Catalyst Funding

Institute awards for members proposing projects and research

Special Catalyst competition: Socially Vulnerable Populations

The Institute received a grant in 2017, to partially fund the Research Program for Vulnerable Populations. The goal of the Program is to enable researchers and trainees, in partnership with respected community agencies, to develop and test innovative approaches to lessen social vulnerability, improve coordination of care, and enhance health overall for socially vulnerable populations.

The funds will be used to:

  • support trainees across multiple disciplines (medicine, social work, nursing, sociology, anthropology, law and policy, etc);
  • initiate team-based pilot research activities and/or demonstration projects that will inform larger-scale projects and leverage additional external research funding; and
  • build and sustain necessary and appropriate cross-sectoral collaborations with community agencies and programs.

A portion of the grant (up to $75,000 per year for 3 years) will be used to fund new research and research translation Catalyst awards, in alignment with the criteria outlined above. To request this special Catalyst funding, please complete and submit the dedicated Catalyst Request Template found HERE, along with a short-form CV for the project lead, to . The competition deadline for 2019 is October 17. 


Toward building the Program, and as part of the considerable reporting requirements to secure the award, Institute staff will be helping to track various metrics from the Catalyst-funded projects. Please see HERE for an example of the reporting template that will be completed annually by successful Catalyst applicants.

Progress reports (outcome and financial) will be required annually by April 30th. Final reporting will be due May 30th in the year following the program end date.

Download Reporting Template

Catalyst applications from research teams previously awarded Vulnerable Population Catalyst funding will be considered if:

  • the project is significantly different from the project previously funded, or
  • the previously funded project is expanding, thus requiring an increased amount of Catalyst funding, and the project team:
    • explains the status of previous award expenditures and justifies an incremental need;
    • demonstrates completion of a reasonable portion of the originally proposed deliverables; and
    • confirms that attempts were and will be made to secure competitive, external research funding for the project.

(To provide this required ancillary information, the team’s 2018 Report can be updated, and coordinated/submitted with the new Catalyst application describing the expanded project.)

Field-specific Catalyst opportunity:

Dr. Derrick Thompson Fund in Preventative Medicine and Environmental Health

The fund was created through a generous donation from the Calgary Foundation. Funds were raised by Derrick’s family and former colleagues who wish to celebrate his unique contributions and make a tangible contribution to the lives of Albertans.

Derrick was a teacher, innovator, and a caring physician who touched the lives of many in Calgary’s medical and business communities. He was an early promoter of preventive medicine and his passion inspired many of his patients to make life-changing health decisions. He also pioneered changes to the way that many corporations address employee health when he formed Foothills Health Consultants in 1978, resulting in a broad and lasting effect on the health of many Albertans.

Outside of medicine Derrick drew inspiration from the landscapes of southern Alberta. He believed that maintaining the health of these landscapes and the ecological services they provide were integral to human health. Later in his life he became active in conservation efforts to this end.

Derrick’s family and colleagues feel that the best home for the Fund is with the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary. The Institute’s interdisciplinary approach aligns with Derrick’s own approach throughout his medical career. And, its emphasis on public health supports his passion for health promotion and prevention. In addition, Derrick taught at the UofC Medical School for much of his career.

The fund will remain open to contributions from other sources.

Purpose of fund:

Derrick was a mentor to and strong supporter of many of the people around him during his career. He was also, however, an innovator and pushed new ideas in health prevention and promotion. To this end, the purpose of the fund will be:

  • to provide stipend support to graduate and/or post-doctoral trainees pursuing research in health promotion/prevention or environmental health under the supervision of Institute members.
  • to support catalyst grants for research initiatives in the fields of health promotion/prevention or environmental health.

Use of funds:

Funds available will be at the discretion of the Institute Scientific Director, to a maximum of $10,000 per year.  

Allowable expenditures include the following:

  • salary support –support for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, trainees and, if appropriate, faculty salary support to expand capacity in health promotion/prevention or environmental health.
  • research – support for research projects related to health promotion/prevention or environmental health. This includes consumables, travel, equipment and other relevant costs
  • capital, equipment, administrative costs
  • other reasonable expenses as approved by the Advisory Committee


You can apply (at any time) to the O'Brien Institute for catalyst funding (see above) and mention that your request fulfill the criteria for the Dr. Derrick Thompson Fund in Preventative Medicine and Environmental Health.