Government of Canada invests $27M in coronavirus research

News release

March 6, 2020 – Montreal, Quebec – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has been working with provinces, territories, and international partners to protect the health and well-being of Canadians. As more countries begin to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks, the Government of Canada is investing in Canadian researchers to learn more about this novel coronavirus and to develop tools and resources to combat it.   

To further contribute to global efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak, today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, and the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced an investment of nearly $27 million to fund coronavirus research. Due to the overwhelming response to the call for research applications, the Government of Canada increased its original investment from $7 million to $27 million. This investment will support 47 research teams from across Canada that will focus on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministers made the announcement with the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board.

The research will help inform clinical and public health responses, develop and evaluate diagnostic tools and vaccines, as well as create strategies to tackle misinformation, stigma, and fear. The Government of Canada is providing the funding for this research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and Genome Canada (GC).


“Canada’s researchers are some of the best in the world, and this funding will allow them to conduct groundbreaking research on a novel coronavirus. Protecting the health and well-being of all Canadians is our top priority, and the research conducted thanks to this funding will contribute to mitigating the outbreak of COVID-19.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

“Our government knows that science is at the heart of innovation and a top priority to keep Canadians safe and healthy. Today’s investment will go a long way to help support life-saving research, as we collaborate with international partners to manage the coronavirus outbreak.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This rapid-response collaboration mobilizes the best of what Canada can offer, paired with strong expertise from partner countries, to contribute towards real solutions to address COVID-19. The research funded through this initiative will have a global scope, in recognition of the needs of the less developed countries at high risk from this outbreak.”

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development

“Research is a vital component of the response to emerging disease outbreaks. The research to be undertaken by the successful teams will help to answer some of our most pressing questions about COVID-19 and help to develop the tools we need to effectively respond to this global public health emergency.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Quick facts

  • Projects funded through this call will build on existing networks, infrastructure and relationships with partners in Canada and internationally. 

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Some coronaviruses transmit between animals, some between animals and people, and others from people to people. 

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Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Thierry Bélair
Office of Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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