Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
COVID-19 funding updates
Since March 2020, the Government of Canada has invested in research to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). As part of this ongoing investment, CIHR recently announced results from the ‘Emerging COVID-19 Research Gaps and Priorities July 2021’ funding opportunity, which was designed to support research into the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized and vulnerable populations in Canada.
CIHR approved 69 projects under this funding opportunity, representing a total investment of $26.3M. Together, these projects will help inform evidence-based policy and program development that support diverse communities and an equitable recovery from the pandemic.
With the start of the COVID-19 vaccination program for children aged 5-11 in Canada, CIHR launched the Canadian Pediatric COVID-19 Research Platform ($6.7M) competition in January 2021 to support a coordinated system to monitor the health and well-being of children and youth, including those from historically excluded or underserved populations, as it relates to COVID-19 infection and vaccination consequences. This funding call will support research within a Platform that will form a Collaboration Centre with pediatric hospitals from across Canada, in efforts to increase the availability of high-quality and real-time evidence related to COVID-19 infection and/or vaccination in children and youth. Results from this competition are expected in April 2022.
In partnership with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), CIHR (Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies, HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research Initiative, Institute of Infection and Immunity and Institute of Population and Public Health) is also supporting the Women RISE (Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable) initiative. Women RISE is guided by research priorities identified in the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery – Leveraging the Power of Science for a More Equitable, Resilient and Sustainable Future.
This funding opportunity will support collaborations between Canadian and LMIC researchers, who will work together to conduct action-oriented, gender-transformative research on how women’s health and their work (paid or unpaid) intersect and interact in the context of preparing, responding to and recovering from COVID-19. This research will inform immediate and medium-term solutions for COVID-19 recovery that improve gender equality and health equity and will contribute to an evidence-base for preparedness and responses to future health emergencies. Currently, $20M has been committed to support up to 20 teams. Results from this competition are expected in July 2022.
Creation of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies
Earlier this year, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies with an ongoing investment of $18.5M per year. The Research Centre, which is housed within CIHR, will ensure Canada has an emergency-ready health research system by supporting research and knowledge mobilization efforts to help Canada better prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from existing and future pandemics and other health emergencies.
In its first year of operation, the Research Centre focused on setting up its governance structures, engaging with domestic and international partners including health research funding agencies and implementation bodies, and developing mid-term and long-term strategic plans to advance its mandate. Since its creation, the Research Centre has funded research on the current COVID-19 pandemic including support for the COVID-19 Evidence Network, which produces summaries of the best available science on COVID-19-related issues for decision makers, and support for research projects that will help understand and address the wider health impacts of the pandemic. For more information and to stay connected with regular updates, please visit the Research Centre’s website.