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Q: Can non-physicians co-lead an application to the Rural Physician Grant Program?

A: Applications must be submitted by a rural physician principal investigator, however, the project may have non-physician co-investigators.

Q: I am an urban practicing physician interested in pursuing a rural health topic, can I apply to the Rural Physician Grant Program?

A: No, to be eligible to apply, a physician must be primarily practicing rural medicine. 

Q: Do you need to be a physician affiliated with the Health Authority to apply to the Rural Physician Grant Program?

A: No, you do not need to affiliated with a Health Authority to apply to the Rural Physician Grant Program. 

Q: I am new to research and ethics applications, do you have any supports that can help me with my project?

A: Yes, please connect with us and we can discuss support options.  

Q: Can I submit a quality initiative project to the Rural Physician Research Grant program?

A: No, quality improvement projects are not eligible for a Rural Physician Research Grant. To be eligible, projects must be situated within the broader research literature, have clear research questions and have a research design and methodology. There should also be an intention to publish the results. It often is possible to take a quality improvement project and turn it into a research project by refocusing the question of interest. Please contact our Research team if you have an idea and need some support.  

Q: What is the difference between a quality improvement project and a research project?

A: Assessing whether a project is quality improvement, evaluation or research can be challenging. This definition can be helpful: “Quality improvement or program evaluation activities are understood to be those things relating to the assessment, management, or improvement of a local program or process within an institution or unit. On the other hand, research projects are designed to produce generalizable knowledge about particular questions, processes, interventions, etc. [quality improvement and evaluation] projects may be conducted at the discretion of the institution or unit; however, research projects are required to undergo Research Ethics Board review.” 

Q: Where can I find funding for a quality improvement project?

The Health Authorities in British Columbia have Departments dedicated to Quality Improvement and may offer programs and funding for QI projects. Further, the Physician Quality Improvement initiative, local Divisions of Family Practice, Medical Staff Associations, the Joint Collaborative Committees, or Healthcare Foundations may have resources to support a quality improvement project.  

Q: Do you have examples of previous successful grants?

A: Yes, please see the Rural Physician Research Grant webpage for examples of successful projects and some of their outputs and impacts 

Q: Do you require letters of support?

A: Yes, the following letters of support are required in your application. Please contact a member of our team if you have questions about who would be most appropriate to ask for letters of support for your particular project. 

  • Letter of support from your Hospital Chief of Staff or Health Authority Medical Director – this letter has two primary purposes: 
  • A letter from the Chief of Staff or Medical Director stating they see the value of this research for health and health care in rural BC indicates there is support for the research at a broader rural health system level 
  • If the research is being conducted in a health authority facility it confirms the relevant health authority leadership is aware and supports the research.  
  • Reference letter from a clinician in a rural (RSA) community – this letter should confirm your commitment and connection to rural practice and indicate the reference sees the relevancy and value of the project for health care and patients in rural BC. 
  • If conducting research with First Nations communities or populations, you must also provide letter(s) of support from Band Council(s) of the participating communities and also any participating/impacted Indigenous organization(s) as needed for the particular project 

Q: Do I need to get ethics approval for my research study?

A: By the inherent nature of research, you will likely require research ethics board (REB) approval through either your health authority REB, university REB or through Research Ethics BC.  Research Ethics BC currently works with 24 institutional research ethics boards (REBs) across BC in working toward province-wide harmonized research ethics review processes. 
Researchers within the Research Ethics BC network can submit their “harmonized” or multi-jurisdictional research ethics application through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP)If you are affiliated with a Health Authority and your research only involves one Health Authority, you will submit your application there. In the rare circumstance of a research ethics board stating that an ethics certificate is not necessary you may submit the waiver to us.   

Q: When do I need to get operational approval from my health authority and what would be the steps?

Generally, institutional approval is required for any research that proposes to use resources, data, programs and/or services of the health authority, or its patients, clients, residents or staff. 

You must obtain institutional approval before you start your research project. Approval is required from the departments and/or managers where you will be:  

  • Utilizing health authority property, resources and/or facilities (including research conducted in clinics, use of radiation, pharmacy, laboratory and pathology services, and use of health records) 
  • Involving patients and staff  

The approval process and forms vary across the health authorities. The RCCbc research associate in your region can be contacted to help navigate the process.   

Q: How competitive is this research grant competition?

A: Not all applications are successful and receive funding. The applications must meet a fundable threshold. Most frequently, projects that did not include a defined research question, were insufficiently developed, or that were strictly a quality improvement project were not funded. The Grant Review Committee decides on fundable applications using a consensus process.   

Q: What are eligible and ineligible expenses?

A:  Examples of expenses could include, for example, patient honoraria, physician compensation, transcription, data analysis, research coordination, research related supplies/equipment etc. For compensation-related expenses, please indicate the estimated hours and rate (note: the JCC-set physician sessional rate is $158.97/hr) 

Note that successful RPRG grantees are eligible to apply for separate funding to cover a portion of open access journal fees when publishing an article stemming from RPRG-funded research – therefore, open access fees should not be included in the grant budget. 

Q: What hiring mechanisms exist to hire research staff/assistants?

A: It is the responsibility of the researcher to hire research staff and assistants. If you are interested in connecting with a medical student to work with you on your project, please contact us and we may be able to assist. 

Q: Can I hire a medical student or resident to help with the project?

A:  There are certain parameters with regards to hiring medical students/residents. If they are participating in the project as part of their scholarly academic work for course completion, then they cannot be paid through this grant. If it is outside their academic course requirements then they may be paid for their role.   

Q: Who administers the funds for the grant?

A:   If you are awarded a grant, you will be asked to identify where you would like the grant funds to be sent. Common options selected by grantees include holding the funds at a university, at their Division of Family Practice or they may choose to administer the grant funds themselves or through their medical corporation. If the grant funds are sent to the physician, please note that a T4A will be sent. 

Q: Do you have a mechanism of feedback on submitted applications?

A: Yes, after the grant committee reviews the applications we provide a letter of notice and committee feedback is summarized.  

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