Updates from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

CIHR, with support from the Government of Canada, continues to respond to emerging COVID-19 research priorities, and recent funding efforts have focused on addressing both the current and long-term impacts of the disease.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

As part of the Government of Canada’s continued strategy to rapidly address COVID-19 research gaps, CIHR funded 96 projects in June 2021 which focused on 6 specific research areas (variants, vaccines, confidence in science, post COVID-19 condition, testing models and surveillance, and long-term care) through the last round of the Emerging COVID-19 Research Gaps and Priorities competition. These projects aim to accelerate the availability and use of high-quality and real-time evidence and/or solutions to better prevent, detect, treat, and manage COVID-19, and generate evidence related to one or more marginalized populations. The next round of this funding initiative was launched in July 2021, and will support projects relevant to 11 different research areas which fall under 3 themes: (1) Structural inequities in the COVID-19 response and ethics; (2) Ongoing impact of COVID-19 in health systems and services; and (3) Societal reopening in the context of COVID-19. Results are expected in December 2021.

Recognizing that the impact of the pandemic goes far beyond the immediate health effects on individuals, CIHR launched the Addressing the Wider Health Impacts of COVID-19 competition in September 2021, which will tackle the wider impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on the health and health care of people. The intent of this funding call is to understand the extent and impact of the indirect and wider health consequences of COVID-19, and to identify effective interventions to ameliorate these wider impacts and improve preparedness for future health emergencies and pandemics. Similarly, the Understanding and Mitigating the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children, Youth and Families in Canada ($3.605M) competition aims to specifically improve understanding of, response to, and recovery from co-occurring stressful and traumatic events that stem from the current COVID-19 pandemic, and/or the impacts of restrictions related to associated public health mitigation measures, with respect to children, youth and families in Canada. Results from this competition are expected in October 2021.

With vaccines being a critical component to not only ending this pandemic but preventing many infectious diseases, CIHR continues to support efforts to encourage confidence in vaccines, especially among populations that are hesitant. As such, CIHR, in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), funded 48 organizations through the Encouraging vaccine confidence in Canada ($2.24M) competition in July 2021 to promote vaccine confidence via information sharing. Furthermore, CIHR is funding an additional $2.4M through the COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence funding opportunity to advance knowledge and strategies on how to increase vaccine confidence in populations experiencing conditions of marginalization, Indigenous Peoples and/or populations who have historically been under-vaccinated. Results from this competition are expected in October 2021.

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874667.