Brief Proposal Submission Guidance for the Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity and Wellbeing Call for Proposals

The first stage of the Indigenous-Led Solutions to Advance Health Equity and Wellbeing Call for Proposals is the brief proposal. In addition to applicant information, the team needs to respond to ten questions or prompts regarding the proposed project. Responses to each prompt are limited to a specific number of characters that are inclusive of spaces. These space constraints are listed next to each question/prompt with an approximate number of sentences that this character limit corresponds to. A response is required for all questions and prompts.

Of particular note for applicants, the language and framing used in responses should be strengths- and asset-based. Additionally, principles of equity should be evident in every aspect of the brief proposal and proposed research project, not just as part of responses to specific questions or prompts.

  1. What are the research questions? (500 characters/~3 sentences)
    Provide the research question(s) being explored as part of the project. The research purpose/questions should reflect an understanding of the “upstream” root causes (e.g., factors beyond individual-level characteristics, such as settler colonialism and ethnocentrism) of underlying determinants of health disparities. Equity should be centered in the research questions.
  2. How were Indigenous Peoples involved in prioritizing this research? (500 characters/~3 sentences)
    Provide clear evidence that the research is a priority for Indigenous Peoples and reflects real-world considerations, not merely advances an academic research agenda. Describe the relationship between the project team and the Indigenous community being served by and participating in the research. 
  3. Describe how the solution being tested operates (or, in, cases where a solution is being identified or developed, the process for doing so), including how it addresses root causes of inequities. (500 characters/~3 sentences)
    Demonstrate that the solutions being identified, developed, or tested as part of the proposed project are led by Indigenous Peoples and focus on the systems and structures that individuals are situated within to address root causes of inequities. 
  4. What are the systems/community-level changes that could result from this research? (Be specific and practical, not theoretical.) (500 characters/~3 sentences)
    Demonstrate the potential for the research to drive noticeable changes to, or “move the needle” on, Indigenous Peoples' health equity and wellbeing and how findings are applicable in practice in the near term. For applicants applying under Track 2, include any specific policy implications of the proposed work.
  5. How will findings be put into action? Who makes decisions about implementing the solution you are studying and what is your relationship with them? Are they poised to act on what you learn? (750 characters/~5 sentences)
    Demonstrate existing relationships with individuals, groups, and communities that can put the research findings into action to advance the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples’. Outline how findings can be put into practice in the near term.
  6. What theoretical or conceptual framework(s) is guiding the research? (500 characters/~3 sentences)
    Provide information on why the proposed theoretical or conceptual framework is appropriate and how it was selected.
  7. Describe the methodological approach, including how data will be collected and from whom. (750 characters/~5 sentences)
    In addition to describing the methodological approach, provide a clear rationale for why the approach is appropriate for the proposed project.
  8. Describe the methods that will be used to analyze data/information. (600 characters/~4 sentences)
    Briefly explain the process for interpreting the findings and who will be involved in that process.
  9. Describe the relational knowledge that exists within and will be further developed through this project. This could include relationships among team members, with the community, research participants, the natural environment, etc. (800 characters/~6 sentences )
    Describe the relationship between members of the research team and between the team and the community being served by and participating in the research. Share how the project will further this relationship. Project teams in the early stages of building relationships demonstrate intent and describe steps needed to develop long-standing, sustainable partnerships. Demonstrate that the team structure facilitates an equitable approach to participation and joint ownership in the project and findings. Provide evidence of functional working relationships among team members, (e.g., as opposed to vaguely defined organizational associations).
  10. Describe the experiences and expertise that qualify your team to carry out the proposed research project. (750 characters/~5 sentences)
    The team should demonstrate that they have appropriate skills and background to conduct, analyze, interpret, and disseminate the proposed research. Expertise should reflect relevant cultural, contextual, methodological, analytical, and practical experience. Not all perspectives need to be integrated into the applicant team itself, as long as there is a mechanism (advisory board, consultant roles, etc.) for soliciting input as appropriate.

The Selection Criteria

Responses to the brief proposal prompts and questions should demonstrate that the research project meets the six selection criteria listed below.


Research aims are important to improving Indigenous Peoples' health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on addressing root causes and improving social and structural determinants of health, as opposed to requiring individual behavior modification in the absence of larger systems changes. Are the research aims important to advancing Indigenous Peoples' health and wellbeing? Does the proposed solution, or process for identifying one, clearly address a root cause of health and wellbeing inequities?


Findings from the proposed research are solutions-oriented and clearly tied to informing or driving plausible actions to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing. Research should not serve to solely describe a problem or inequity, it should ensure tangible benefits by informing strategies to advance health equity for Indigenous Peoples.

What is the potential for application of the research finding in the real world? How favorable are the conditions (timing, relationships, windows of opportunity) for translating findings to action? 

Methodological appropriateness

Studies must include a clear research question(s) and use appropriate methods or frameworks to answer the question(s), which can be inclusive of Indigenous approaches, methodologies, and methods, such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge or Western research methods and frameworks, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches.

Is the research design appropriate, reasonable, and rigorous for answering the posed question(s)? Are the theoretical framework, research approach, methods, and plan for interpretation of results well aligned?

Focus on health equity

Projects have a clear focus on improving health equity for Indigenous populations. While there is no singular viewpoint on Indigenous concepts of health and wellbeing, applicants are encouraged to consider Indigenous concepts of these domains. Projects may be guided by Indigenous frameworks and worldviews, such as the inclusion of cultural connectedness, relationships to land and natural resources, holistic approaches, and traditional practices of wellness, among others.

Is equity reflected and embedded in the research design? Is the research strongly connected to health and wellbeing? Is the distribution of power and decision-making in the project team dynamics equitable?


Projects can be conducted within the proposed scope, including evidence of respect for Indigenous data sovereignty and governance, which recognizes the rights of Indigenous people to govern and control data pertaining to their communities, lands, cultures, environments, and knowledge systems throughout the entire data lifecycle (from collection and storage to application and utilization). There is timely access to appropriate data and/or study participants, as well as reasonable budgets and timelines that account for sufficient and equitable engagement of relevant partners.

Is it likely that applicants can carry out the proposed project within the specified budget and duration? Are the applicants' access to necessary participants and data to answer the research question adequate and appropriate?

Team qualifications

Project teams demonstrate evidence of authentic and durable relationships among team members, as indicated by a history of previous partnership; project teams in the early stages of building relationships demonstrate intent and describe steps needed to develop long-standing, sustainable partnerships; work and resources are equitably distributed across collaborating organizations; and teams are Indigenous-led or include members who have extensive experience working with Indigenous communities.

Does the team have the experience and expertise needed to conduct the research as proposed? Are the relationships among team members authentic and durable?

Stay Connected