Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies

On April 23, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new funding for CIHR to create the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (the Centre) as part of a suite of investments to deal with COVID-19.

The Research Centre will equip CIHR to ensure Canada has an “emergency-ready” health research system. The Research Centre will build on Canada’s research strengths and continue to grow its capacity to be a leader in preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from existing and future pandemics and public health emergencies.

Why a Research Centre?

There is no doubt that research investments during a pandemic or health emergency (“peak time”) are necessary but on their own they are insufficient to ensure that Canada is well-equipped in an ongoing way to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events. Sustained, coordinated research investments will help ensure Canada has an emergency-ready health system. The Research Centre will play the crucial role of ensuring Canadian researchers and decision-makers are engaged, connected and ready to apply scientific knowledge about pandemics and other health emergencies.

The Research Centre will be housed within the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR is well positioned to support the work of the Research Centre as it already plays a strong role within the federal Health Portfolio by providing scientific leadership and has a track record of effectively supporting Canada’s research response during health emergencies.

The Research Centre is a key part of CIHR’s new Strategic Plan and is designed to enhance the Agency’s rapid response research capacity.

Based at CIHR, the Research Centre will be able to leverage the resources and connections of our 13 Institutes and have access to the most comprehensive database of health researchers in the country.

What will the Research Centre do?

The Research Centre’s mission is to protect the health of all Canadians by developing and mobilizing research for pandemic and health emergency preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery that contributes meaningfully to timely, equitable and effective responses and recovery.

Coordinated Evidence Base and Capacity

  • Research priority-setting and funding
  • Build capacity and leverage current pandemic and health emergency infrastructure
  • Harmonize existing investments

Collaborative Leadership

  • Lead national and international health emergency research events
  • Engage Indigenous communities
  • Provide a single window for the Government of Canada for pandemic and health emergency research

Knowledge Mobilization

  • Science communication
  • Equip policy- and decision- makers with research evidence
  • Broker relationships between Government and other actors in this space

Continuous Improvement at CIHR

  • Evaluate CIHR responses to health emergencies
  • Enable specialized data mining
  • Improve investment synergy

The Research Centre will work with key stakeholders to identify priorities, coordinate activities, and make targeted investments. It will complement but not duplicate the work of other actors in this space (e.g., the Research Centre will not undertake pandemic surveillance activities).

Next steps

The Research Centre will be recruiting for a variety of positions. Those details will be available on the Careers section of the CIHR website.

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