final decisions on awards will be by majority vote of the Board of the Foundation.
TRF measures the success of the Venture Grant Program in three ways:
1. Number of Applications
This measure indicates the need and enthusiasm for the Venture Grant Program in our target group (the research community in BC). Typically, TRF receives 8 – 10 applications/research proposals each year.
2. Knowledge Created
The Peer Review element of the Venture Grant Program is designed to ensure that the projects selected for funding will by their nature and design contribute to scientific knowledge in the field. Sometimes the outcome of the project may not as anticipated, but these still contribute to our body of knowledge from which to form new hypotheses.
3. Other Outcomes
Most of our Venture Grant projects do result in the primary research questions moving forward. In these cases, projects are then able to attract traditional sources of funding and some of the Venture Grant projects have lead to patents and commercially viable enterprises. For example, TRF was an early funder of the PROOF (Prevention of Organ Failure) Biomarkers Study to develop a method for detecting organ rejection through a simple blood test as an alternative to traditional organ biopsies. The Proof Centre of Excellence is now a world class research centre working to produce a new generation of patient-specific biomarker-based blood tests to better guide care for heart, lung and kidney patients.