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CIHR-III Announcements

Forwarded on behalf of the Grants Coordinators, Office of Research Services. Please forward to interested faculty and/or students within your unit and post.

Further details on processes for institutional review and approval of applications are available at

Contact information for Office of Research Services Grants Coordinators:

Contact for Faculty of Medicine, Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work, HKR, and Grenfell Campus is Vicki Gill, , 709-864-3045.
Contact for Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Engineering, and Marine Institute is Karen Follett,, 709-864-8252.
Contact for Faculty of Science, Business Administration, Education, School of Music, and the Labrador Institute is Tasha Harrold, , 709-864-4745.

Funding Opportunity Pre-Announcement

Canadian Immunization Research Network

While many people believe that immunization rates in Canada are generally high for childhood and adolescent vaccine preventable diseases, according to data obtained from the Childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey, vaccine coverage estimates for most routine childhood vaccines remain below national targets set for immunization in Canada. This has significant implications for public health and the spread of vaccine-preventable communicable diseases. There have been sporadic outbreaks of measles (9 outbreaks since 2006), mumps and rubella in several jurisdictions, indicating that Canada is susceptible to imported and endemic vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) and that there are pockets of non-immunized or under-immunized populations vulnerable to the introduction of such infectious agents which could lead to disease outbreaks.

To ensure that the recommended levels of immunization are achieved, immunization programs must be optimized in terms of quality, timeliness, cost-effectiveness and safety, which will require improvements in monitoring, evaluation and research. Such activities must be done in a collaborative fashion, with cooperation between researchers, decision and policy makers, and knowledge users from various disciplines and fields of expertise.

There is also the need to develop a rapid research response platform that is nimble and accessible during public health crises. Should an infectious disease outbreak occur and research funding become available, the community must be able to respond in an efficient and effective way to answer the important questions and address the key challenges. Tied in to the need for improved immunization programs is the requirement to improve public and professional confidence in vaccination. Reviews performed by federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as by academics, industry and non-governmental organizations have identified a decline in public and professional confidence in vaccines in general. Respondents expressed worries that vaccines can cause health problems, such as autism or sudden infant death syndrome and are hesitant to have their children vaccinated. This is an issue of critical importance, as there are on average 380,000 new births every year in Canada.

2013 Canadian Immunization Research Workshop
In March 2013, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) jointly organized a workshop to discuss research priorities related to vaccine-preventable diseases, in areas such as innovation, implementation and public attitudes towards vaccines. The goal of this workshop was to seek input from various researchers and other stakeholders to help inform the strategic direction and format of potential future funding opportunities that would support the implementation of a national immunization research program. Specifically, CIHR and PHAC sought input on how to address a number of issues related to vaccines and vaccine research in Canada. The secondary objective of the workshop was to provide researchers with an opportunity to meet and develop collaborations. To ensure that the topics and issues discussed were addressed through a multi-disciplinary approach, workshop invitees came from a variety of disciplines including vaccine biology, clinical research, public health, health policy, and ethics. Experts in attendance noted that while Canada has a significant amount of expertise and research capacity in the area of vaccines and immunization, there is a need for a coordinated and collaborative research effort for immunization programs. If you would like a copy of the workshop report, please contact Jennifer Raven.

New Funding Opportunity: Canadian Immunization Research Network
To address the needs identified at the workshop, CIHR and PHAC are partnering to launch a new funding opportunity, which will support the formation of a single Canadian Immunization Research Network. The proposed Network will undertake coordinated, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary vaccine-related evaluation research including the examination of various biomedical research questions and aspects of the vaccine life cycle including safety, short- and long-term effectiveness and protection, as well as social issues like hesitancy and uptake. The Network will create new capacity for timely evaluation of vaccines for a variety of infectious diseases, improve immunization programs and coverage nationwide, and build strong links between the research community and key decision makers. Accordingly, the Network will contribute to the establishment of a clinical trials resource for vaccine-preventable diseases and create research infrastructure that could be rapidly mobilized and used in the event of an infectious disease outbreak.

The Network will be comprised of teams who will be linked and who will each be comprised of researchers spanning CIHR’s four themes (biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; social, cultural, environmental and population health). Although each team will focus on a separate aspect of vaccine and immunization research, their activities will be coordinated to form a larger, concerted research strategy. The successful network will also have the capacity to respond to unexpected outbreaks or infectious disease pandemics through its unique governance and built in response mechanisms.

This multi-year funding opportunity will be launched in the fall of 2013.