Announcement – Canada-European Commission request for applications: $5.5M available to Canadian researchers for health data projects


A recording of the session is available.

Note: the webinar is available in the language in which it was presented.

The volume and complexity of digital health information available to researchers is increasing every day. This means the need for effective and efficient systems to manage data becomes more and more important. Existing repositories were generally developed independently, without shared, compatible data standards. Recognizing the expertise of researchers in Canada and the European Union who have experience building and administering data repositories to support biomedical research, CIHR, FRQS and the EC are proud to jointly support the development of a collaboration of stakeholders in Europe and Canada in the domain of storing, coordinating, integrating and sharing of human data.

This is a unique collaboration, and CIHR’s first European Commission Research and Innovation Action (RIA), which will require each project to involve at least three (3) entities independent of each other and established in a different EU Member State or associated country [ PDF (206 KB) - external link ]. In addition, the proposals must include at least one participant from Canada, which brings the minimum consortium size to four (4) participants.

The European Commission call for proposals was launched on October 27, 2017.

The Canadian Request for Applications will be published on ResearchNet end of February 2018.

Anticipated timelines

Webinar: February 12 (13:00 to 14:00 EST)
Full application deadline: April 18, 2018 at 20:00 (EST)
Notice of decision: August 24, 2018
Funding start date: October 1, 2018

Note: The European Commission’s deadline is also April 18, 2017 at 17:00 (Brussels time).


To build a collaboration of stakeholders in Europe and Canada in the domain of repositories storing and sharing human –omics data that will create a framework for long-term cooperation. In order to do so, this programme aims to enhance and standardize data deposition, curation and exchange procedures thus ensuring better data reuse and increased benefit to the scientific communities worldwide. The selected projects should build on the data quality metrics, standards and access policies developed by major international initiatives (e.g., IHEC, ICGC, IHMC, MME). Considering the existing data policies, projects should develop approaches that integrate data from disparate sources and include one or more of the following elements:

  • Data models that guarantee the interoperability of human health research data from different repositories and integrate different types of –omics data and, where relevant, clinical research and lifestyle data. The data models should take into account sex/gender differences where relevant. The projects should build on existing research infrastructures such as –omics repositories, biobanks and registries.
  • Reference architecture for data and process interoperability.
  • Technologies and methodologies for data harvesting, data access, data transfers, and archiving complex datasets.
  • Bioinformatics toolbox to support the analysis and management of data on diseases from a personalised medicine standpoint.
  • International ethical and legal governance model for a research data management and storage infrastructure and an associated data management plan compliant with the required level of data security and privacy that is aligned with the recent recommendations of the OECD Council on Health Data Governance.

This topic raises important issues of data sharing, privacy protection, informational right to self-determination and data security, which should be addressed from a legal, ethical as well as a social sciences perspective. It is important that proposals enable sustainable, collaborative projects and ensure cross-references with existing infrastructures (e.g., BBMRI-ERIC, ELIXIR) and other on-going initiatives (e.g., International Consortium for Personalised Medicine, European Open Science Cloud [ PDF (918 KB) - external link ], IHEC, etc.). Synergies should be sought with other projects (e.g. calls under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and running IMI projects). The proposals should take stock of the BBMRI-ERIC Code of Conduct for using personal data in health research. A multidisciplinary approach, i.e., involving clinicians, biologists, bioinformaticians, etc., is considered a key aspect of successful proposals.

Expected Outcomes

The International flagship collaboration for human data storage, integration and sharing to enable personalized medicine approaches is expected to result in:

  • Intensified sharing, reuse, collaboration and knowledge discovery in the health field, while ensuring legal safety on the use of the data
  • Integration of various health and disease data in data-intensive fields such as personalized medicine
  • More efficient research through reduced duplication of experimentation
  • A network of research infrastructures and databases in the EU and Canada that build synergies between ongoing activities, contributing to delivering the backbone for a new discoveries that address the Societal Challenges delineated in Horizon 2020.
  • Strengthened position of the EU and Canada in science and more collaboration between academia and industry resulting in more innovation, jobs and growth
  • Contribute to the Digital Single Market through piloting IT health research solutions

Partnering Tool

To facilitate international collaborations, visit the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed) tool.

The following information is specifically for Canadian researchers’ fundable by CIHR


The total amount available for Canadian researchers from CIHR and FRQS is $5.5 million CAD, enough to fund 7 grants. The maximum amount available is $200,000 CAD per year for up to four (4) years for a total of $800,000 CAD, per grant. Of this $500,000 CAD is available from FRQS to support applications relevant to their mandate.

The total amount available for European researchers from the European Commission is €40 million. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting different amounts.

Note: Due to the nature of this call, Canadian applicants are eligible to receive funding from Canadian sources only and are not eligible to receive funding from the European Commission.


The standard eligibility criteria for a RIA action will apply – it must be submitted by at least three (3) entities independent of each other and established in a different EU Member State or associated country [ PDF (206 KB) - external link ]. In addition, the proposals must include at least one participant from Canada, which brings the minimum consortium size to four (4) participants. Furthermore to the EU/Associated Countries and Canada, the proposed project consortia may include other international partners. Canadian or international SME participation is encouraged.

Note: The Nominated Principal applicant leading the Canadian component must be an independent researcher and appointed at an eligible institution (See Institutional Eligibility Requirements for eligibility process and associated timelines) to be considered for CIHR funding.


  • CIHR-IG and FRQS will perform relevance review to identify applications that are in alignment with the objectives and research areas of this funding opportunity.
  • Canadian applicants who participate in a Full Application to the European Commission funding opportunity must complete a CIHR application and submit it through ResearchNet by April 18, 2018.
  • The purpose of this additional application to CIHR is to provide CIHR with an Operating Budget for the project (with the amounts quoted in Canadian dollars, and a complete justification for funds requested) and a one page research summary.

Contact information

For guidance on proposal submission for the European Commission funding opportunity please refer to the H2020 Online Manual.

For all inquiries about this funding opportunity on ResearchNet please contact:

CIHR Contact Centre

Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178

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