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Foundation Grant


The CIHR Foundation Scheme is designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of new and established health research leaders, by providing long-term support for the pursuit of innovative and high-impact research programs. 

The Foundation Scheme is expected to:


  • support a broad base of health research leaders across all career stages, areas and health-related disciplines;
  • develop and maintain Canadian capacity in health research and other related fields;
  • provide research leaders with the flexibility to pursue novel and innovative lines of inquiry;
  • contribute to the creation and application of health-related knowledge through a wide range of research and/or knowledge translation activities, including relevant collaborations.


The Foundation Scheme is open to applicants in all areas of health research that are aligned with the CIHR mandate


Eligible applicants will include new/early-career, mid-career and established researchers, who are independent researchers with a demonstrable track record of excellence and impact in their field of study. 


For an application to be eligible:


  1. the Program Leader(s) must be an independent researcher;
  2. the Program Leader who is responsible for the administration of the grant must have an academic or research appointment at an eligible institution at the time of application;
  3. where applicable, multiple Program Leaders submitting a single application must convincingly demonstrate synergy and a track record of co-managing programs of research with each other;
  4. an individual may only submit one application in the role of Program Leader per competition; and
  5. the Program Leader falls into one of the following three groups:


  • as of July 30th of the previous year the Program Leader is the Nominated Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator of a CIHR Open program grant with an expiry date no earlier than October 1st of the current year, and no later than September 30th of the following year.
  • as of July 30th of the previous year the Program Leader has never held Open CIHR funding as a Nominated Principal Investigator or a Co-Principal Investigator.
  • the Program Leader is considered to be a new/early-career investigator as defined by CIHR at the Stage 1 application deadline.
    • CIHR defines a new/early career investigator as someone who, at the Stage 1 application deadline, has assumed his/her first independent academic position (e.g., faculty appointment) within the last 5 years. All time spent in research appointments will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility. Should an applicant hold or have held a part time appointment, CIHR will count that time as 50% (e.g., a one-year, part-time appointment will count for 6 months towards the 60 month maximum). Leaves of absence will not count towards the 60-month maximum.



  • It is expected that most Foundation grant budget requests will fall within a range of $50,000 to $1.5M per annum. Foundation grant levels will be commensurate with need, which is expected to vary by research field, research approach and scope of program activities.
  • Senior and mid-career investigators will be awarded 7 year grants. New/early-career investigators will be awarded 5 year grants.
  • For existing CIHR grantees, the budget request should be consistent with the applicant's previous CIHR open grant research funding history. Applicants must provide robust justification for requests that are significantly higher than their historical grant levels.


Application process:
This funding opportunity is available on an annual basis and has a three-step application process: the Registration, the invited Stage 1 Application and the invited Stage 2 Application.

More information:

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Cynthia Belaskie, Senior Advisor, at or extension 21581. 

Additional information regarding the Foundation Scheme can be found on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research website at: