Data Access Application Process

Please note that Follow-up 1 data will not be available until the spring of 2019.
Continue to check our website for details on applying for Follow-up 1 data.

We strongly advise potential applicants to review all of the information on this page before applying to use the CLSA platform. For more information, please visit the FAQ page or email

For guidance on the use of the email address by researchers, trainees and approved users, please click here.

Preparing an Application

  • All data access requests to the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging must be reviewed by the Data and Sample Access Committee (DSAC).
  • The CLSA welcomes applications from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who wish to use the data for their thesis research or for their postdoctoral project. To learn more about submitting trainee applications, click here.
  • Please consult the Data and Biospecimen Access Policy and Guiding Principles, the pertinent sections of the CLSA protocol(s), the CLSA Data Collection Tools, and the information on the Data Access Process, in advance of preparing an application.
  • The most up-to-date CLSA Data and Biospecimen Request Application Form is available as a fillable PDF. The application form includes two parts: Part 1: Data Application Form; and Part 2: the Data Checklist. The Data Checklist will allow you to see what data are currently available and what is not yet available. For questions related to CLSA data requests, please contact
  • CLSA biospecimens are not yet available and the Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre (BBC) is finalizing the access process for biospecimens. For questions related to biospecimen access, please contact the Biorepository & Bioanalysis Centre via
  • Please ensure that you have completed all sections of the application form that are relevant to your application, and that your application conforms to the requirements of the form (e.g. word count, page limit). Incomplete applications and applications that do not conform to the specifications may result in processing delays or refusal of your application.Please note the anticipated timeframe from the application submission deadline to the time you receive your dataset is approximately six months. This period includes the application review process, agreement negotiation between the CLSA and your institution, dataset preparation and release. Thus, your anticipated start date should not be less than six months from the application submission deadline.
  • Please also consult the Tips for Preparing an Application and the FAQs.

Submitting an Application

  • All applications should be submitted to, clearly indicating "Application for DSAC - your name" in the subject line of the email. We cannot guarantee that applications sent to other email addresses will be reviewed.
  • The application should also include, if available, a copy of approval letters for funding and ethics.
  • Note that ethics approval is not required at the time of the application but no data will be released to users until ethics approval has been received from an institutional ethics review board. 
  • Following submission of your application, you will receive an auto-reply email confirming that your submission has been received. There is no need to contact us to ask for additional confirmation. You will be contacted once the review process is complete or sooner if additional information is required.

Application Deadlines

 Submission Deadline Anticipated Notification of Decision*

February 25, 2019

     May 2019
June 3, 2019    September 2019
 September 23, 2019    December 2019

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the submission deadline.

*Please note that the Anticipated Notification of Decision refers to the approximate time you will be notified about the approval status of your project, and not to the time you will have access to the data.

  • Once your application is approved, a CLSA Access Agreement  must be negotiated and signed between McMaster University and your institution. This part of the process can take a variable length of time, up to 12 weeks, and is not under the control of the CLSA. Please be aware that this will affect the length of time that it takes for the data to be released to you.

Application Review

The Data and Sample Access Committee (DSAC)  reviews all applications for the use of CLSA data and biospecimens. The CLSA requires researchers to sign a CLSA Access Agreement that outlines the specific uses of data and the expectations with regard to privacy and confidentiality. The CLSA monitors approved applications on an ongoing basis for progress. Researchers who have received data will have a specified time period within which the proposed analyses must be completed, as per the CLSA Access Agreement. If the analyses are not completed in the given time frame, the applicant must either submit a request for a time extension or their data access agreement may be terminated (CLSA Access Agreement, Section 13.2). 

Fees (Alphanumeric Data)

The CLSA has reviewed the costing models of a large number of Canadian and international studies in preparing a costing model for release of alphanumeric data to the first set of researchers in mid-2014. The CLSA charges researchers using a partial cost-recovery model. The fees incorporate partial recovery of administrative costs, data processing, data retrieval, and delivery costs incurred by the CLSA as part of the data and biospecimen access process.

Currently, the charge for a dataset based on data from the Baseline assessment of the CLSA cohort is CAD $3,000. The Baseline assessment includes 21,241 participants in the Tracking assessment, and 30,097 participants in the Comprehensive assessment. Additional fees may be applied for data access requests that require more complex customization of datasets.

The CLSA will review this cost-recovery model regularly to ensure that the cost is equitable, balanced, and fair for both the research community and the CLSA.

Fee waiver

Graduate students (M.Sc. or Ph.D.) enrolled at Canadian universities who wish to obtain the CLSA data for the sole purpose of their thesis and postdoctoral fellows (limit 1 waiver per postdoctoral fellow) who wish to obtain the CLSA data for the sole purpose of their postdoctoral project may request a fee waiver. Canadian trainees working outside Canada but funded through a Canadian source are also eligible. The request for a fee waiver must be checked in Part 1 of the CLSA Data and Biospecimen Access Request Application.

Fees (Biospecimens)

The cost recovery model for biospecimens is in development. Please contact the Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre via if you have questions.