Getting UTOPIAN Support

*At this time, certain activities related to UTOPIAN are paused. No new data is being collected. However, as permitted by the REB, previously collected EMR data in the UTOPIAN Data Safe Haven is available and may be analyzed for research projects.

For projects seeking UTOPIAN's support, including secondary analysis of UTOPIAN data and clinical research type of projects, principle investigators must complete the UTOPIAN Project Request Intake form.

A letter of support and an estimate of costs will be provided once a review is completed and the project is approved in principle. Please ensure that you include your timeline details in the submission, in particular when there are grant application deadlines. A minimum of two (2) weeks notice is required prior to grant application deadlines. This is to allow for sufficient time to provide an assessment of the staffing and budgetary considerations that need to be made in the application. For all other projects, please submit your request at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure sufficient time for review.

All clinical research projects, and notably large and complex secondary data analysis projects must be presented to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which meets bi-monthly from September to May.

A data dictionary is available.

Please refer to Eligibility Criteria, Fee schedule and Timelines below.

If you have any questions, please contact UTOPIAN's Research Project Manager.

Eligibility Criteria for UTOPIAN Projects

Project must meet the following project selection criteria to be considered UTOPIAN Research Project:

1. Project Importance: The project should represent an important family medicine or primary health care question(s) that is currently being faced by clinicians and/or their patients. It should have the potential to improve patient health and/or health services. Clear justification is provided for the importance of the question (e.g. incidence, prevalence, costs etc.).  

2. Methodological Quality: Where a credible methodological review has been completed by a scientific peer committee (e.g. by CIHR) and the project is in a fundable range, the project will be scored in the excellent/outstanding range. If the project has not had a credible review completed, then a formal review must be completed. (Where the applicants are unable to obtain peer review this will be provided by members of the UTOPIAN Scientific Advisory Committee).

3. Project Feasibility: The project should be feasible in terms of the methods being appropriate for the question(s), the proposed recruitment, timeline, having proposed sufficient funds (and other resources) to successfully complete the project and be ethically sound (ethics approval process must be identified). 

4. Study Team: The project must include a DFCM faculty member (clinical research) or a UTOPIAN Scientist (secondary data analysis) within an experienced study team (appropriate research training, experience and productivity). The DFCM faculty members or UTOPIAN Scientist roles must be clearly described. The study team is appropriate in terms of its complementarity and expertise to successfully complete the project as proposed. For clinical research studies, each participating study site must have a DFCM Co-Investigator as part of the study team. The project must have the potential for DFCM faculty to have one or more peer-reviewed publications which meet the authorship requirements of ICMJE.

5. Increased Research Capacity for DFCM: The proposed research team and research environment (e.g. staff and infrastructure) should encourage quality mentorship opportunities. The project will usually include diverse sites; be relevant and of benefit to participating sites; and the benefits to the sites for participating/collaborating must be clearly stated.

6. Translation of Knowledge Into Practice: The project should include a plan for integrated KT where stakeholders and/or potential knowledge users are engaged in the entire research process as well as appropriate end-of-grant KT, which includes providing feedback to each participating site.

7. Potential to Contribute to the DFCM’s Research Reputation: The project should have the potential to contribute to the DFCM’s international and/or national reputation for conducting family medicine/primary care research.

UTOPIAN strongly supports the Tri-Agency statement on EDI  which recommends plans for promoting EDI within the research team and in the research project design, practices, and analyses. CHIR has resources around sex and gender. the Harvard Implicit Association Test is helpful for self-evaluation.

Projects also need to engage multiple UTOPIAN sites to be able to use network resources (exceptions might be granted for feasibility studies with the potential to spread if successful).

Fee Schedule (2023)


Project facilitation
(site recruitment, practices recruitment, help on sites with study start-up, REBs and other research-related activities)



Methodological support
(framing questions, research methodology, data availability and suitability for purpose)



Data management & extraction



Data analyst



Infrastructure fee per project



Administrative fee per project



The infrastructure fee of $7,500 per project will be applied for EMR data projects, in addition to the fees for staff time & the administrative fee for external projects. All researchers interested in using UTOPIAN data should include this fee in their grant applications.

Waivers may be granted for this fee on a case-by-case basis under the following categories:

  • New researchers, junior faculty, or student researchers
    • While all new researchers, junior faculty, and students are encouraged to be mentored and supported by more senior researchers with access to research funding, we recognize that is not always possible. Developing more researchers and enhancing the quantity and quality of their research projects within the DFCM and Primary Care is a core part of UTOPIAN’s mission; the infrastructure fee will be waived when appropriate to facilitate that.
  • Small scale reports or scoping projects
    • Some projects and research funding pools supporting them are small-scale in scope and work. These can lead to publications in and of themselves, or can be part of developing a larger project. In early stages of project development, the fee may be prohibitive and can be waived.
  • Historical projects
    • UTOPIAN supports many projects that were underway or in significant development prior to the announcement of this fee, and which have not budgeted for this cost. In those cases, the fee will be automatically waived.

Requests for waivers, and their justification, should be included on the project intake form. Waivers will be granted at the discretion of UTOPIAN’s Director.


Based on UTOPIAN resources requested and the nature of the project, the timescale might vary:

  • Support for small-scale and feasibility studies might commence within 2-4 weeks.
  • Large, funded studies requiring significant resource allocation are to be presented at the UTOPIAN Scientific Advisory Committee meeting (bi-monthly from September - May) and provided that there is interest among sites, might commence within 1-2 months. Presentation at the SAC might also be an opportunity for researchers to discuss projects in grant application stage to gain the support of the sites.