Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Since March 2020, CIHR, with support from the Government of Canada, has invested over $300 million in COVID-19 research. The funded projects span everything from diagnostics and potential treatments to public health responses and communication strategies. As the pandemic has evolved, CIHR has continued to mobilize efforts to address emerging COVID-19 research priorities.

The 100 Days Mission

In December 2021, CIHR announced an investment of $13.7 million in 89 new COVID-19 research projects. This includes 70 projects focused on understanding and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, youth and families, of which 3 projects focus on Indigenous Health Research. It also includes 19 projects focused on promoting vaccine confidence, particularly among groups with low vaccination rates, such as Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Urban Indigenous Peoples), populations experiencing conditions of marginalization and historically under-vaccinated groups. Together, these projects will provide evidence to help governments, communities, and health care providers continue to manage the pandemic.

Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net)

As part of the Government of Canada’s continued strategy to rapidly respond to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, CIHR continues to support research associated with the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Building on past investments within this space, CIHR announced in December 2021 that the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net) has been extended for an additional year ($9 million). This network, which is designed to improve critical, time-sensitive information on biologically-meaningful, emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and their public health relevance, will continue to build coherence in both research and surveillance efforts for current and emerging variants of concern, and coordinate the overall SARS-CoV-2 emerging variant research efforts for Canada.

CIHR is also supporting the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s launch of the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Special Call: Research for Post-Pandemic Recovery, which aims to mobilize Canadian-led research efforts in support of a more equitable, sustainable and resilient post-pandemic reality. This funding call will support a diverse portfolio of projects that directly address one or more of the research priorities outlined in the UN Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery. Currently, $24 million has been committed to support two-year grants valued at up to $500,000. Projects are expected to be interdisciplinary and have an international dimension, with inclusion of team members from lower-middle- or lower-income countries being strongly encouraged. More details will be made available when the call is officially launched in February 2022.

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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.