CIHR Operating Grant: Healthy Cities Research Initiative Data Analysis Using Exisiting Databases and Cohorts

Aboriginal Peoples
Governance and Public Policy
Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: inquire with unit

Memorial Deadline: Friday 3rd, November 2023

External Deadline: Wednesday 8th, November 2023


The environments in which we live, work, and play are critical to our health, development, and well-being. Evidence shows that urban environments influence our behaviours and impact our biology. With an estimated 74%1 of Canada’s population living in urban areas, and over 55%2 of the global population being urbanized, understanding the health promoting potential of cities is an important area of research that can have a big impact on health across population groups.

This applies to Canada’s Indigenous populations as well with the percentage of Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas having increased by 12.5% since 2016 with over 800,000 Indigenous Peoples living in cities across the country3. Governments and communities can harness this potential to improve health by promoting physical activity, healthy eating, social and cultural connectivity, economic opportunity and injury prevention, as well as access to culturally safe health and social services, clean air, nutritious food, safe and affordable housing, and green space.

As the number of urban dwellers continues to rise, so too does the need to reflect on practices and policies that perpetuate colonialism, racism, ableism, and sexism. While urban environments have the potential to become engines of good health and health equity, thoughtful and community-informed planning must be undertaken when designing programs and spaces for all, especially those who have historically faced barriers, including but not limited to those marginalized by gender, Indigenous Peoples, racialized minorities, persons with disabilities, and members of LGBTQ2S+ communities. The Healthy Cities Research Initiative (HCRI), a multi-Institute initiative, aims to help us understand which solutions will work best to achieve positive health outcomes – as well as how cities can put these solutions into action – in ways that will be impactful, sustainable and equitable.

This HCRI funding opportunity will support research that leverages existing data to improve the health, wellness and health equity of urban populations. CIHR and other funding agencies have invested heavily in the establishment of cohorts, databases, and data platforms. As a result, many high-quality data sets exist that contain a wealth of information and have the potential to answer research questions that go beyond those for which the data were originally collected or for which the data has been used to date. Examples of such resources include but are not limited to data available through Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) (Updated: 2023-06-07) and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), as well as administrative datasets, surveys, large data linkage projects and cohort catalogues that bring together datasets from multiple sources such as the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE).

Research Areas

This funding opportunity will support projects relevant to the following two (2) research areas:

  1. Healthy Cities Intervention Research General Pool
    The general pool will fund projects that use existing cohort data, administrative datasets, surveys, registries, and data platforms and that are relevant to the HCRI’s goal and objectives. As important collaborators on the overall HCRI, Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) are partnering in-kind to promote the use of existing data to advance healthy cities intervention research and implementation science. See Statistics Canada’s Data available at the Research Data Centres page and CIHI’s Data Request page for details on the data resources available. Please note that applications are not required to use Statistics Canada or CIHI data, nor will preference be given to those proposals that do use their data.
  2. Healthy Cities Intervention Research Urban Indigenous Health Pool
    The Urban Indigenous Health Pool will fund projects that in addition to aligning with the requirements of the general pool, also focus on urban Indigenous Health Research. This pool seeks applicants who self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) and/or can provide evidence of meaningful and culturally safe engagement with Indigenous Peoples in a health research environment. Projects must be in alignment with CIHR’s definition of Indigenous Health Research.

See ResearchNet for more information.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: August 18, 2023