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Special magazine issue highlights IDRC support of local knowledge

September 26, 2022
An IDRC-supported special issue about localizing knowledge production on forced displacement is being published by the Oxford University-based magazine Forced Migration Review.
Hand holding a pair of headphones.
Forced Migration Review
Cover image of the Forced Migration Review special issue.

Although the Global South hosts the vast majority of the world’s displaced populations, most research guiding policies on refugees comes from the Global North. It is crucial that the knowledge of people with lived experiences of forced displacement informs local, national, and global responses and helps to identify long-lasting solutions.

Produced in partnership with the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN) at Carleton University, this Forced Migration Review special issue, called “Knowledge, Voice and Power”, amplifies the voices of those with experience of displacement. Forced Migration Review and LERRN piloted a mentorship program designed to promote the inclusion of authors who have forced migration backgrounds or who are from the Global South. The selected authors explore the barriers to localization of knowledge production and reflect on issues such as self-representation, refugee participation, access, influence and meaningful partnerships.

The special issue of the magazine launches on September 28, 2022 at 9:30 EDT. It will be available free of charge in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

IDRC actively supports the localization of knowledge on forced displacement. Its flagship initiative in this area supports research chairs in eight universities, with a current call for proposals to establish four more research chairs in North and West Africa.

Call for proposals: Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program Phase II – 2022–2023 competition

Open
Call for
Proposals
Deadline
Programs
Global Health
Duration
Up to 48 months 
Topic(s)
Health
Funded by
IDRC, the Israel Science Foundation, the Azrieli Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Budget
Six grants worth up to CAD 1.4 million each
Point of contact
CIHR contact centre: support@cihr-irsc.gc.ca; Israel Science Foundation: ella@isf.org.il
Type
Grant
Status
Open
Scope

This second call for proposals under phase II is directed toward proposals in the field of communicable diseases, with a particular focus on investigating underlying biological mechanisms and impacts on global health. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:  

  • Discovery research to identify new pathogens and their distribution in human populations  

  • New therapeutic approaches for communicable diseases  

  • Drug resistance biology and mechanism in infectious disease  

  • Host-parasite interactions  

  • New directions in vaccine research for infectious diseases  

  • New biomarkers for infectious disease detection, characterization and monitoring  

  • Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, including the impact of climate change on zoonotic disease distribution  

  • New technology platforms for rapid detection of pathogens of pandemic importance  

Exclusions: SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research, studies, surveys, clinical trials and work primarily aimed at informing public health policy are NOT eligible for funding through this opportunity. However, the use of randomization in basic biomedical research studies is accepted.  

Eligibility

Phase II of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program seeks to support fundamental research at the cutting-edge of biomedical science and global health.

Proposals must be co-led by three independent investigators: one from Canada, one from Israel and one from a low- or middle-income country. Teams are required to establish knowledge mobilization plans. This could include a range of activities that support research, training and exchange, while taking advantage of this funding opportunity to design a collaborative international research project.

More details

Further details on the call and detailed guidelines for submission are published on CIHR’s Funding Opportunity database

Please consult the list of eligible low-and middle-income countries/territories.

Deadlines

In Canada  
Registration: January 17, 2023 at 20:00 Ottawa time; Application: February 16, 2023 at 20:00 Ottawa time  

In Israel  
Registration: January 17, 2023 at 13:00 Jerusalem time; Application: February 15, 2023 at 13:00 Jerusalem time 

Announcement of call for proposals – Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program Phase II – 2022-2023 competition

September 22, 2022
IDRC, the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the Azrieli Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are pleased to announce the second research competition under Phase II of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program.
A technician does tests for Avian Flu.
WORLD BANK
A technician does tests on Avian Flu.

Phase II of JCIHRP seeks to support fundamental research at the cutting-edge of biomedical science and global health. Six grants worth up to CA$ 1.4 million each will be awarded to research teams based in Canada, Israel and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for a period of up to four years.

This second call under Phase II is for proposals in the field of communicable diseases, with a particular focus on investigating underlying biological mechanisms and impacts on global health. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Discovery research to identify new pathogens and their distribution in human populations
  • New therapeutic approaches for communicable diseases
  • Drug resistance biology and mechanism in infectious disease
  • Host – Parasite interactions
  • New directions in vaccine research for infectious diseases
  • New biomarkers for infectious disease detection, characterization and monitoring
  • Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, including the impact of climate change on zoonotic disease distribution
  • New technology platforms for rapid detection of pathogens of pandemic importance

Exclusions: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 research, studies, surveys, clinical trials and work primarily aimed at informing public health policy are NOT eligible for funding through this opportunity. However, the use of randomization in basic biomedical research studies is accepted.

The teams will integrate world-class researchers from all three geographic areas with the intention of strengthening scientific capacity, as well as promoting collaboration, knowledge mobilization and scientific excellence in all its diversity.

Further details on the call and detailed guidelines for submission are published on CIHR’s Funding Opportunity database. The application process for this funding opportunity is comprised of two steps: registration and application. In Canada, registrations are due January 17, 2023, and applications are due February 16, 2023. In Israel, registrations are due January 17, 2023, and administrative applications are due February 15, 2023.

It is mandatory that teams submit their registration and application to both ISF and CIHR.

For further information, please contact:

CIHR
Contact Centre
Telephone: 613-954-1968; Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178
Email: support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca 

ISF
Ella Fire
Scientific Director Special Programs
Israel Science Foundation
Email: ella@isf.org.il

German Research Foundation

German Research Foundation

York University receives CAD7.25 million to build network and use AI and big data in fight against infectious diseases

September 6, 2022
This five-year project is aimed at ensuring vulnerable and at-risk populations are included in disease outbreak management and policies.
Logo for the Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network.
Jude Kong/York University
The Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network’s logo.

At a time when the risk of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases is increasing, an international team led by York University successfully competed to receive a CAD7.25 million grant from IDRC to help tackle the issue. This grant will enable the research team to work alongside countries in the Global South to develop equitable and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and big data approaches to improve public health outcomes.

The five-year project, Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network, is borne out of the promise of AI solutions across the Global South to improve the health system response to infectious disease outbreaks. It also reflects the  need to examine the important ethical, legal and social implications of these solutions on populations most susceptible to disease and with compromised well-being.

Led by York University Assistant Professor Jude Kong of the Faculty of Science, this project will support prevention, early detection, preparedness, mitigation and control of emerging or re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa.

“York University is honoured to have this opportunity to create positive change by fostering more equitable and responsible approaches to complex healthcare needs through the ethical use of artificial intelligence,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “This project will help us strengthen our impact on several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and well-being, as well as gender equality and partnerships. I’d like to thank IDRC for their ongoing support of York's commitment to collaboratively addressing pressing global issues and congratulate Jude Kong on all his work in this area.”

Globally, as humans continue to encroach on animal habitats and climate changes worsens, incidents of disease outbreaks are expected to increase in severity and frequency — often stemming from viruses, bacteria and parasites that jump from animals to people. These outbreaks can have calamitous consequences that cascade across socio-economic boundaries, particularly affecting vulnerable populations, magnifying social inequities, and putting pressure on weak healthcare systems, which further exacerbate underlying inequities and disparities.

“As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside outbreaks such as Ebola and hMPXV, previously known as monkeypox, IDRC’s commitment to supporting innovative and locally championed solutions from LMICs is renewed and further deepened,” says IDRC President Jean Lebel. “We are delighted to build on IDRC’s deep experience in using AI to solve pressing social and economic challenges by supporting the team at York University in funding thought leaders in the LMICs to develop, use and scale responsible AI solutions to strengthen health systems. This collaborative effort will foreground AI applications that are ethical, respect privacy, and support gender equality and inclusive benefits across low-resource settings.”

The project will develop a diverse, multi-regional and interdisciplinary network of partners and teams to help address gaps in knowledge, capacities and solutions, and better understand how AI can improve public health preparedness and response. It will promote Southern-led equitable and ethical use of AI and big data to improve public health preparedness and response, identify risks, conduct predictive modelling and provide evidence-based recommendations for public health policy and action.

“It is important to design, manage and govern AI and big data approaches using a health-equity and gender-equality lens to avoid amplifying existing inequalities leading to the possibility of significant harm rather than tremendous benefits,” says Kong, the project’s executive director and director of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC).

The goal is to ensure vulnerable and at-risk populations are included in disease outbreak management and policies, including racialized visible minorities, women, geographically isolated individuals, Indigenous communities, migrants and refugees, unhoused people and the socio-economically underserved. COVID-19 has underlined the need for timely, accurate, and reliable data to inform evidence-based public health decision-making.

“AI techniques have developed rapidly over the last decade and the ability to store large data sets has led to novel methods of analysis, allowing for modelling predictions on a scale that was previously not possible,” says Kong. “Emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases present global challenges, and as such, international communication and shared strategies, which build on varying types of expertise, are required to successfully address them. This project is a small step in that direction.” 

How KIX works with education policymakers to close the gap between research findings and research uptake: the Knowledge and Information Exchange annual report

August 29, 2022
The newly released annual report on the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) shows that the initiative — the largest education fund of its kind — is closing the gap between research innovation and policy impact.
A teacher helps two girls in the classroom in Honduras.
Paul Martinez/GPE

Now three years in operation, KIX's unique approach to sharing education innovations in GPE partner countries across the Global South is helping knowledge producers, policymakers and national experts work together to improve the use of evidence in education planning, policy and practice. There are already tangible results. For example, Lesotho’s Ministry of Education and Training used findings from a KIX project, Using data for improving education equity and inclusion, to support the development of a comprehensive national strategy for learning continuity. And in Uganda, the government asked researchers working on a KIX project on data use innovations to scale up a platform connecting health and education information systems to learning institutions.

Capacity strengthening was also a critical area of emerging results. The annual report indicated KIX country representatives (stakeholders from ministries of education, NGOs, teacher-training institutes and others) now have a better understanding of evidence-based solutions to education challenges in their countries and feel more equipped to propose improvements in policy dialogues.

“A lot of this success is being seen in the four regional hubs, which bring together people who work in education systems with national, regional and international researchers,“ said KIX IDRC project leader Tricia Wind. “The hubs are a key part of the KIX design ─ the participation of policymakers from the outset helps researchers best identify and respond to knowledge gaps.”  

That participation is growing. The number of participants in KIX activities nearly quadrupled between April 2021 and March 2022, to nearly 18,000. By the end of that period, 79% of GPE partner countries were showing moderate or high levels of engagement in regional hubs. Hubs and applied research projects are also sharing knowledge through newsletters, blogs, videos, podcasts, policy briefs and other vehicles. 

The usefulness of this stakeholder engagement is reinforced by findings from an independent mid-term evaluation of KIX which took place between September 2021 and March 2022 and identifies capacity strengthening of education stakeholders as the most effective type of support KIX offers. 

“We are pleased that the evaluation concludes that GPE-KIX has made significant progress, is valued by its stakeholders, and is well positioned for impact," stated Naser Faruqui, director of education and science at IDRC, and Margarita Focas-Licht, acting deputy chief executive officer at GPE, in the annual report. “This can be seen in the levels of engagement in regional hubs and their uptake of evidence from applied research, even at the program’s mid-point and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The full report can be read here.

The Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, a joint endeavour between GPE and IDRC, connects expertise, innovation and knowledge to low- and middle-income countries that are building stronger education systems and progressing toward the Sustainable Development Goal of inclusive and equitable quality education for all (SDG 4). 

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