Canada Biomedical Research Fund: Stage 1: Research hubs selection

How to Apply: 

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a research hub, please contact the Office of Research ( no later than April 12, 2022.

Through Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy (“the Strategy”), the Government of Canada is investing more than $2.2 billion over seven years to continue growing a strong, competitive biomanufacturing and life sciences sector, and to ensure Canada is prepared for future pandemics by increasing domestic capacity through investments and partnerships to produce life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. The Strategy includes the following foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms:

  • Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF): An investment of $250 million to create a tri-agency program administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies (“the agencies”): SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), to support high-risk, applied research, training and talent development partnership projects.
  • Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF): An investment of $500 million for the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support the bioscience infrastructure needs of postsecondary institutions and research hospitals.
  • Clinical Trials Fund: A future investment of $250 million for CIHR to support research teams and infrastructure across the country to conduct clinical trials that test vaccines and therapies, treatments and interventions to prevent, detect, treat or manage various diseases or medical conditions.

The CBRF and BRIF are based on an ecosystem approach, designed to build on existing assets and infrastructure, and to forge partnerships across multiple sectors, including industry and government research facilities. This is consistent with the holistic approach to investments under the Strategy. To maximize impact and ensure investments complement and reinforce each other, the programs feature a two-stage, integrated competitive process:

  • Stage 1: selection of three to five research hubs
  • Stage 2: open, national call for partnered applied research, research-training, and infrastructure projects associated with the selected research hubs.

Only research hub applications aligned with the Strategy and proposing demonstrable contributions toward pandemic preparedness and the following goals will be considered for funding:

  • Increase specialized infrastructure, and capacity for multidisciplinary, applied research. Address priority pandemic pathogens and emerging health threats through development of novel vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Focus on areas in which Canadian research is cutting-edge, while addressing critical gaps that limit biomanufacturing.
  • Support training and development, to expand the pipeline of skilled research and talent. Attract and develop highly qualified personnel, such as students, postdoctoral researchers and early career researchers, across all disciplines; and technicians with industry-relevant skills and training in research, engineering and biomanufacturing, including good laboratory practice (GLP) and good manufacturing practice (GMP) laboratories and facilities training.
  • Accelerate the translation of promising research into commercially viable products and processes. Build on receptor capacity among public and private developers of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; support the generation of intellectual property in Canada; and increase the capacity of institutions to work collaboratively with companies, including those supported through the Strategic Innovation Fund.

The aim is to improve pandemic readiness and sector growth by strengthening research and talent capacity in Canada, and contributing to and leveraging collaborations across the entire biomanufacturing ecosystem and various sectors. The focus is pathogens with the greatest pandemic potential, especially respiratory and zoonotic diseases. Priority pathogens include those identified by the World Health Organization, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Being ready for future pandemics requires targeting research, infrastructure and talent investments toward developing emerging vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic technologies that can be produced at scale in Canada, and that have the potential to address a range of pandemic pathogens (e.g., mRNA, viral vector, protein subunit, small molecules, antivirals, monoclonal antibodies, immunomodulators).

This targeted investment strategy will provide companies in Canada with a pipeline of relevant research and talent, as well as access to GMP-grade laboratories, through collaborations with postsecondary institutions and research hospitals. To further support pandemic readiness, the Strategic Innovation Fund is investing in private sector drug development and biomanufacturing. Research hubs are encouraged to consider these complementary investments, as applicable.

Research hub applicants have flexibility to design their programs of research guided by the strategic objectives above, based on the potential hub’s collective strengths and existing areas of partnership with industry and government.

In Stage 1, applications for research hubs must clearly indicate how the funding requested would support the research hub’s ability to significantly advance the Strategy and the strategic objectives of the funding opportunity. Potential hubs must also demonstrate how their collaborations would draw on key capabilities at institutions across Canada, and on partnerships with government and industry.

In Stage 2, research project applications and infrastructure requests associated with selected research hubs must demonstrate how the requested funds would contribute to the hub’s program of research, and significantly advance the Strategy’s goals and the funding opportunity’s strategic objectives.

External Deadline: 
Thursday, May 19, 2022
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