Call for letter of intent: Public health measures for COVID-19 response research funding opportunity


This invitation to submit a letter of intent is now closed. The following is for information purposes only.

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The Public Health Measures Guidance Division within the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is seeking to fund research that investigates the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical public health measures (PHMs) implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures are interventions that can be implemented to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in communities, and include:

This funding opportunity is focused on investigating non-pharmaceutical PHMs. It does not include pharmaceutical interventions such as COVID-19 vaccines, antivirals and therapeutics. Results should be expected to inform federal policy and recommendations regarding PHMs for COVID-19, and possibly other respiratory infectious diseases.

We're inviting researchers to submit letters of intent for projects that address the objectives and priorities of the PHMs for COVID-19 solicitation (see objectives). This solicitation is the first step in a 2-stage process beginning with a letter of intent. We will notify successful applicants and invite them to submit a funding request in fall 2022.


Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has represented the largest public health crisis that Canada has faced in the last century. This has led to unparalleled effort and investment for pandemic response in an attempt to mitigate its effects. The primary goal of the federal, provincial and territorial COVID-19 response plan has been to minimize serious illness and overall deaths while minimizing societal disruption.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, PHMs have been one of the primary tools available to reduce COVID-19 transmission in communities. PHMs are interventions that can help reduce the transmission of respiratory illnesses in communities, including:

Over 2 years have passed since Canada first implemented PHMs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Different measures have been implemented at different times and in different contexts at the municipal, provincial, territorial and federal level across Canada. At this point in the pandemic, it's crucial that we rigorously assess the impact of these PHMs. Understanding their effectiveness will:

This type of research will contribute to creating a stronger, more informed and more resilient public health system that is prepared for future emergencies and will contribute to improving the health of those who live in Canada.

This call for proposals focuses on filling knowledge gaps related to the effectiveness of PHMs implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.


This opportunity's objective is to support 2 research projects that have a focus on examining the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical PHMs that have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specific PHMs of interest include:

Projects focused on pharmaceutical interventions including vaccines, antivirals and other therapeutics are not eligible.

Applicants may submit research projects in the form of:

The following types of projects are considered within the scope of this funding opportunity:

Note that this list is not exhaustive and is only intended to provide examples.

Research projects should aim to inform federal policy and recommendations regarding PHMs and COVID-19 and possibly other respiratory infectious diseases.

For examples of relevant PHAC PHM guidance products, see:

Applicants who are unsure if their proposed project aligns with the funding opportunity objectives are encouraged to submit a letter of intent for assessment.


Eligible applicants include:

Principal applicants must be affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution or an affiliated institution, including:

Individuals working with municipal, provincial and territorial governments are also eligible where the research proposed is not already funded by that government sector. Applicants must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term.

Other considerations for applications

Official language requirement

The Government of Canada is committed to:

Funding recipients may be expected to report on their actions with regard to official language minority communities. We encourage applicants to submit a letter of intent in the official language of their choice.

Learn more about:

Gender-based analysis requirements

The Government of Canada is committed to using Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the development of policies and programs. GBA+ considers gender as well as other identity factors such as:

As the objective of this proposed project is to inform federal recommendations and policies, we expect applicants to incorporate these considerations into their application.

Learn more about:

Working within First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities

The impact of colonization on First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada has had a devastating impact on their health and wellness. As a result, First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada face specific challenges and have unique experiences with the social determinants of health.

We encourage organizations and research teams to submit a letter of intent if they are:

We will consider various approaches to research, including appropriate research methodologies for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

Research ethics approval

All projects that involve research with humans must be approved by a research ethics board that adheres to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. The project lead should also consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement website before the research project begins.

External review

We may show letters of intent to external reviewers, such as:

By submitting a letter of intent, you agree to possible external review of your proposal.

Applicant capacity

Applicants must demonstrate that they and their collaborators have:

Funding details

Project duration: 12 months, beginning March 2023 and concluding February 2024

Amount: up to $150,000 per project

Eligible expenses

Eligible costs include such expenses as:

A detailed budget is not required as part of your letter of intent. However, we will ask you to provide a budget if you are invited to submit a funding request.

You may not incur project expenses until all parties accept the grant letter.

Ineligible activities and expenses

The following activities and expenses are not eligible for funding:

Stand-alone activities are also not eligible for funding. These could include:

These activities are considered stand-alone when they are unrelated to the research project.

Submission process and deadline

You must complete your letter of intent using PHAC's template. The letter must be:

Email us for a copy of the template, or for additional information about this call for letters of intent.


The deadline for submissions is 11:59 am (ET) on October 14, 2022. Funding will be subject to budgetary and project considerations.

Email your submission to with:

We will email you to acknowledge receipt of your proposal. Make sure that your email address is included in your application.

Rights and obligations

PHAC is under no obligation to enter into a funding agreement as a result of this letter of intent process.

We also reserve the right to:

Please note that we will not reimburse an applicant for costs incurred in the preparation and/or submission of a proposal in response to this solicitation.

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