Data Access Application Process

Follow-up 1 data release is planned for late spring 2019. The initial release will include questionnaire data, but no biomarker data, genomics or linked data.

We will be accepting applications for Follow-up 1 data as of the February 25, 2019 application deadline. The Follow-up 1 data checklist will be available as of mid-December. 

We strongly advise potential applicants to review all of the information on this page before applying to use the CLSA platform.

Preparing an Application

  • The CLSA data are currently available to approved public sector researchers in Canada and elsewhere, with no preferential or exclusive access for any individual. Currently there is no provision to transfer biospecimens to applicants outside of Canada, however, international researchers may choose to collaborate with Canadian researchers to access biospecimens, as long as the biospecimens are analyzed in Canada.
  • The anticipated release date for biospecimens is 2019. There will be one application deadline to submit biospecimen access requests per year. The application deadline is yet to be determined, and will be posted on our website. For further information, please consult the Biospecimen Access Guidelines. For questions related to biospecimen access, please contact the Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre (BBC) at
  • 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.
  • Data access requests to the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging are reviewed by the Data and Sample Access Committee (DSAC).
  • Please consult the Data and Biospecimen Access Policy and Guiding Principles, the Fees, 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.
  • Researchers are invited to submit data access requests using Magnolia, the CLSA’s online data access application system. Please email to request a user account. Please note that PDF applications are no longer accepted. For more information on the data access applications requirements in Magnolia, click here.
  • 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, time to obtain ethics approval from your institutional Research Ethics Board (REB), dataset preparation and release. 
  • Please also consult the Tips for Preparing an Application and the FAQs.

Submitting an Application

  • All applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the submission deadline.
  • The application should 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 REB. 
  • You may follow the progress of your application through the online application system. 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

*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 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. 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 submit an Amendment request for a time extension or their data access agreement may be terminated (CLSA Access Agreement, Section 13). 

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.