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Co-Design VP Hub

Co-Design Hub Innovation Grant

Are you supervised by a McMaster Faculty Member and engaged in partnership with a health and/or social service organization? Does your project address a community identified health and/or social issue? Apply for the McMaster Co-Design Hub Innovation Grant!

Call for Proposals: Co-Design in Health and Social Services


The McMaster Co-Design Hub for Vulnerable Populations was established in 2019 with the goal of promoting engagement, education and innovation in co-design for individuals and communities who experience significant health and healthcare disparities that are linked to a range of intersecting vulnerabilities (e.g., poverty, language barriers, disability, minority status, stigmatized conditions). Co-design presents an opportunity for meaningful collaboration with service users and supporters at all stages of the research process, leading to development of creative solutions for improving health and social services. See website for details about the hub:

Innovation Grant Objectives:

  1. To promote innovation in co-design for health and social service improvement, with a particular focus on communities who experience inequities and structural vulnerabilities.
  2. To build capacity for high quality co-design research in the McMaster community
  3. To facilitate systematic evaluation of co-design initiatives

Value: $5,000 for a one-year project (up to 4 grants will be awarded)

This work can be done as part of or outside of coursework or thesis work (with a faculty supervisor) however can not be used for tuition or to pay the student for their time.


Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at McMaster University who are supervised by a McMaster Faculty member and engaged in partnership with a health and/or social service organization. Preference will be given to projects who include service users as co-applicants. The project must be focused on addressing a community identified health and/or social issue. Projects must be conducted between February 2021 and August 2022.

Successful grant recipients will be invited to participate in the Hub education, networking and evaluation initiatives. Research conducted with community participants may also require ethics approval.


Applications Due: Thursday April 1st, 2021 before 5 p.m.

Decisions will be made by: Friday May 14th, 2021

How to Apply:

Proposals must include a completed innovation grant application form, attached here: Co-Design Hub Innovation Grant Application Form. This form requires a letter of support from the applicant’s supervisor. In addition, a signature is required from all co-applicants. Application packages must be submitted directly to: on or before Nov 12th at 5 pm. Budget justification and supporting references should be included on separate pages.

Successful recipients of the funding will have an opportunity to engage in:

  1. An online community of practice with other co-design projects and teams
  2. Capacity building educational workshops to strengthen co-design skills
  3. Realist evaluation of the co-design process
  4. Presentation of study findings via knowledge translation activities within the Co-design hub (eg. speaker series, virtual conference)


Peer-review by an interdisciplinary committee of current McMaster faculty who have experience with co-design and community engaged research. Proposals will be evaluated based on the opportunity for systems change, strength of co-design methodology, strength of the research team and community partners, and significance of the health or social service system issue being addressed.

Deliverables and Reporting:

Research teams will be required to provide a final project report detailing the process, outcomes, and impact of the project. Researchers are also asked to include details on any barriers or challenges that were faced during the execution of the project. They may also be asked to engage in evaluation initiatives within the hub, including post-project interviews.

Eligible/Ineligible Expenses:

Eligible Expenses: This grant consists of a one-time transfer of funds and is not to support ongoing expenses. Eligible expenses include teaching or research assistants, guest speakers, and honoraria for community partners. When using project funds to hire personnel, McMaster University will be the employer. Project Supervisors must therefore pay appropriate wages and benefits at established rates. When hiring students as research assistants, consider securing supplementary funding through, for example, the McMaster Work Programs (Ontario Work Study Program, McWork, or International Student Work).  

Ineligible Expenses: These include, but are not limited to, reimbursement to faculty members, professional memberships, off-campus commercial services, travel, accommodation and food expenses for conferences, and the purchase of alcohol for focus groups or similar meetings. 

Any questions about the seed grant and application process can be directed to: