Rapid Research Fund for Ebola to support four new projects

November 19, 2018

UNDP / Dylan Lowthian

Multi-agency partnership between IDRC, CIHR, and SSHRC funding vital research to improve pandemic response capacity.

IDRC is pleased to announce the four interdisciplinary Canadian-African research teams selected to receive support under the CA$1.5 million Rapid Research Fund for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks.

These four teams will engage in a range of innovative research projects aimed at improving Ebola response capacities to prevent or mitigate the impact of future outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and other at-risk countries. Each project focuses on a different, yet complementary, objective:

  • strengthening the ethical conduct and oversight of research during public health emergencies;
  • examining how routine health information can be integrated in Ebola response;
  • improving prevention and response efforts by understanding the social, cultural, and environmental drivers of Ebola; and
  • assessing community mental health and developing associated toolkits for future interventions during disease outbreaks.

"The research projects receiving funding today are further evidence that Canadian scientists continue to have important contributions to make in the global fight against the Ebola virus, as they have shown already with the development of the world’s first Ebola vaccine. I applaud the institutions and researchers in Canada and Africa that have come together to increase pandemic response capacity."

Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor


“In addition to being a public health threat, infectious diseases like Ebola represent major challenges for development. Funding directed at research to support effective, evidence-based solutions can help turn the tide and increase emergency response capacity in outbreak or pandemic situations.”

Minister of International Development, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau


“Canada is proud to invest in research and development early on to solve real-world issues. These teams will bring the right researchers together to better respond to and prevent or mitigate future outbreaks.”

Minister of Science and Sport, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan


Aimed at sustainably improving humanitarian and emergency response capacities in and around the DRC, the Rapid Research Fund for Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks is a joint initiative of IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The fund supports interdisciplinary partnerships between Canadian and African health and social science researchers and local knowledge users to promote culturally appropriate, community specific, sustainable, and evidence-based practices to prevent or mitigate the impact of future Ebola threats in the region.

Following a June 2018 competitive call for proposals, the recipient projects selected by an external peer review committee are:


"It is vital that funding agencies respond quickly to mobilize researchers during global health emergencies. We are pleased that CIHR, along with IDRC and SSHRC, were able to rapidly invest in the most promising research projects aimed at strengthening health systems and improving emergency and humanitarian response capacities to Ebola outbreaks. We congratulate the successful Canadian and African teams, whose work will help contain the current Ebola Virus Disease crisis, preventing the spread and future outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other regions."

CIHR President, Michael J. Strong


"Ebola is a health problem requiring not only medical solutions but a sound understanding of the complex social context in which it has spread and can be best managed.  As a consequence, rapid, international, interdisciplinary research that tackles this complex challenge from multiple angles is the best course to prevent and mitigate the wide-ranging impacts of future outbreaks."

SSHRC President, Ted Hewitt


"This fund is a model of the forward-thinking partnerships our world needs so that we have the solutions, systems, and capacity in place to prevent and respond to crises when they occur. These research projects will generate new knowledge, build interdisciplinary expertise, and enhance local capacities to help local actors better prepare for and respond to Ebola and other infectious diseases."

— IDRC President, Jean Lebel