Data Access Application Process

**PLEASE NOTE: There will be only two data access submission deadlines for 2021: Wednesday, April 14 and Wednesday, September 8. If you have already started (or submitted) an application in Magnolia for the next deadline, the date will be changed on your application and no further action is required by you. We continue to experience some delays in the preparation and release of data, as well response times to queries may be somewhat longer than usual.**


Please email to request a Magnolia user account, providing your full name, institutional email, position title and institution as part of your request. Additional information on trainee access is available here.

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

Preparing an Application

** NOTE – Provide the level of detail you would normally provide in a grant application. Failure to provide adequate detail to assess feasibility will result in rejection of the application. **

The CLSA encourages researchers to collaborate on similar research objectives. Summaries of approved projects are posted on the Approved Projects page and it is up to the applicants to determine if a similar application has already been approved. Please note that all applications submitted to the CLSA are reviewed and considered independently, even if similar research objectives are being proposed by different researchers.

  • 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 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 note that the CLSA only accepts applications for data that are available at the time of submission. To know what data are currently available, please consult the CLSA Data Availability Table which is regularly updated as data become available. Applications proposing the use of data that are not available at the time of submission will not be considered for review, and you will need to reapply once those data become available.
  • 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. For trainee applications (MSc, PhD and Postdoctoral fellows), the application request for a user account must be made by the supervisor on behalf of the trainee. The supervisor remains the Primary Applicant and is responsible for the content of the application. Only the Primary Applicant will be able to submit the application. Please email to request a user account, providing your full name, institutional email, position title, program of study and institution as part of your request. If you are also requesting an account for your trainee(s), please include their name(s), institutional email(s) and program(s) of study. User accounts cannot be set up until this information is provided. Please note that PDF applications are no longer accepted. For more information on the data access application 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*

April 14, 2021

    July 2021
September 8, 2021    January 2022

*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.