To continue its efforts to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the globe, the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, along with provincial partners, launched a second rapid research funding competition on April 23, 2020.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced the results of that funding competition: an investment of more than $109M over one year in COVID-19 research. This investment will support 139 research teams from across the country that will focus on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its negative consequences on people, communities, and health systems. For example, researchers will focus on domestic and international clinical trials and scale-up promising existing projects that will increase our understanding of the efficacy and effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, and clinical approaches to COVID-19. The research teams will also evaluate public health management, including containment strategies such as physical distancing and travel restrictions, and study at-risk populations. Their findings will inform decision-making and planning at national and international levels.
This research initiative includes a significant international component. More than a quarter of the 139 research teams will be working in collaboration with researchers in other countries. Many of these collaborations involve researchers in lower and middle-income countries where the greatest need exists for support in the pandemic. By helping curb the virus overseas, these Canadian researchers will contribute to global health while protecting safety at home.
The Government of Canada is providing the funding for this research through CIHR and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in partnership with Alberta Innovates (AI), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Research Manitoba (RMB), Research Nova Scotia (RNS), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF).
“Accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada in its fight against COVID-19. I congratulate the successful teams for their essential work aimed at better preventing, detecting and treating COVID-19 at the individual and population levels. Our government believes that it’s through collaboration and data sharing that we will respond efficiently to this global health emergency.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health
“COVID-19 knows no boundaries, and our responses to the pandemic must reflect that reality. By building on IDRC’s productive relationships with researchers in the Global South, Canadian researchers have the opportunity to develop long-lasting partnerships and solutions that are fit-for-purpose in the world’s most under-resourced countries. I congratulate these international collaborations.”
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development
Projects funded through this call build on the initial investment of $55.3M to support 100 research projects on COVID-19 announced in March. The new projects will scale-up existing projects and address the gaps and priorities relevant to the current COVID-19 context.
The research priorities of this competition were aligned with the work of international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R).