Pre-Announcement: National Women’s Health Research Initiative: Innovation Fund - Biomedical Discovery Grant


As announced in Budget 2021, the National Women's Health Research Initiative, (NWHRI),  led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Institute of Gender and Health, and Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), aims to advance a coordinated research program that addresses under-researched and high-priority areas of women's health. The NWHRI will help to ensure new evidence improves women's, girls', and gender-diverse people's care and health outcomes.  

The NWHRI is composed of two funding streams: The Pan-Canadian Women's Health Coalition and the Innovation Fund. Two funding opportunities will be launched through the Innovation Fund to support research in areas of women's health that have been chronically underfunded and under-researched. The first Innovation Fund funding opportunity consists of one-year Biomedical Discovery Grants (the current funding opportunity). The second funding opportunity (to be launched later in 2023) will consist of operating grants to support three-year research projects in two areas of women's health: 1) translational research in healthcare diagnostics, therapeutics, and devices; and 2) healthcare implementation research to remove barriers to accessing healthcare.

Anticipated Timelines

*These dates are estimates and subject to change.

Funding Opportunity Launch: March 2023
Registration Deadline: June 2023
Application Deadline: July 2023
Funding Start Date: February 2024


The overarching vision of this Biomedical Discovery Grant funding opportunity is to support high risk, high reward research in high-priority areas of women's health research. This funding opportunity will support basic science and/or other types of preclinical studies that have the potential to make significant advancements in women's health.


The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are:

  • To promote Equity, Diversity and Inclusion-informed, cutting-edge, creative and outside the box research that has the potential to challenge, overturn or create new paradigms in high-priority areas of women's health.
  • To test highly innovative ideas and obtain the results necessary to catalyze new research or commercialization efforts that could subsequently be funded by larger grants.

Research Areas

This funding opportunity encourages projects in specific areas that have been chronically underfunded and under-researched. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis
  • Early detection of ovarian cancer
  • Early self-detection of breast cancer
  • Treatment for gynecologic conditions, including fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome and/or pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Treatment for perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms in cases where hormone therapy may not be suitable or desired
  • Development of non-hormonal female contraceptives
  • Gender-affirming hormone therapies

Funds Available

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partner(s) financial contributions for this initiative are subject to availability of funds. Should the Canadian Institutes of Health Research or partner(s) funding levels not be available or decrease due to unforeseen circumstances, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partner(s) reserve the right to reduce, defer or suspend financial contributions to grants received as a result of this funding opportunity.

It is anticipated that $2,000,000, will be available for this funding opportunity enough to fund approximately 13 discovery grants at a maximum of $150,000 for up to one (1) year.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this pre-announcement of this funding opportunity is subject to change and does not commit the Canadian Institutes of Health Research or partners to the requirements outlined in this version. The final funding opportunity will be published by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in the Funding Opportunity Database in ResearchNet in March 2023.

To Learn More

The official CIHR funding opportunity will be posted on ResearchNet in March 2023.

Contact Information

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


Disclaimer: The information contained herein is anticipatory only and does not represent an official funding commitment by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Accordingly, the information, contained herein may differ from the official funding opportunity that will be published on ResearchNet.

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