Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus how the health of people around the world is inextricably linked. On April 10, 2020, in addition to the funds already committed by the Government of Canada, the CIHR was able to fund three further COVID-19 projects to bring the total to 99 funded grants and an investment of $54.2M in rapid research response.

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) has led this rapid research response in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Genome Canada (GC). CIHR was guided by the World Health Organization’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus Global Research and Innovation Forum: Towards a Research Roadmap, and the WHO R&D blueprint in the design of a novel Rapid Research Funding Opportunity with focus on both biomedical and social interventions.

The Canadian research community responded rapidly, and the number of applications received in a short time frame was remarkable. With just one week between the opening of the call and the due date, the effort made within CIHR was unprecedented; close to 150 Canadian researchers volunteered to peer-review all 227 applications in under seven days. This significant investment focused on research exploring two themes: medical countermeasures, and social and policy countermeasures. Applications were sought on new and repurposed therapeutic targets, diagnostic improvements, solutions for better clinical management and the transmission dynamics for the COVID-19 outbreak, in addition to vaccine development. Investment in social sciences and public health research focused on the public health response and its impact, the social dynamics, communications and trust aspects of the COVID19 pandemic in addition to studies on governance and global coordination.

Projects funded through this call will build on existing networks, infrastructure and relationships with partners in Canada and internationally. All research performed using this funding source will comply with the joint statement on sharing of research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus outbreak, ensuring that Canadian data relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak is shared rapidly and openly to accelerate the translation of knowledge into rapid actions.

Canada will continue contributing to the global efforts to fight the outbreak by investing in Canadian researchers and promoting the WHO mandate to find effective ways to combat COVID-19.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.