International partnership supports vaccine research to prevent future outbreaks

News release

Investment will strengthen pandemic preparedness and accelerate career development for Canadian vaccine researchers

April 26, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Global Affairs Canada

Canadian and international experiences with infectious disease outbreaks, including most recently with the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the importance of continuing to build global expertise in epidemic and pandemic preparedness and ensuring Canadian researchers remain leaders in vaccine development.

Today, as part of the National Immunization Awareness Week, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced an investment of over $100 million to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Through this investment, Global Affairs Canada is providing $100 million to support CEPI’s new five-year strategic plan, CEPI 2.0, to help accelerate the development of vaccines and reduce the vaccine development time to 100 days for a range of known and emerging infectious diseases, including those with pandemic potential. It will also contribute to global equitable access to vaccines during outbreaks, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

This investment also supports a new partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and CEPI to provide $2.7 million in grant funding to five Canadian researchers to pursue projects that will help prepare for future epidemic and pandemic threats such as COVID-19, Lassa Fever, and Disease X — which represents unknown pathogens with pandemic potential. The recipients of the CIHR-CEPI Leadership Award for Excellence in Vaccine Research for Infectious Diseases of Epidemic Potential are:

  • Dr. Hélène Decaluwe, Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine
  • Dr. Alyson Ann Kelvin, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Manish Sadarangani, University of British Columbia
  • Dr. David Safronetz, University of Manitoba
  • Dr. Karina Top, Dalhousie University

The research projects will range from studying immune responses to enhance vaccine development, to using universal vaccine approaches to protect against future coronaviruses. They will also increase our understanding of vaccine challenges in low- and middle-income countries and build global capacity for vaccine safety evaluation.


“Responding to global health security threats requires international collaboration and strong relationships between partners. Canada’s renewed partnership with CEPI will further enable Canadian vaccine researchers to work with experts in vaccine research from around the world to help strengthen our preparedness for future epidemics and pandemics. Congratulations to the recipients and thank you for your commitment to saving lives through vaccines.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“The health and safety of Canadians has been the Government’s top priority, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and it has invested heavily internationally, which also protects Canadians. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the serious health, economic, social and security impacts that infectious diseases can have. Continuing to invest to ensure that vaccines and other effective medical countermeasures are available quickly and early is essential to help mitigate these risks.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“Our government remains committed to investing in vaccine research and health security preparedness here in Canada and around the world. Thank you and congratulations to the recipients – your work is pivotal and indispensable.”

Anita Vandenbeld
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to be prepared for future disease outbreaks. Our investment in this CIHR-CEPI partnership will advance the career development of leading Canadian vaccine researchers and provide governments with the knowledge and tools to fend off future global infectious disease threats.”

Dr. Michael J. Strong
President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with CEPI, which will provide an exciting professional development opportunity for Canadian infection and immunity researchers to build and share leading-edge skills across CEPI and its network. This investment will create new scientific knowledge and opportunities for collaboration across nations to advance CEPI’s and Canada’s scientific capacity to tackle COVID-19 and other pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential.”

Dr. Charu Kaushic
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

“I am enormously grateful to the Government of Canada for taking decisive action to combat the ever-increasing threat posed by infectious disease outbreaks through its generous pledge to CEPI. As we strive to get ahead of future epidemics and pandemics for the benefit of all, Canada’s continued leadership on the global stage and the contribution of its outstanding life sciences institutions will be key to our success. The CIHR-CEPI awards build upon CEPI’s long-standing alliance with Canada to leverage the world-class expertise of Canadian researchers to enhance  global health security.”

Dr. Richard Hatchett
CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

Quick facts

  • CEPI is a world leader in supporting research into vaccine development and enabling equitable access to vaccines. It is known for co-leading the COVAX program that is supplying developing nations with COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Since 2017, Canada has provided a total of $114 million to CEPI to support their first strategic cycle (CEPI 1.0), which includes $90 million for COVID-19 vaccines and $24 million to support vaccine research and development efforts for high consequence pathogens of security concern.

  • The Government of Canada applies a multi-sectoral, whole-of-government approach to support CEPI’s work. CEPI also has partnerships with life sciences institutions in Canada including the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease OrganizationNexelis, and VBI Vaccines.

  • Through this investment, the Government of Canada and CEPI are accelerating the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases that have the potential to cause epidemics and pandemics.

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Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Haley Hodgson 
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Media Relations Office 
Global Affairs Canada

CEPI Press Office

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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