W. Garfield Weston - Brain Health: Lifestyle Approaches and Microbiome Contributions Program


 W. Garfield Weston Foundation

For More Information

Brain Health: 2021 – Lifestyle Approaches and Microbiome Contributions


The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, through its Weston Brain Institute and Weston Family Microbiome Initiative, has announced the launch of a new program in a new area of funding. As details emerge of the neurological effects of COVID-19, preventing and maintaining brain health becomes even more critical for the long-term well-being of Canadians. This $7M pilot initiative is designed to support research examining the impact of lifestyle and the microbiome on the maintenance of optimal brain health and, in particular, the prevention or delay of neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Project Eligiblity 

Eligible projects can be Research Questions or Implementation Initiatives.

  • Research Questions: Hypothesis-based questions that help accelerate the development of lifestyle approaches or microbiome contributions to brain health.
  • Implementation Initiatives: Approaches to address operational questions and/or put findings into practice.

Projects must include one or more brain-related outcome measures (e.g., fluid-based biomarker, neuroimaging outcome measure, well-established clinical/cognitive measures) as a readout. Projects should show how the Research Question or Implementation Initiative will impact brain health of Canadians.

Preliminary data are not required for this program. However, compelling scientific rationale is required (e.g., from the literature or preliminary data).


Principal Applicants must be a researcher working in Canada at least 30% of the time and hold a position at or above the level of Assistant Professor or equivalent. Co-applicants and Collaborators must be at the post-doctoral level or above and can be working outside Canada.

Applicants may appear in any role on any number of projects.

Funding Availability

Up to $1.5 million per project over up to 3 years.

Maximum Project Value

Funds available per project:
  • Up to $1,500,000 per project over up to 36 months, as determined by the Foundation
  • For projects testing a lifestyle approach, an additional $100,000/ project may be available to enable collection and analysis of microbiome samples.
  • Funds will be granted only for direct costs that are appropriate and justifiable for the work proposed.
  • Funds cannot be used for equipment or computer purchases unless prior written approval from the Foundation has been obtained.
  • Funds cannot be used for administrative or indirect costs or for salaries for people who already receive salaries from their institutions.
  • Travel expenses to scientific conferences/meetings to present work and publication costs associated with the awarded projected can be included in the budget.
  • Each item and its cost must be clearly described in the budget (at the Proposal stage only).
  • The amount granted may not be for the full amount requested if the review committee only recommends part of the grant for funding.
  • Up to 35% of the funds can be used for unique international resources (e.g., in-licensing IP,supporting a co-applicant or collaborator).

Indirect Costs


Special Notes


The Foundation will hold two program information webinars to provide further details on the program and answer any questions. If you have questions specific to your project (e.g., project scope), you are encouraged to contact the sponsor directly.

Webinar #1

September 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET – Register for Webinar #1 

Webinar #2

October 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET – Register for Webinar #2 


Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Letter of Intent deadline. Applicant to submit the Letter of Intent online through the Foundation’s grant management system. 

If invited to full proposal, please contact Kristin Gibson in the Office of Research Services (kristin5@uoguelph.ca)

Internal Deadline

If invited to full proposal, please submit a copy of your proposal and OR5 to research.services@uoguelph.ca, for administrative review.

External Deadline

Full Proposal Deadline.

How to Apply

The application process consists of two stages:

  • Letters of Intent (LOIs)
  • Proposals

To apply, applicants must submit an LOI to the Foundation. Selected applicants will then be invited to submit a Proposal. Each LOI and Proposal is peer-reviewed by a scientific review committee.

Program Documents:

For Questions, please contact

W. Garfield Weston Foundation

If you have questions, please email brainhealth@westonfoundation.ca.

Office of Research

Kristin Zimmermann, Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x56257

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