Research in Traumatic Brain Injury

The CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) is an advocate for research on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI is the key cause of disability in individuals under the age of 45, and constitutes an important global health burden that has until now defied conventional approaches to diagnosis and therapy development because of its heterogeneity and complexity. The annual incidence of TBI is conservatively estimated at up to 600/100,000 in North America and Europe, and the epidemiology of civilian mild traumatic brain injuries reveals that two-thirds occur in males and are most common in the young and the elderly. Acute and long-term risk factors associated with youth and sports-concussions are a major concern, and there is increasing evidence that multiple mild TBIs may pre-dispose to early onset dementia, later substance-use disorders and mental illness.

The past year has seen a significant effort within the traumatic brain injury community in Canada and abroad to create partnerships that can draw on the collective energies of basic, translational and clinical neuroscience researchers, clinicians/surgeons, consumer organizations and other stakeholders. In March 2011 at a meeting in Brussels with the Research and Innovation/ Health Directorate of the European Union (EU), INMHA learned about an emerging international initiative on TBI. Although initially conceived as a bilateral program between the EU FP7 programme and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these founding partners subsequently extended an invitation to INMHA to participate in this exciting new initiative. A recent editorial in The Lancet Neurology describes the current initiative and its background: The changing landscape of traumatic brain injury research.

INMHA subsequently formed an alliance with key Canadian stakeholders, including the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the Fond de recherche du Quebec - Santé, who joined INMHA as inaugural partners to establish a national Canadian TBI initiative. The partnership has been be further enhanced by the formal role of INMHA on the Steering Committee of the "International Initiative for Traumatic Brain Injury Research." Other Canadian partners are also welcome to join the Canadian partnership in support of TBI research.

The International Initiative for Traumatic Brain Injury Research (InTBIR) is a collaborative effort of the European Commission (EC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Formally established in October 2011 to advance clinical traumatic brain injury research, treatment and care, InTBIR is a global effort to coordinate and harmonize clinical research activities across the full spectrum of TBI injuries with the long-term goal of improving outcomes and lessening the global burden of TBI by 2020.

In partnership with the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, recently INMHA co-hosted an invitational workshop on New Opportunities in Traumatic Brain Injury Research: Advancing the National Agenda, in Toronto on April 12 and 13, 2012. Designed as the first of a series of networking opportunities for Canadian TBI researchers, the Workshop served as an opportunity to consult with members of Canadian TBI research community and other national stakeholders on future directions for research on TBI. Following this workshop, INMHA and partners (which now also include Defense Research and Development Canada) finalized a number of TBI funding opportunities that will be launched over the summer and fall of 2012. These include Catalyst Grants, Team Grants, training awards (Doctoral Research Awards, Post-Doctoral Fellows) and Knowledge Translation awards. During 2012, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation will be leading the establishment of a National TBI Research Network, to strengthen Canada's research collaborations nationally and internationally.

National Funding Opportunities

International Funding Opportunities

European Union

  • HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-1: Prospective longitudinal data collection and Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) for traumatic brain injury (TBI). FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1. The topic supporting InTBIR can be found on page 22 of the work program.