Canada Biomedical Research Fund
Through Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, the Government of Canada is investing more than $2.2 billion over seven years to continue growing a strong, competitive biomanufacturing and life sciences sector, and to ensure Canada is prepared for future pandemics. The Strategy includes these foundational investments to help build Canada’s talent pipeline and research systems, as well as foster the growth of Canadian life sciences firms:
Canada Biomedical Research Fund
- This investment of $250 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, is to create a tri-agency program administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf of the three federal research funding agencies: SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.
Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
- This investment of $500 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, is for the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support the bioscience infrastructure needs of postsecondary institutions and research hospitals.
The Strategy will improve Canada’s pandemic preparedness for years to come. It is driven by two objectives:
- to grow a strong, competitive domestic life sciences sector, with cutting-edge biomanufacturing capabilities, while creating good jobs for Canadians
- to make sure Canada is prepared for pandemics and other health emergencies in the future, including by increasing domestic capacity through investments and partnerships to produce life-saving vaccines and therapeutics
The Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF) and Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund (BRIF) are essential components of the Strategy, each designed to strengthen research systems and the talent pipeline.
The CBRF supports high-risk, applied research, training and talent development, as part of a suite of foundational investments to establish a resilient, robust domestic biomanufacturing sector in Canada. This fund contributes to the pipeline of new technologies and supports the translation of academic research into applications and commercial products. The CBRF supports initiatives on a larger scale than typically available via individual research funding agency programs. It encourages academic collaboration with industry, not-for-profit organizations and public sector partners, to accelerate translating promising life sciences discoveries into innovative products and processes; and facilitates skills and training needed to drive innovation and growth in Canada’s biomanufacturing industry.
The BRIF addresses the biosciences research infrastructure needs of postsecondary institutions, and strengthens their capacity to support pandemic preparedness and responses to emerging health threats. The BRIF helps advance promising discoveries and promote training and talent development in the biosciences. It also supports researchers working in a variety of settings in developing strong links with each other, and with users of research results in all sectors. The BRIFcreates environments to attract and train highly qualified research and technical personnel based on the needs of the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector.
A first BRIF phase was launched in September 2021 as a stand-alone competition. The $150 million investment responds to critical infrastructure needs by supporting containment levels 3 and 4 (CL 3 and 4) facilities capable of working with human pathogens. The funding will help institutions keep their facilities at the cutting edge, strengthen their capacity to work with industry and government to advance promising discoveries, and promote training and talent development in the biosciences.
Consistent with the holistic approach to investments under the Strategy, the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS) and the CFI will deliver the CBRF and remaining BRIF funding ($350 million) through an integrated competition. This will maximize the Strategy’s impact and ensure investments under the two programs complement and reinforce each other. The integrated competition will focus on bio-innovation ecosystem priorities and themes. It will invite proposals for research, training and infrastructure.
CBRF and BRIF governance is integrated into that of the Strategy, to ensure investments are coherent and aligned with the Strategy’s objectives, priorities and desired outcomes. To leverage and build on the assessments of experts, an arms-length strategic review committee will be composed of prominent research and industry leaders from multiple disciplinary sectors, including life sciences and the broad biomanufacturing sector. The committee will provide recommendations to ensure investments for the CBRF and BRIF are well aligned with and directly support the Strategy’s objectives and priorities.
Authority for approval of final award decisions for the CBRF is with the tri-agency programs (TIPS) Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the three federal research funding agencies; the CFI; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; and Health Canada. TIPS, housed within SSHRC, delivers and administers the CBRF on behalf of all three federal research funding agencies.
The CFI delivers and administers the BRIF, and the CFI’s Board of Directors approves the final award decisions.
Together, the CBRF and BRIF support high-risk, applied research, training and talent development, as well as research infrastructure, to advance the Strategy’s objectives and establish a resilient, robust domestic biomanufacturing sector in Canada.
The combined goals of the funds are to enhance Canada’s foundational biomanufacturing excellence and pandemic readiness by:
- addressing institutional research infrastructure needs
- developing the research and development and talent pipeline that drives downstream manufacturing capacity
In alignment with the Strategy, the CBRF and BRIF do the following:
- Support high-risk, applied biomedical research and training / talent development partnership projects. This includes responding to calls to take greater risks and fund initiatives on a larger scale than typically available via individual research funding agency programs, and building capacity to accelerate translating promising discoveries into product/service development.
- Support pandemic readiness and target funding to build on existing strengths and address key research gaps, in alignment with the Strategy.
- Enhance Canada’s pipeline of bio-innovation talent by including training opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and/or early career researchers, with a focus on skills applicable to the biomanufacturing sector.
- Support projects that fall under the mandate of any of the three federal research funding agencies and the CFI.
- Address infrastructure needs in postsecondary institutions and research hospitals to support pandemic preparedness and responses to emerging health threats.
- Support the development of strong links between researchers working in a variety of settings, including government laboratories, and between researchers and research result users in all sectors.
- Create an environment to attract and train highly qualified personnel that reflects and responds to the needs of the biomanufacturing and life sciences sector.
Grants awarded through the CBRF and BRIF are institutional grants.
Canada Biomedical Research Fund
Institutions that have met the eligibility requirements for any one of the three federal research funding agencies are eligible to administer CBRF funds. Expenses are considered eligible in accordance with the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration. The amount that can be used for indirect costs of research cannot exceed 25% of the amount allocated for supporting direct costs of research.
Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund
Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and not-for-profit research institutions considered eligible by the CFI can apply to the BRIF competition. The CFI will contribute to the operating and maintenance costs of BRIF-funded projects through its Infrastructure Operating Fund. In addition to the BRIF funding, institutions will automatically receive an allocation equivalent to 30% of the CFI contribution for funded projects.
Stage 1 Notices of Intent Submitted
Canada Biomedical Research Fund Notices of Intent
As part of the competition process and to facilitate opportunities for potential collaboration or multi-institutional initiatives, SSHRC has committed to publish the descriptions of Notices of Intent to apply to the first stage of the Canada Biomedical Research Fund competition.
The institutions listed below will be invited to submit a Stage 1 full application for a research hub.
The proposal summaries from the following institutions have been published in the language in which they were submitted:
- University of Alberta
- The University of British Columbia
- Université de Montréal
- University of Ottawa
- University of Toronto
- University of Waterloo
- University of Windsor
- Western University
University of Alberta
Application Title: The CBRF Prairie Hub: Unique Multidisciplinary Perspectives for Pandemic Preparedness
Summary of Proposal: The Prairie Hub for Pandemic Preparedness is an alliance of the Universities of Alberta (lead), Calgary, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan to accelerate development and commercialization of vaccine, antiviral and diagnostic countermeasures for potential pandemic pathogens. In parallel, the Hub will strengthen existing and incept new training programs to expand the pipeline of skilled personnel, including in GLP (GLP) and GMP spaces. We unite the largest consortium of virologists in Canada with vaccine/antiviral expertise, and immunology and infectious diseases experts, including world-leading machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers. Indigenous scholars and programs at each institution and our maturing EDI initiatives further strengthen our Hub. We also have unique strength and capacity in One Health - an interdisciplinary model recognizing interconnections between human, animal, and ecosystem health. As zoonotic pathogens spill over from animals to humans, and vice versa, their potential to propagate, mutate, and develop resistance is amplified. Thus, our approach enables rapid identification and mitigation of pathogens with pandemic risk through our domestic and global surveillance programs, as well as access to pathogen samples for biobanking. These pathogens will be rapidly assessed for development of vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic countermeasures. AI/ML-based design and screening allow for immediate integration of knowledge derived from structural validation and functional assays. The Hub hosts the largest high-containment space in Canada for infectious disease modeling in small and large animals and will be expanded at partner sites to allow for streamlined toxicity and other pre-clinical assessments. Promising countermeasure leads will be biomanufactured at academically-integrated facilities for early phase evaluations. Downstream production stages will be up-scaled at industry and government partner facilities. Our strong track records in start-ups and SME acceleration, along with strategic industry partnerships will accelerate commercialization timelines. Development, manufacturing, and commercialization stages will be integrated with training programs to increase Canada’s skilled talent in these spaces. Overall, our Hub will bolster pandemic readiness by uniting expertise in infectious diseases, biomanufacturing, and commercialization with a commitment to expand shared infrastructure and training programs across all partners.
Fields of Research: Vaccines; Machine learning; Medicinal chemistry; Virology; One Health approach; Antimicrobial resistance; Adaptive immunity; Structural biology (including macromolecular modelling); Enzymes; Infectious diseases
Keywords: small molecule antivirals; vaccine production; GMP ; pre-clinical; biomanufacturing; commercialization; diagnostics; consumables; zoonotic diseases; antimicrobial resistance; one health; pandemic preparedness / readiness; machine learning (ML); HQP training; virology
The University of British Columbia
Application Title: Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub: Engineering Immunity for Pandemic Responses
Summary of Proposal: The human immune system offers complex and powerful mechanisms to prevent and combat infectious diseases, including both natural immunity and by augmenting the immune system through vaccines and other advanced therapeutics. Applying engineering principles to discover and design a range of innovative interventions for re-programming the human immune system offers an enormous opportunity to address and respond nimbly to health threats-including epidemics, pandemics and microbial resistance-for the benefit of Canadians.
Canada’s Immuno-Engineering and Biomanufacturing Hub’s vision is to make Canada a global powerhouse for developing next-generation immune-based therapeutics in response to pandemics (e.g., biological-based vaccines and therapeutics, antibodies and cell-based therapeutics) that can be rapidly manufactured domestically using the latest innovations in biomanufacturing. Building on provincial ministry priorities and the profound contributions of BC’s biotech and life sciences ecosystem to COVID-19, we will align the critical mass of immuno-engineering with biomanufacturing and public health strengths concentrated in BC post-secondary institutions and industry, aligned with national assets at Dalhousie and (VIDO), to develop and produce innovative therapeutic products that target the human immune system’s response to pathogens. Specifically, we will establish a rapid pipeline that enables a 100-day response to a range of priority pathogens, including ‘Pathogen X’, beginning with discovery and genomic analyses, through design, development, biomanufacturing, bioprocessing, testing, and application.
Through strong and coordinated governance, the Hub will focus on existing and emerging areas of strength to: increase specialized infrastructure and capacity for multidisciplinary applied research, support training in biomanufacturing and development to expand the pipeline of skilled research and talent, and accelerate the translation of promising research into commercially viable products and processes.
By aligning the science of engineering immune responses to receptor capacity for rapidly developing and manufacturing innovative medical products, the Hub will be ready to pivot for pandemics arising from a range of threats, improve the quality of life of patients and populations and rapidly translate from discovery science through to biomanufacturing, clinical trials, and implementation with substantial impacts for the knowledge economy.
Fields of Research: Medical molecular engineering of nucleic acids and proteins; Gene and molecular therapy; Applied immunology (including antibody engineering, xenotransplantation and t-cell therapies); Antimicrobial resistance; Vaccines; Other medical and biomedical engineering; Health policy
Keywords: immuno-engineering; biomanufacturing; vaccines & therapeutics; pandemic preparedness; lipid nanoparticles; mRNA; antibodies; antimicrobials; biological resilience; pathogen surveillance; public health; structural biology; bioprocessing; pre-clinical pharmacology; clinical research
Université de Montréal
Application Title: The Eastern Canada Preparedness Hub - ECapH
Summary of Proposal: The ECapH is a unique bio-innovation and biomanufacturing ecosystem co-presented by three Quebec-based universities. With other major partners, universities, private, public, and non-for-profit organizations, the resulting environment builds on a long-standing tradition of engagement in a collaborative, complementary and synergistic relationship approach to offer Canada a resilient and agile response to future pandemic and health threats.
The strengths and singularities of the ECapH program rest on three major themes:
- Genomics-based Diagnosis and RNA-based Therapies for emerging infections
- Small Molecules, Immunomodulators and Cell Therapies
- Vaccine development, production and evaluation
The ECapH will also benefit from existing cross-cutting infrastructure and expertise:
- Biomanufacturing, Scaled processes and production
- Cutting-edge technology platforms directly linked to pandemic and other health threat preparedness
- Fully integrated pipeline for drug discovery and development including preclinical and clinical testing
- Worldwide leadership in artificial intelligence-accelerated R&D and manufacturing
- Strong link to the National Research Council of Canada in biomanufacturing, Public Health Agency of Canada and laboratories in zoonotic health threats
- Unique commercialization units with successful track records including significant venture capital, public investments, start-up funding
- Internationally recognized public health and social science expertise ensuring robust scientific evaluation of the impact of innovations to support policymakers’ decision process and inform the public
- A dedicated network of college and university centres for technology transfer
The ECapH encompasses industry-readiness training at multiple levels including requalification of professionals and dedicated programs providing students with experience in all aspects of pandemic preparedness and biomanufacturing allowing for highly tailored training spanning the entire innovation continuum from R&D to manufacturing.
ECapH’s governance and vision will ensure a collaborative and inclusive (EDI-proactive) hub. Scientific, training and commercialization committees comprised of multi-disciplinary and diverse representatives to mobilize the broader ecosystem, consolidate and align investments, accelerate translation of knowledge into concrete applications and train a robust and skilled workforce.
Fields of Research: Machine learning; Manufacturing processes and technologies (except textiles); Applied immunology (including antibody engineering, xenotransplantation and t-cell therapies); Antimicrobial resistance; Drug discovery, design and delivery; Higher education; Technical, further and workplace education; Sociology of healthcare; Vaccines; Nucleic acids
Keywords: RNA; Preclinical and clinical research; Antiviral and antimicrobial agents; Immunology; Medical chemistry; Genomic medicine; Bioprocessing and bioengineering; Large and non-human primate animal models; Public health; Adoption of innovations in health; Vaccines; Artificial Intelligence-accelerated discovery and processes
University of Ottawa
Application Title: Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H)
Summary of Proposal: The Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H) will be the first of its kind linking the private sector with intellectual capital, physical infrastructure, GMP facilities and biomanufacturing capacity across five leading Canadian universities|research centres: uOttawa(lead)|Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; McMasterU(lead)|Global Nexus; uSaskatchewan|Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization; uAlberta|Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing; and DalhousieU|Canadian Center for Vaccinology. Our vision is to transform research, clinical and manufacturing pipelines so Canada can pivot quickly to manufacture vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics in emerging epidemics/pandemics caused by respiratory, zoonotic or antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
With a strong track record of success, including the COVID-19 response, the hub’s members lead and collaborate with cross-Canada research and innovation networks, including Canada’s Immunotherapy Network (BioCanRx), Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (Co-VaRR-Net), COVID-19 Evidence Network (COVID-END), Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), and the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences (CASTL). CP2H also builds on dedicated partnerships with universities (Queen’s, Carleton, Toronto Metropolitan), colleges (Algonquin, La Cité, Mohawk), provincial/federal governments, public health, and (15+) private sector.
Leveraging collaborations across the entire Canadian biomanufacturing ecosystem, CP2H will:
- Expand existing research, GMP manufacturing infrastructure and talent investments to develop emerging therapeutic and diagnostic platforms and technologies, including viral vectors, vaccines (protein subunit, mucosal, VLP), RNA therapeutics, small molecules, antivirals, antibodies, and immunomodulators;
- Accelerate translation of our novel platforms/technologies into commercially viable products, and partner to rapidly test in early phase clinical trials;
- Coordinate, develop and support experiential training programs to address biomanufacturing talent gaps in good laboratory/manufacturing/clinical practices, bioprocessing and facility management;
- Embed equity, diversity and inclusion best practices throughout our program.
CP2H will catalyze research and biomanufacturing innovations - and work with other hubs - to position Canada as a global leader in emerging vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, enhancing the national capacity to prevent and respond to future pandemics.
Fields of Research: Vaccines; Drug discovery, design and delivery; Virology; Medical virology; Antimicrobial resistance; Bacteriology; Analytical biochemistry; Medical infection agents (including prions); Medical biotechnology diagnostics (including biosensors)
Keywords: Biomanufacturing; Commercialization; GMP/GLP/GCP training; RNA therapeutics; Antimicrobial resistance; Antibodies; Diagnostic innovation; Drug discovery; Flexible platforms; Immune monitoring; Vaccines - mucosal, protein subunit, VLP; Pandemic preparedness; Viral vectors; One Health; CTA/IND enabling
University of Toronto
Application Title: Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3)
Summary of Proposal: “How did the pandemic affect you?” is an inescapable question. A spectrum of outcomes is not unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Our personal genetic and immunological differences, environment and societal factors influence the symptoms and burden of any infection. The complex inter-relationships that determine outcome require pathogen- and host-specific treatments and varied personal and population-level interventions.
The Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence and Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3), anchored by the University of Toronto and its 14 affiliated hospitals, comprises established academic, government, not-for-profit, community and industry partnerships. We will evolve our COVID-19 comprehensive program to include other high-burden infectious diseases and ensure Canada can respond more rapidly and equitably to future pandemics.
HI3 will advance the concept of ‘personalized and precise medicine’ to consider someone’s genetics and medical condition, their environmental and immunological experience, and socioeconomic, life stage and community-level factors that influence their risk and outcomes from infection. It will provide a full spectrum of research to understand risk factors, microbe-specific pathogenic processes, clinical and public health challenges and test interventions, inform policy development, and achieve flexible biomanufacturing capacity to foster development of transformative patient care, community interventions and a forward-looking, experiential training program.
The ecosystem will leverage our research excellence in clinical microbiology, infectious disease, immunology, critical care, artificial intelligence, computational modeling and biomedical engineering; our strong record translating innovative ideas into practice; and our vast clinical trial network. Our collaborations have led to impactful outputs, including fundamental discoveries in viral biology and pathogenesis, pandemic responsive public policy, innovations in care and translation of novel diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutic interventions.
HI3 will be relentlessly innovative, translating fundamental insights into life-saving vaccines, therapeutics and clinical and public health interventions. Our mission is to reduce the burden of infections and increase biosecurity in Canada and around the globe so that in future pandemics the profound effects of illness, mental health issues, lockdowns, financial insecurity and other burdens are mitigated.
Fields of Research: Infectious diseases; Virology; Bacteriology; Mycology; Adaptive immunity; Other medical and biomedical engineering; Population health intervention; Applied immunology (including antibody engineering, xenotransplantation and t-cell therapies); One Health approach; Drug discovery, design and delivery
Keywords: Critical Care; Data Sciences; Immunology; Computational Modeling; Microbial Pathogenesis; Therapeutics; Biomedical Engineering; Genomics; Public Health; Social Determinants of Health; Clinical Microbiology; Immunopathogenesis
University of Waterloo
Application Title: Canadian Biologics Network Pandemic Preparedness Program (CBN-P3)
Summary of Proposal: The Canadian Biologics Network (CBN) is an innovative biologics platform bringing forward the next generation of therapeutic and diagnostic solutions. The CBN Pandemic Preparedness Program (CBN-P3) will act as a hub with collaborators across Canada and the globe to apply systems biology, antibody engineering, and animal models to develop biologics as therapeutic and diagnostic countermeasures to viruses with pandemic potential before their emergence and transmission. The four main nodes of the CBN platform will be based in three distinct regions of Canada. The University of Montreal will lead in disease signaling networks, including the design of unique methods to identify drug targets, mechanisms of action of candidate drugs, origins of genetic variation to drug responses, and potential drug interactions or adverse reactions. The University of Waterloo will lead in protein engineering and antibody drug discovery, as it houses a portfolio of thousands of potential biologic drugs and a pipeline for rapidly generating new antibodies. The University of Saskatchewan will lead in purposing biologics for imaging and therapy with expertise in molecular imaging, radioimmunotherapy, diagnostics, preclinical validation in animal models, and early phase human clinical trials. The University of Western Ontario will expand impact to include monitoring of the environment and assessing socio-economic benefits.
The CBN has assembled a multidisciplinary team with key core competencies to facilitate the translation of biologic therapeutics and diagnostics. Through the CBN-P3 hub, we will coalesce regional expertise and infrastructure into a state-of-the-art Canadian biologic drug development platform that stretches from coast-to-coast and encompasses all steps in the process, including: (1) drug target identification, characterization, and validation, (2) biologics discovery and engineering for therapeutic/diagnostic applications, (3) preclinical validation in animal models, and (4) early-phase clinical trials in humans to validate drug safety and efficacy. To maximize societal benefits, the hub will include socio-economic expertise to develop strategies and policies for commercializing biologics to ensure equitable access.
In summary, the CBN-P3 hub will create and support a synergistic national ecosystem to unite the best science across Canada to effectively translate biologics-based therapeutics and diagnostics into the clinic to fight pandemic threats.
Fields of Research: Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts; Molecular modelling and design; Computational biomodelling; Immunological and bioassay methods; Virology; Applied immunology (including antibody engineering, xenotransplantation and t-cell therapies)
Keywords: Recombinant multivalent antibodies; biomanufacturing; virology; Therapeutics; Biochemical engineering; Animal models; Diagnostics; Health care analytics; Cell-based models; Computational biology; Host-pathogen interactions; Intracellular inhibitors; Infectious disease surveillance; Synthetic biology; Systems biology
University of Windsor
Application Title: Rapid-response platform to evaluate pathogens with pandemic potential at border communities
Summary of Proposal: Windsor-Essex sits at the busiest border crossing in North America and is a strategically important centre for advanced manufacturing and agri-tech. With 20,000 annual migrant agri-workers from Mexico, Central and South America, and more than 6,000 residents commuting routinely to the USA, this region is particularly sensitive to the impacts of emerging pathogens. To meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we established a surveillance-based informative framework combining saliva and wastewater detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants to communicate real-time information to decision makers and the community.
Aligned with the strategic objectives of the CBRF, we propose to leverage this framework and the manufacturing strength of our region to enable the rapid detection of emerging pathogens needed to inform novel drug and vaccine development. Our screening and genomic sequencing platform will be combined with novel biosensor technologies to provide a multi-layered approach to counter the threats from pathogens with pandemic potential. Specifically, we propose to (1) engage with leaders in technology development and commercialization to translate academic research discoveries into commercially viable and disruptive processes and products with the broad market potential needed to improve public health across Canada and beyond, (2) harness the manufacturing strength of the Windsor-Essex region to meet supply chain demands of population based screening, (3) enhance the infrastructure needed to promote multidisciplinary research on public health problems among engineers, sociologists and scientists with a broad range of expertise in environmental, biomedical and data science, (4) further develop an integrated and sustainable training and development pipeline needed to provide a diverse and highly skilled pool of biomedical research personnel, (5) communicate evidence-based scientific information to underrepresented communities, border agencies and community stakeholders.
Our team incorporates trainees and early career researchers, and is founded with equity, diversity and inclusion as a priority. Leveraging regional and international partnerships with particular strengths in manufacturing, our proposal aims to enhance the infrastructure and training capacity needed to create bold new solutions that will protect our borders and most vulnerable populations while providing real-time data to inform rapid national responses to emerging pandemic pressures.
Fields of Research: Environmental biotechnology diagnostics (including biosensors); Medical biotechnology diagnostics (including biosensors); Immunological and bioassay methods
Keywords: Emerging pathogens; Health promotion; Infectious disease; Environmental microbiology; Public health; Cross-border trade; Genome sequencing
Application Title: Pandemic Readiness: Detect, Predict, Prepare, Respond (DPPR)
Summary of Proposal: The Pandemic Readiness: Detect, Predict, Prepare, Respond (DPPR) Hub comprises a consortium of academic institutions and industry, not-for-profit, and government partners. Through development of technologies and processes, DPPR will:
- 1) Detect: Establish infrastructure and methodologies that accelerate detection and evolution of pathogens in air, water, and biological samples (including wildlife monitoring), and broaden detection capabilities to include social media evidence and human-human transfer of contagious agents.
- 2) Predict: Leverage expertise in bioinformatics, computational and synthetic biology, predictive modelling and/or recombination approaches to create and bank viable candidates of vaccines, diagnostics and biotherapeutics (including monoclonal antibodies) against pathogens with potential to infect humans.
- 3) Prepare: Design and develop innovative devices and processes that accelerate production and testing of model diagnostic and antiviral therapeutic candidates. As a primary focus, the DDPR pipeline will leverage existing strengths in product engineering, preclinical and clinical testing, and partnerships to develop novel diagnostics and multi-valent antiviral antibody therapeutics for viruses with pandemic potential before their emergence and transmission.
- 4) Respond: Collaborate with industry and government partners to translate diagnostics and therapeutics into clinically validated therapies capable of being rapidly produced at scale in the event of an emergent pandemic.
The DPPR Hub will leverage expertise and resources among the academic, industry, government and not-for-profit sector partners that include environmental surveillance, unique facilities to study infectious diseases and their transfer, production of diagnostics and therapeutics, and testing in a range of preclinical and clinical settings. DPPR’s regional nature will enable development of innovative inter-sectoral collaborative training programs with content that reflects the multidisciplinary yet integrative nature of pandemic readiness.
The location of this Hub in South and Southwestern Ontario - but with national reach in partners - will offer unique insight into the impact of pandemics and solutions across a breadth of rural-urban and demographic representations of Canada’s geography and peoples, respectively.
Fields of Research: Computational biomodelling; Virology; Immunological and bioassay methods; Molecular modelling and design; Environmental monitoring; Applied immunology (including antibody engineering, xenotransplantation and t-cell therapies); Health information systems (including surveillance); Health policy; Vaccines; Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts
Keywords: vaccines; therapeutics; computational biology; infectious disease surveillance; biomanufacturing; biochemical engineering; health care analytics; One Health; synthetic biology; virology; diagnostics; monoclonal antibodies
The CBRF and BRIF are based on an ecosystem approach, designed to build on existing assets, infrastructure, partnerships and strengths of institutions, and to support targeted investments for maximum impact. The integrated program delivery features a two-stage competitive process:
- selection of three to five research hubs (co-led by the CFI and TIPS, and administered by TIPS)
- open, national call for proposed partnered research and infrastructure projects associated with the selected research hubs (co-led by the CFI and TIPS)
Research hubs are coalitions of research actors that integrate research organizations, including institutional, not-for-profit, private and/or public organizations. One eligible institution must be designated to serve as the anchor for the hub.
Building on existing capacity and a track record of investing in people, research and infrastructure, each hub pursues its research program of high-risk, applied biomedical research, training and talent development, and associated infrastructure to support the end-to-end biomanufacturing pipeline, in alignment with the Strategy. The hub’s research program could include addressing gaps in funding for precompetitive development of promising technologies, and promoting their transfer to Canadian companies.
Note: The competition to select research hubs is distinct from the first phase of the BRIF, which was specific to CL3 and CL4 facilities; eligible institutions and organizations may apply to both competitions.
Selection of the hubs and of the research, training and infrastructure projects is done through both peer review and strategic review committee processes.
Hub proposals must demonstrate the research hub’s ability to significantly advance one or more of the Strategy’s research priorities through collaboration among partners that draw on key capabilities at any number of institutions across Canada.
Hubs are expected to be multidisciplinary, pursuing research programs consisting of projects that cut across the mandates of the three federal research funding agencies to mobilize and integrate expertise and insights across disciplines in order to drive innovation.
Hubs are expected to include multiple partners (institutional, not-for-profit, private and/or public sectors) working towards common objectives, and to be inclusive. Research hubs with a critical mass of research, infrastructure, talent and clinical trial expertise will be well positioned to scale up rapidly and compete globally.
In the second stage of the competitive process, the research hubs selected endorse and coordinate the institutions’ research and infrastructure project submission under their hub’s research program. The selected hubs will receive funding to cover expenses related to collaborating and convening within their hub and across the hubs in Canada, to ensure inclusivity, coherence and alignment with the Strategy.
Call for proposals for projects associated with selected hubs (integrated competition with the CFI)
If you have questions or feedback about the CBRF, contact CBRF-FRBC@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca.
If you have questions or feedback about the BRIF, contact BRIF-FIRSB@innovation.ca.
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