BHCIA Research Initiative: About


The CIHR Dementia Research Strategy (DRS) – precursor to the BHCIA Research Initiative - was created in 2009 by CIHR to support research on the latest preventive, diagnostic and treatment approaches to Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases causing dementia. An important outcome of the DRS was the creation of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) in 2014.

The DRS underwent a program evaluation in 2018. The evaluation addressed issues related to the relevance, design and delivery, and performance of both the national and international components of the DRS and offered recommendations to improve the program. A key recommendation was to continue to invest strategically in dementia research, including supporting the research and innovation needs of the National Dementia Strategy, which was launched by the Government of Canada in 2019.

In autumn 2020, CIHR-IA embarked on an extensive consultation and engagement process to assess the changes in dementia research since the inception of the DRS, including identifying future research themes and needs that should be included in the development of a new major research initiative. These conversations inspired the development of the Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment in Aging (BHCIA) Research Initiative. This new initiative builds on the successes of previous and ongoing investments in dementia research, expanding into new areas that are not covered by current CIHR programs. The BHCIA Research Initiative was operationalized by the announcement in Federal Budget 2022, allocating $20 million to CIHR over five years to ramp up efforts to learn more about dementia and brain health in aging, to improve treatment and outcomes for persons living with dementia, and to evaluate and address mental health consequences for caregivers and different models of care. In addition to the Federal Budget, complementary funding was secured from CIHR and external partners, raising the total investment in the Initiative to over $40M.

Areas of focus

The BHCIA Research Initiative will support research across the continuum from the healthy aging brain, to cognitive impairment and care for those impacted by dementia, as well as the wellbeing of their caregivers. New scientific knowledge generated by this investment will be shared widely with patients and their families, health care professionals, and policy- and decision-makers, through workshops, webinars, briefings, outreach campaigns, and other knowledge mobilization activities.

Long description

CIHR Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment in Aging Research Initiative

CIHR funding and CIHR Institute of Aging Strategic Programs

  • Research on: Risk Reduction, Care & Support and Caregivers
  • Training and Capacity Building
  • Knowledge Mobilization Hub
  • Impact: Innovation and implementation

Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA)

  • Accelerate progress in research on age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Lewy body dementia. Established in 2014.
  • Impact: Synergy between researchers

Dementia Research Funders Alliance

  • Bring together key stakeholders in the brain health and dementia funding ecosystem in Canada. Through this alliance, we will leverage and amplify dementia research, identify the scope of current activities and identify research gaps and needs.
  • Impact: Collaboration with funding partners

Goals and cross cutting components

Long description

This image illustrates the key goals of the BHICA Research Initiative which are risk reduction (1) care, programs and services (2) and caregivers/care providers (3) and also the cross-cutting components: capacity building and training (1), knowledge mobilization (2), and partnerships (3).

Through the BHCIA Research Initiative, CIHR will support research focusing on three main research areas: risk reduction; care and support; and, care providers and caregivers, in order to address three overarching goals:

The BHCIA Research Initiative will also embed three cross-cutting components:

Date modified: