Launch of Operating Grant: COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity (May 2020)

The Government of Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a new rapid research funding opportunity to continue to mobilize science to fight COVID-19. This funding opportunity is a partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Alberta Innovates, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Research Manitoba, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, and Research Nova Scotia, with additional potential partners to be confirmed.


  • Accelerate the availability of high-quality and real-time evidence to support Canada’s rapid response to the global pandemic in order to better prevent, detect, treat and manage COVID-19;
  • Develop, test, and study the implementation of effective interventions to prevent, detect, treat, and manage COVID-19 at the individual and/or population levels by reorienting or amplifying existing research platforms, networks, and trials as well as funding new research projects within existing and established research infrastructure;
  • Enable Canadian engagement and coordination in national and international large-scale trials and better enable harmonized data collection, sharing of data, quasi-experimental and observational studies, and rapid large-scale evaluation of impact;
  • Provide evidence to inform clinical and health system management and public health response, and/or decision-making and planning within and across jurisdictions in Canada and internationally; and
  • Enhance local, national and/or international collaborative efforts, including in low- and middle-income countries, to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and related negative consequences.

Funding will support clinical trials, observational studies, implementation science or other relevant study designs to scale-up promising existing projects, reorient current research, or initiate new rapid response research to address COVID-19 in the identified research areas that include understanding the safety, efficacy, effectiveness, ethics, and implementation of:

  • vaccines, diagnostics, or therapeutics;
  • clinical management and health system interventions; and
  • social, policy, and public health responses and related indirect consequences.

Key dates

Application deadline: week of May 11, 2020
Peer review completed: week of May 25, 2020
Anticipated notice of decision: week of June 1, 2020
Funding start date: May 1, 2020

Please note that the source of funds for this competition will not be from the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition but are a part of the strategic whole of Government of Canada efforts.

Given the urgency of this funding competition, recruitment for peer reviewers will begin immediately. If you are interested and available to volunteer as a peer reviewer, please reach out to CIHR immediately at We thank applicants and peer reviewers in advance for their flexibility and understanding with respect to the need for this expedited process.

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