Grants and funding opportunities
Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity
This funding opportunity was a rapid research response in collaboration between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to contribute to global efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Within this rapid research response, several researchers covered social and policy countermeasures research in health, with a specific focus on research to develop strategies to combat misinformation, stigma, and fear. For more information on the results of this rapid research response, visit the Canadian 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Rapid Research Funding Opportunity webpage.
Climate Action and Awareness Fund (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
The new Climate Action and Awareness Fund invests $206 million over five years to support Canadian-made projects that help to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is designed to support projects that can create middle class jobs for Canadians who work in science and technology, academia and at the grassroots community level. These projects are critical as we continue to build a sustainable net zero emissions economy by 2050.
The Climate Action and Awareness Fund has three main priorities:
- support youth climate awareness and community-based climate action
- advance climate science and technology
- support climate research at Canadian think tanks and in academia
Digital Citizen Initiative
The Digital Citizen Initiative’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program provides funding to individual researchers and organizations supporting efforts to counter online disinformation and other online harms and threats. This can help Canadians become more resilient and think critically about COVID-19 disinformation. For example, in 2020 the program was provided with funding through the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund to help combat false and misleading COVID-19 information as well as the racism and stigmatization that are often the result. This funding supported youth with activities in countering science misinformation, such as public awareness tools and online workshops, through the following organizations:
- Calgary Animated Objects Society
- Discovery Centre
- Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec
- Science North
- Science Timmins Inc.
Encouraging Vaccine Confidence in Canada
This funding program was jointly administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support organizations with strong track records of science and/or health promotions – such as museums, science centres, etc. The goal of this grant was to give evidence-based, vaccine-promoting information to key communities and groups and/or to build capacity in the community to promote confidence in vaccines. For more information on this program and the importance of vaccine confidence, visit the Encouraging vaccine confidence in Canada webpage, including the results of this competition.
Immunization Partnership Fund (Public Health Agency of Canada)
The Immunization Partnership Fund (IPF) is a funding program through the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) that will help Canadians to make healthy and informed COVID-19 vaccination decisions, as well as help them to catch up on routine vaccines that may have been missed during the pandemic. It initially received approximately $3 million a year for five years (2016-2021) through Budget 2016. In 2020, the IPF received an additional $30.25 million in funding over 2.5 years to build on early momentum, while identifying new initiatives to support vaccine confidence, uptake, and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge (PHAC)
The Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge is a funding opportunity that encourages communities across Canada to help promote vaccine confidence. In March 2021, the Public Health Agency of Canada launched a call for proposals and received nearly 300 applications for creative community-driven information campaigns that engage diverse audiences. Over 130 funding recipients representing a range of individuals and groups received grants to increase people’s confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and reinforce public health measures in their communities. At the end of the campaign period, one finalist will win a grand prize of $100,000 to reinvest in the protection and promotion of public health of their community. Visit the Vaccine Community Innovation Challenge’s webpage for more information on this initiative.
COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO Canada)
To support federal response efforts the pandemic, Impact Canada is leading the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) behavioural insights tool on COVID-19 within a Canadian context - COSMO Canada. This study entailed surveying an online panel of Canadian participants, with a goal of informing COVID-19 outbreak response efforts, including policy, interventions and communications. Topics within this study and associated surveys include themes related to science literacy and misinformation such as trust in government information sources, vaccine confidence and public risk perceptions.
StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada
Using data from Statistics Canada (StatCan) Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 4: Information sources consulted during the pandemic, StatCan released a study on Misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic examining how Canadians behave regarding the increase of information that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus is on information found online by Canadians who used online resources to learn about COVID-19, the verification methods used by Canadians to check the accuracy of information, as well as COVID-19 information sharing.
Reports and Publications
Council of Canadian Academies
Fault Lines, a Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) report, assesses the socio-economic impacts of science and health misinformation. This report examined the individual and societal impacts of misinformation; estimated the costs of these for one year of the Covid-19 pandemic; examined the impact on public trust in, engagement with, and understanding of science and science-informed policies. The report identified leading practices to assess and respond to misinformation.
Evidence For Democracy
Funded by Heritage Canada, Evidence for Democracy (E4D) published a report on Misinformation in Canada: Research and Policy Options to characterize the research landscape on misinformation within a Canadian setting and offer solutions for addressing misinformation. E4D has identified several useful recommendations with the ultimate goal being the reduction of misinformation in Canada and the enhancement of public resilience towards the circulation of misinformation.
Public Policy Forum
Partnered with Health Canada NSERC, CIHI and others, author Christopher Dornan in Science Disinformation in a Time of Pandemic illustrates how disinformation about COVID-19 can pose significant risks for public health, social cohesion and collective trust. He argues that disinformation is becoming increasingly viral and mainstream with the advent of social media and virtual communication. Dornan identifies several useful recommendations for citizens, governments and social media platforms to consider to effectively combat disinformation and engage in evidence-based discussion about scientific findings. He largely calls for extensive engagement with the social media companies and commitments for robust public education campaigns to counter the social harms of science disinformation.