CIHR – Operating Grant: Mechanisms in Brain Aging and Dementia – Application

Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: Inquire within unit

Memorial Deadline: Thursday 6th, July 2023

External Deadline: Wednesday 12th, July 2023


Please note: The Memorial Deadline has been extended by an additional day to accommodate Mid-July holiday.

The goal of this Funding Opportunity (FO) is to advance the understanding about risk reduction and protective factors involved in promoting cognitive health and mitigating the changes that occur in the onset and progression of cognitive impairment and dementia in aging, while considering the intersection of different factors, including the social determinants of health and other structural and systemic barriers. The intent is also to build training and mentoring capacity for the next generation of researchers in the field.

As such, CIHR is launching this FO to enable expanded research on the impacts of resilience, resistance, cognitive reserve, neuroprotection and other mechanisms on the development and progression of age-related cognitive impairment and dementia, with a focus on knowledge mobilization (KM) practices throughout the research process to increase the usefulness and uptake of findings to relevant stakeholders, including partners and knowledge users.

The influence of factors such as resilience*, resistance*, neuroprotective mechanisms, cognitive reserve*, genetics and environment on the risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia is not well understood. The impact of these factors on the outcome of risk reduction interventions has not been addressed. Furthermore, the intersections of various aspects of diversity impacted by inequality and the social determinants of health – including socioeconomic factors, age, gender, sexual orientation, population group, Indigenous identity, disability, and language – may intersect with dementia risk and also inform risk reduction measures and their outcomes.

In addition, higher rates of dementia for Indigenous Peoples compared to non-Indigenous Peoples have been reportedFootnote 1. Recognizing that First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples lived/living experiences vary, relatively little is known about the distinctions-based impacts that dementia has in Indigenous populations and/or how to provide culturally appropriate care of those impacted.

*Resilience includes the ability to maintain cognitive abilities when brain changes and pathology that are normally associated with dementia are present, whereas resistance involves the ability to avoid the age-related development of brain pathology that is generally found with dementia. Cognitive reserve mechanisms allow compensation in the face of ongoing aging and neurodegenerative processes to maintain normal cognition.

Research Areas

This FO will support will support projects relevant to its objectives in animal models of disease, human populations and/or studies that leverage existing datasets (from Canadian or international cohort studies, platforms, or databases such as the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging [CLSA]), including data from biospecimens and biomarker analysis in any of the following research areas that include, but are not limited to:

  • – Mechanisms underlying resilience or cognitive reserve that maintain cognitive abilities and/or mitigate risk for cognitive impairment.
  • – Mechanisms underlying resistance that maintain brain health in the presence of pathophysiology.
  • – Differing pathophysiology underlying cognitive health, such as individuals with positive β-amyloid and/or tau biomarkers but normal cognition, or individuals that revert from mild cognitive impairment to normal or near-normal cognitive function.
  • – Role of protective and modifiable risk factors in promoting brain health in aging, including those factors that contribute across the life course. These can include, but are not limited to, modifiable lifestyle factors, common risk factors with metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, rare diseases, other co-morbidities, sleep, inflammaging, as well as genetic factors and sex differences.
  • – Modifiable risk factors that can delay the onset or slow disease progression.
  • – Genetic risk factors underlying neurodegeneration and cognitive decline.
  • – Interplay between and role of genetics, epigenetics and multi-omics in brain resilience and/or cognitive reserve in aging.


Competition 202307BHC
Registration Deadline 2023-06-13
Application Deadline 2023-07-12
Anticipated Notice of Decision 2023-11-15
Funding Start Date 2023-11-01


More details are available on ResearchNet.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: May 1, 2023