Call for letter of intent: Transmission dynamics of respiratory infectious diseases research funding opportunity

Current status: Closed

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The Public Health Measures Guidance Division within the Public Health Agency of Canada is seeking to fund research that investigates the transmission dynamics of respiratory infectious diseases, including:

Specific areas of interest include:

Results should be expected to inform federal policy and recommendations regarding public health measures for respiratory infectious diseases, including:

We are inviting researchers to submit letters of intent for projects that address the objectives and priorities of this solicitation. This solicitation is the first step in a 2-stage process beginning with a letter of intent. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a funding request.


Respiratory pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza and RSV cause significant morbidity, mortality and socioeconomic disruptions. The circulation of these respiratory viruses can lead to a surge in hospital admissions and health care visits, straining health care resources. Interventions that can be implemented to help reduce the transmission and impact of respiratory infectious diseases include public health measures, such as:

When multiple respiratory infectious diseases circulate simultaneously, as was the case in the fall and winter of 2022–23, further pressure may be placed on:

This necessitates a more robust public health response.

Different respiratory infectious diseases may have varying:

This adds to the challenge of implementing evidence-based public health recommendations that minimize serious illness and overall deaths while minimizing societal disruption.

Understanding the transmission dynamics of different respiratory infectious diseases is essential for informing future public health policy, and can help guide the implementation of appropriate public health measures, including:

Furthermore, determining the duration for which individuals infected with these respiratory infectious diseases are contagious is crucial for establishing appropriate quarantine, isolation and contact tracing measures to reduce the risk of further transmission.

This call for proposals focuses on:

This type of research will:


This opportunity's objective is to support research projects that have a focus on examining transmission dynamics of respiratory infectious diseases, including:

The number of projects funded will be limited by the available funds and funding needs for the successful projects.

Applicants may submit research projects in the form of:

Research projects should aim to inform federal policy and recommendations regarding public health measures for respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19, influenza and RSV.

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

For examples of relevant guidance and advice products, refer to:

The following types of projects are considered within the scope of this funding opportunity. This list is not exhaustive and is only intended to provide examples.

Projects that investigate questions regarding risk of transmission and secondary attack rate throughout course of infection

For example:

  • What is the residual risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, influenza and/or RSV after a given amount of time?
    • This will inform measures for isolation or staying at home when sick.
  • What factors affect the frequency of secondary cases throughout the course of a primary case's infection?

Projects that investigate questions regarding duration and magnitude of viral shedding

For example:

  • What is the relationship between viral shedding and infectiousness or the infectious period? How well does viral load predict infectiousness?
  • How long do individuals with SARS-CoV-2, influenza and/or RSV infection shed virus?
  • How do host factors influence the duration and magnitude of viral shedding? Examples of factors include:
    • age
    • behaviours
    • vaccination status
    • physical characteristics

Projects that analyze data from outbreak investigations

For example:

  • What can community outbreak investigations demonstrate with respect to:
    • effectiveness of public health measures
    • transmission dynamics (including mode of transmission)
  • What is the observed effectiveness of individual or combined public health measures in preventing transmission during an outbreak? Examples of public health measures include:
    • masks
    • ventilation
    • cleaning and disinfecting

Projects that investigate questions using a combination of modelling and/or analytic methods

For example:

  • How do environmental factors influence risk of transmission? Examples of factors include:
    • ventilation
    • room size or capacity
  • What are the impacts of implementing individual and combinations of public health measures on the risk of transmission? Examples of public health measures include:
    • masks
    • ventilation
  • What key characteristics of different community settings are likely to play a role in transmission? Examples of settings include:
    • schools
    • workplaces


Eligible applicants include:

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

Individuals working with municipal, provincial or territorial governments are also eligible if 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.

Applicants and recipients of funding must ensure that their employees and directors are in compliance with the:

Where an applicant or a recipient employs or has a major stakeholder who is either a current or former (in the last 12 months) public office holder or public servant in the federal government, compliance with the code(s) must be demonstrated.

Contact us if you require further information at

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.

Learn more about:

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 2024 and concluding February 2025.

Amount: up to $200,000 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 standalone when they are unrelated to the research project.

Submission process and deadline

You must complete your letter of intent using our template. The letter must be:

We only accept letters of intent in Microsoft Word or PDF format.

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


The deadline for submissions is 12:00 pm (ET) on August 11, 2023. 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

The Public Health Agency of Canada 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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