Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity Results

227 eligible applications submitted, 99 grants funded, $54.2M total investment

(2020-03-31): Through a contribution from Research Manitoba, Research Nova Scotia, and Alberta Innovates, CIHR was able to fund an additional three grants, bringing the total number of funded grants to 99 and a total investment of $54.2M.

On March 19, 2020, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced an additional investment of $25.8M to the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research competition. This additional funding is a portion of the $275M dedicated for COVID-19 research as announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020. With this investment, CIHR will be able to fund an additional 49 grants, which brings the total number of grants funded to 96 and a total investment of $52.6M

Funding for the competitions is provided through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Genome Canada (GC).

Partner Contribution
Canadian Institutes of Health Research* $42,237,109*
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada $714,250
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council $858,462
Canada Research Coordinating Committee (through NFRF) $7,000,000
International Development Research Centre $1,498,188
Genome Canada $244,715
Research Manitoba $800,000
Research Nova Scotia $125,000
Alberta Innovates $846,110
*Note: CIHR’s contribution includes funding from the Emerging Health Threats Fund, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences Mental Health and Addiction, and from emergency contributions from the Government of Canada (including the $25M announced on March 19, 2020).

Peer review process

The peer review process relied on the time and dedication of experts across the health research spectrum. For this competition, a total of 118 individuals reviewed applications as part of the peer review process. Due to the urgent nature of this competition, an expedited review process was employed with one stage of virtual peer review. Peer reviewers declared their conflicts and ability to review and were assigned to ensure that there was an appropriate expertise on each application. Applications were assigned to three reviewers and the significant majority (99.6%) of reviewers had a high or medium declared expertise on their assigned applications.

Reviewers submitted an anonymized written review with strengths and weaknesses of the application in relation to the evaluation criteria as well as an overall rating. These ratings were averaged to determine the final score and to generate rank ordered lists.

Results by research area and priority

Applications were submitted as either medical countermeasures or social/policy countermeasures. In the medical countermeasures research area, 52 of the 117 applications were funded with an investment of $36.5M and an average grant size of $702K. In the social/policy research area, 47 of the 110 applications were funded with an investment of $17.7M and an average grant size of $378K.

Beyond the medical and social/policy research areas, applications were further stratified to align with the WHO priorities: diagnostics; vaccines; therapeutics; clinical management; transmission dynamics and animal host, modelling; social and policy countermeasures; studying the public health response and its impact; and coordination, governance and logistics.

Applications were funded top-down within each of the eight priority areas to ensure a balanced response. These principles and process were used to fund applications in both waves of funding. There is not an equal number of applications funded within each priority area because of the differing application pressure by priority and because there are 5 priority areas associated with medical countermeasure and 3 priority areas associated with social/policy countermeasures.

Funding breakdown by research area and priority
Item Number Funded Total Number % Success Rate % of Total Funding Funded Amount
Overall 99 227 43.6% 100% $54,232,128
Medical countermeasures 52 117 44.4% 67.3% $36,482,436

Diagnostics

13 29 44.8% 18.0% $9,740,529

Vaccines

6 19 31.6% 9.3% $5,062,762

Therapeutics

17 43 39.5% 19.3% $10,464,470

Clinical management

7 11 63.6% 10.6% $5,739,152

Transmission dynamics and animal host, modelling Footnote 1

11 21 52.4% 11.8% $6,406,624
Social and policy countermeasures 47 110 42.7% 32.7% $17,749,692

Studying the public health response and it’s impact

23 49 46.9% 17.2% $9,323,830

Social dynamics, communications and trust

13 40 32.5% 8.6% $4,684,582

Coordination, governance and logistics

9 15 60% 5.2% $2,810,179
Geographical breakdown
  Number of applications submitted Percent of total applications submitted Number of applications funded Percent of applications funded
British Columbia 34 15.0% 14 14.1%
Alberta 34 15.0% 17 17.2%
Saskatchewan 5 2.2% 2 2.0%
Manitoba 12 5.3% 5 5.1%
Ontario 98 43.2% 38 38.4%
Québec 32 14.1% 17 17.2%
New Brunswick 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Nova Scotia 8 3.5% 4 4.0%
Prince Edward Island 3 1.3% 1 1.0%
Newfoundland and Labrador 1 0.4% 1 1.0%
Total 227 100.0% 99 100.0%
Other details
  Number of applications submitted Percent of total applications submitted Number of applications funded Percent of applications funded
Investigators who identify as female (overall) 65 29.0% 22 22.2%

Investigators who identify as female (medical countermeasure)

20 8.9% 5 5.1%

Investigators who identify as female (social/policy countermeasure)

45 20.1% 17 17.2%
Applications submitted in French (overall) 8 3.5% 3 3.0%

Applications submitted in French (medical countermeasures)

1 0.4% 1 1.0%

Applications submitted in French (social/policy countermeasures)

7 3% 2 2.0%
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