Global health research

Related information

Global health is a cross-cutting theme across all of CIHR’s Institutes. The scientific lead for Global Health at CIHR is Dr. Steven Hoffman, who is also Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health.

What is global health research?

Global health research focuses in particular on the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries and also on understanding systematic factors that shape health and are inherently global. CIHR considers global health research to include the following areas:

  • Globalization: explaining patterns of health, health equity, and well-being within a global context or as shaped by global economic, social, environmental, and political factors
  • Equity: improving health equity for vulnerable populations such as Indigenous peoples in multiple international settings
  • Neglected Diseases: tackling determinants of health that disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations who are excluded from markets and society
  • Transnational Risks: addressing transnational health threats, opportunities, determinants, or solutions that transcend political boundaries

CIHR and global health research

CIHR’s current strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap II, emphasizes the commitment to address health, health systems, and health research challenges that affect Canadians and the global community.

Because the health of people everywhere also affects the health of Canadians, applications in global health research are eligible for CIHR funding.

CIHR funds research with a global health focus through both priority-driven as well as investigator-initiated grant competitions. Please see International and global health: Frequently asked questions for further information on ways global health and international researchers can engage with CIHR.

Supported by its mandate and strategic plan, CIHR has invested approximately $30 million per year in global health research since 2012.

Distribution of Global Health Research Investments
by Funding Type

  • Long description
    Funding Type 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
    Investigator initiated $2,279,580 $3,191,537 $3,768,482 $5,267,913 $7,192,310 $7,001,408 $11,077,111 $14,069,854 $13,752,629 $13,779,517 $18,235,228 $16,472,479 $17,136,515 $16,997,881 $16,695,183 $18,428,974 $20,646,996
    Priority driven $328,716 $1,475,413 $3,310,460 $6,187,342 $4,076,111 $5,082,310 $5,642,944 $7,539,854 $11,918,087 $12,822,190 $9,401,375 $10,934,354 $13,635,439 $14,062,383 $14,391,616 $14,048,697 $9,058,798
    Total $2,608,296 $4,666,950 $7,078,943 $11,455,255 $11,268,422 $12,083,718 $16,720,056 $21,609,708 $25,670,716 $26,601,707 $27,636,603 $27,406,833 $30,771,954 $31,060,264 $31,086,799 $32,477,671 $29,705,794

Recent CIHR global health initiatives:

A range of skills and expertise is needed to tackle issues like climate change or infectious diseases that affect the health of Canadians. For this reason, international research collaboration has become a norm. To contribute and to leverage international expertise, research partnership is at the core of CIHR’s global health strategy.

Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD)

CIHR has partnered with international health research funders to form the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). GACD develops and facilitates innovative research collaborations between low- and middle-income and high-income countries in the fight against chronic diseases, working with alliance members across the globe.

Learn more about GACD >
Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA)

The IMCHA initiative seeks to improve maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes by strengthening health systems, using primary healthcare as an entry point. This seven-year, $36 million initiative – jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Global Affairs Canada, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) – illustrates how partnerships serve to advance Canadian global health priorities.

Learn more about IMCHA >
Global health planning grants

These grants support planning activities that facilitate the development of research partnerships and projects that could subsequently be funded by CIHR or other funders that are relevant to global health research.

Learn more about Global Health planning grants >
Health Research Rapid Response

To ensure that Canada is adequately prepared to respond to urgent health research threats in a timely and coordinated manner, CIHR received support for an Emerging Health Threats Research Fund. The fund supports a series of complementary research activities by issuing research grants to Canadian researchers in order to mitigate or prevent the harm posed by potential or emerging health threats.

Learn more about Health Research Rapid Response >
Grand Challenges Canada

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Dedicated to supporting bold ideas, GCC funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries and in Canada that bring successful innovation to scale and catalyzes sustainability, and for impact.

Learn more about Grand Challenges Canada >
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