Background on the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies
Background and Rationale
Around the world, human or extreme weather-related disasters, infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics are on the rise and can create emergencies that have major adverse effects on human health. Domestically and globally, the impact of health emergencies is felt most acutely by people who are already facing physical, social and economic challenges, and who face structural and systemic barriers to their well-being.
While emergency-specific, response-focused investment is necessary, crisis-driven research funding alone is insufficient to maximize the potential financial and societal returns and protect the health of Canadians. There is a need to move from reactive, response-focused investments to proactive investments in prevention, response, preparedness and recovery, and to strengthen international collaboration to build global capacity.
Informed by these needs, and as part of a broader suite of research investments to respond to COVID-19 and better prepare Canada for future health emergencies, on January 14, 2022, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced the creation of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (Research Centre) with an ongoing investment of $18.5 million per year.
Objectives and Contributions to CIHR’s 2021-2031 Strategic Plan
Housed at CIHR, the newly established Research Centre funds health emergency research, capacity building and knowledge mobilization. It also builds and stabilizes expert capacity within CIHR that enables domestic and international health emergency research responses and knowledge mobilization, and that supports purposeful applications of lessons learned within CIHR.
The Research Centre is a cornerstone investment to accelerate CIHR’s 2021-2031 Strategic Plan and will contribute to top-level priorities, associated with strengthening Canadian health research capacity, and building on Canada’s research strengths to grow its capacity to be a leader in preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from existing and future pandemics and public health emergencies.
Ultimately, the Research Centre will support the CIHR Act, which mandates CIHR to address emerging health threats and challenges as well as accelerate the related discovery of cures, treatments and improvement to health care, prevention and wellness strategies.
To support the development of the Research Centre’s funding opportunities, processes and mechanisms, a working definition of health emergency has been developed, and will be refined by the Research Centre’s governance structures:
"A present or imminent event or phenomenon, of a temporary, acute nature, with actual or potential significant negative impacts on human health, resulting in:
- A serious disruption of the functioning of a geographic, social or other community, and/or
- The declaration of a state of emergency by a municipal, provincial/territorial, federal or Indigenous government, or international partner/s, and that;
- Requires prompt research action to address the immediate/acute health impacts"
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