Government of Canada and partners invest over $28 million to support underrepresented early career health researchers

February 27, 2024 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Starting a research faculty career is challenging, with barriers such as racism and sexism making it even harder. Financial support, mentorship, and career training are all essential for providing the current generation of diverse trainees the opportunity to succeed as academics and researchers.

That is why today, Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced the results of Canada’s first Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and partners are providing $28.4 million to support 43 early-career researchers focusing on health research in the areas of infectious and chronic disease, brain and mental health, aging, rare diseases, improving the health care system, and more.

For instance:

  • Dr. Rabia Khan from the University of British Columbia is researching how to address burnout in women physicians with intersectional identities.
  • Dr. Pamela Lagali from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is examining potential new treatments for retinal diseases that lead to vision loss and blindness.
  • Dr. Idowu B. Olawoye from the University of Western Ontario is tackling antimicrobial resistance, a growing problem in Canada and around the world.
  • Dr. Ralph-Sydney Mboumba Bouassa from the Institut du Savoir Montfort is examining the neglected threat of HPV and cervical cancer in non-vaccinated immigrants and refugee women from Sub-Saharan Africa living in Canada.

This new investment will support Black people and racialized women who are underrepresented as they transition to independent academic or research positions—increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in health research. Ultimately, this will make Canada a healthier place for everyone.


“The transition from trainee to independent researcher is often the hardest stage of a researcher’s career, and factors such as racism and sexism make it even harder. With the REDI Early Career Transition Award, our government is investing in a diverse, inclusive, and talented pool of new researchers that will make invaluable contributions to health research in Canada.”

The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

“CIHR’s Institute of Infection and Immunity is thrilled to lead this transformative initiative in collaboration with partners. Faculty in academic and research institutions in Canada are tremendously talented, but do not reflect the diversity seen in the student population or the general population of Canada. The REDI Award addresses gaps in training and support and fosters diversity in the research community, which is important for excellence in research and improving the health of all people in Canada.”

Dr. Charu Kaushic
Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

“By dedicating new funding through the REDI Early Career Transition Award, CIHR is addressing systemic barriers to career development and directly valuing underrepresented researchers and the topics that they research. This award will help more trainees transition to faculty positions in academic institutions, making health research equitable, diverse, and inclusive.”

Catherine MacLeod
Acting President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Quick facts

  • The CIHR REDI Early Career Transition Award aims to support diverse post-doctoral researchers, clinicians, and research associates over a 6-year period as they transition from trainees to independent academic or research appointments, where they can pursue independent research projects, supervise trainees and publish the results of their research.
  • This is the first-ever REDI Award. The funding is valued at $28.4 million and will support 43 researchers representing many areas of health research.
  • This investment was made possible thanks to support from partners including the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Arthritis Society of Canada, the Azrieli Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, Fighting Blindness Canada, JDRF Canada and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
  • While this first round of the REDI Award focuses on providing support to Black people and racialized women, future competitions will have an expanded scope to support additional underrepresented groups.

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Christopher Aoun
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada’s health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.


Originally published by CIHR. View the original article here.