Pre-announcement: Policy Research for Health System Transformation

Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: inquire with unit

Memorial Deadline: Thursday 29th, September 2022

External Deadline: Tuesday 4th, October 2022


CIHR and partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Policy Research for Health System Transformation grants. The funding opportunity is led by the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (IHSPR), in partnership with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH), the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (CRPPHE), the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH), the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF), and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF).


The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Canadian Medicare – the legislative framework that has long been regarded as a hallmark of Canadian identity. There is much to celebrate regarding the principles and examples of success and innovation that Medicare established for universal access to physician and hospital services. Yet, evidence indicates that Canada’s health systems have underperformed in key domains such as access, equity and health outcomes when compared to other high-income countries with similar per capita spending levels. Integrating public health programs, including prevention and health promotion at the individual and population level, with the health care delivery system is needed to achieve good health for all Canadians. Additionally, the pandemic highlighted opportunities to improve and rebuild our health care and public health systems – including by exposing or exacerbating faults in the systems and accelerating positive innovations (e.g., uptake of virtual care). Building back stronger and more equitably in a post-pandemic context will require robust research evidence on the policies and policy levers that best support high-performing health care delivery and public health systems.

This funding opportunity will support one-year Policy Research for Health System Transformation grants that generate evidence to inform macro-level policies to support high-performing health care and public health systems in Canada with the aim of advancing the Quadruple Aim – improved population health outcomes, better patient and provider experience, and increased value – and health equity (sometimes referred to as the Quintuple aim).

Retrospective policy evaluations and prospective policy development/implementation projects are eligible. All projects must use knowledge mobilization approaches throughout (i.e., integrated knowledge translation involving a policymaker partner based in Canada and a knowledge user with lived experience); mobilize expertise from multiple disciplines (i.e., health, law, economics, etc.) and perspectives (policymaker, public) to analyze and contextualize the various dimensions of the policy issue and options for consideration.

The ultimate aim is to generate solution-oriented evidence and policy options to create and support high-performing health care and public health systems in Canada.


This funding opportunity is expected to:

  • Support policy research on how changes and/or different approaches to the financing, funding, organization, governance and/or delivery of health care systems and/or services and public health systems and/or services can impact the Quadruple Aim and health equity;
  • Advance the methods and/or measurement approaches for health policy research
  • Mobilize diverse methodologies, multiple disciplines and perspectives, and knowledge mobilization approaches to generate evidence that is relevant and useful for policymakers;
  • Provide policy makers with evidence-informed policy options and considerations for implementation to support high-performing health care and public health systems that advance the Quadruple Aim and health equity
  • Foster the creation of new or strengthening of existing partnerships and collaborations between researchers, policymakers and knowledge users with lived experience to align research with policy priorities and work together in pursuit of evidence-informed health systems transformation.

Research areas

This funding opportunity will support applications relevant to all the Objectives (above), and any of the research pools described below.

CIHR-IHSPR Pool (Health Care Systems Research): This pool will support projects that align with IHSPR’s mandate, that advance the Quadruple Aim and health equity, and that are relevant to any of the following areas: the health care workforce; primary, home and community-based care; aging in the right places; integration of care; digital health solutions, virtual care, and/or data infrastructure; anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-discriminatory, diverse and/or inclusive health care delivery systems and service delivery models; and advancing sustainable health care systems, organizations, and service delivery models.

CIHR-ICR Pool (Cancer Control): This pool will support projects relevant to ICR’s mandate and that are relevant to the following research areas: novel cancer control service delivery; digital health solutions, virtual care, and/or data infrastructure; integration of care; anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-discriminatory, diverse and/or inclusive health care delivery systems and/or service delivery models; advancing sustainable public health systems and service delivery models; the health care workforce; and primary, home and community-based care.

CIHR-IPPH Pool (Public Health Systems Research): This pool will support projects that align with IPPH’s mandate and that are directly relevant to at least one of the following areas: the public health workforce; public health data and information systems (including Indigenous population health data infrastructure); governance of public health in Canada (including First Nations, Inuit and Métis public health systems and models of governance); public health system financing models that are effective, sustainable and equitable; design and delivery of anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-discriminatory, diverse and/or inclusive public health systems and/or public health services; enhanced alignment and coordination between research, practice and community; public health system performance; and integration of public health into healthcare.

SPOR Pool (Patient-Oriented Health Care Systems Research): This pool will support projects that align with SPOR’s vision, and that build capacity for patient-oriented research by: co-conducting impactful research with health system stakeholders and in partnership with patients; and recognizing research outcomes that matter to patients.

CRPPHE Pool (Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies): This pool will support projects that align with the mission of CRPPHE, and strengthen health care and health systems to improve preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery from pandemics and/or health emergencies (which includes environmental disasters or other large-scale acute events with actual or potential significant negative health impact or societal disruption).

Funds available

The total CIHR contribution for this funding opportunity is $ $3,675,000, enough to fund approximately 24 policy research grants at a maximum of $150,000 per year for 1 year. Additional funding is available from external partners (provincial health funding organizations) to co-fund with CIHR applications with substantive involvement in the respective province, including from: NBHRF, Ontario MOH, and SHRF.

Supplemental funding of $75,000 will support the highest overall ranked fundable application to lead the Knowledge Mobilization Synthesis Project, which will synthesize the policy research approaches used by the funded policy research teams and the policy issues prioritized, the resulting evidence and policy options, and the role of context.

Anticipated timelines*

  • Program launch: May 18, 2022
  • Webinar(s): Join live on Microsoft Teams on June 10, 2022 @ 1.30-2.30pm EDT for more details on the funding opportunity and how to apply. Full Application Deadline: Oct 4, 2022
  • Full application deadline: Oct 4, 2022
  • Notice of decision:  March 1, 2023
  • Funding start date: March 1, 2023

*These timelines are estimates and subject to change.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: April 28, 2022