The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada’s federal funding agency for health research. Composed of thirteen Institutes, CIHR collaborates with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health systems.
CIHR’s mandate is to ‘excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system.’
COVID-19 has clearly illustrated that infectious disease outbreaks are not limited by geographical boundaries. We must coordinate across countries and continents to find global solutions. GloPID-R’s focus on global coordination of research funding is critical to pandemic preparedness and response; it enables funders to synergize their efforts, coordinate investments to avoid duplication of activities and to identify research gaps and invest rapidly and strategically. The better we can coordinate globally, the better prepared we will be for the next outbreak.
Dr. Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Infection and Immunity, GloPID-R Chair
The best health for all, powered by outstanding research.
As the federal funding agency responsible for investing in health research, CIHR has been central to Canada’s response to COVID-19.
Since March 2020, CIHR has invested approximately $414.8 million in 965 COVID-19 research projects. These projects span everything from diagnostics and potential treatments to public health responses and communication strategies.
CIHR has also worked with partners to invest in Canadian COVID-19 research with dedicated funding for specific topics such as:
CIHR also has engaged with our international partners to ensure the alignment and coordination of Canada’s research with the international response.
In June 2020, Dr. Steven Hoffman, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH), was invited by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General to lead a participatory process to identify research priorities that will support an equitable global socio-economic recovery from COVID-19 and continued progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery was built on the work of the UN COVID-19 economic and social recovery plan. It is a result of the collaborative efforts of 38 research funding organizations and 270 experts from around the world. The aim is to transform COVID-19 recovery into a rapid learning initiative so that national and international responses can be informed by rigorous social scientific evidence.. By developing a research agenda at the outset of recovery, early response efforts can inform later responses, enabling countries to learn from one another as they aim to build back better.
As part of a broader suite of research investments to respond to COVID-19 and better prepare Canada for future health emergencies, on January 14, 2022, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (Research Centre) with an ongoing investment of $18.5 million 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. While the Research Centre contributes to the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of its activities goes well beyond COVID-19. The Research Centre addresses all health emergencies and pandemics by supporting high-quality research and mobilizing solid research evidence into better plans, policies, and practices.
CIHR, through the Institute of Infection and Immunity (III), is a founding member of GloPID-R. Additionally, former CIHR-III Scientific Director Marc Ouellette and present Scientific Director Charu Kaushic have served as Vice-Chairs of GloPID-R in previous years. Dr. Kaushic was appointed Chair of GloPID-R in October 2020 and has helped define the organization’s goals for the following two years, including the development of GloPID-R’s strategic priorities with input and validation provided from all its members. CIHR has played leadership roles in GloPID-R’s Data Sharing, Social Sciences Working Groups and is participating in the Clinical Trials Network Working Group. It played a key role in the response to the Zika outbreak in 2015-2017. It contributes to, and is a user of, the COVID-19 Research Project Tracker.
CIHR currently has 40 international initiatives supported by bilateral agreements with countries such as China, Israel, and Japan and multilateral agreements that span multiple countries and include international programs such as the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, the Human Frontier Science Program and many programs under the European Framework Programme.
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.