Message from the Scientific Director – Update on Institute activities

Dear colleagues,

Welcome back from summer! I hope you all had a chance to rest and relax, and reunite with family and friends, after what has been an exhausting two years of unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty. As we start the new academic year, we can all be hopeful that this will be a more normal school year. Yet uncertainties around COVID remain, even as we enter fall, with flu season around the corner. Many of you, especially those in clinical settings, are already dealing with a crisis in health care. You are in our thoughts, as we look to find ways to support you through challenging times ahead.

The III team has been very busy since the beginning of 2022. In March, after a long gap we finally hosted the 8th New Investigator Forum (NIF). With close to 60 new investigators participating in this virtual, three-day forum, we had great discussions and networking. The Forum was very successful with >96% of participants expressing satisfaction and stating they will recommend others to participate. We owe a big thanks to the organizing committee and senior researchers who devoted personal time to engage and pass their wisdom to the new investigators. You will find more information on the forum online. We hope to continue the NIF biannually from now on.

In May, we introduced the new CIHR HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research Initiative Strategic Plan 2022–2027 at the Annual CAHR Conference. This plan lays the groundwork for achieving excellence in research and aims to improve the lives of all people living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS and STBBI. Since 2019, more than 300 stakeholders were engaged for the development of the new Strategic Plan to set strategic goals and priorities for research funding for 2022–2027. In particular, the guidance of the CIHR HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research Advisory Committee (CHASRAC) and hard work and dedication of CIHR and III staff were instrumental in the successful completion and launch of this plan.

The Institute continues to be very involved with emerging infections and pandemic preparedness activities, including providing scientific leadership on monkeypox, led by III Assistant Scientific Director, Dr. Marianne Stanford, who has expertise in this area. The III staff worked closely with the new Centre for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies to coordinate efforts to support the monkeypox response. In addition, III staff have been participating in activities hosted by WHO R&D Blueprint and GLoPID-R aimed at coordinating global efforts to combat monkeypox.

We were pleased to return to in-person meetings and connect with the III community after a long gap, starting with the 4th Symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV) in June in Edmonton, and the III Institute Advisory Board (IAB) meeting, back-to-back with the Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI) Conference in Halifax in June 2022. The community events in Halifax were very well organized and attended, thanks to the partnership of Dalhousie University Department of Microbiology and Immunology. We were able to feature promising new III Investigators at CSV, at the IAB community event in Halifax and at the CSI New Investigators Symposium. The 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal in July 2022 was a great chance to connect with the HIV/AIDS community and we were very pleased to host a series of well-attended sessions and events, including another Early Career Investigator session, with a focus on community engagement, which was very well received.

This Fall, we are looking forward to announcing the results of the much awaited CIHR-CEPI Leadership awards, as well as upcoming III flagship funding opportunities Team Grants: Inflammation Intervention Trial in Inflammation for Chronic Conditions – Evidence to Impact and CIHR Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award 2022. For a full list of our funding announcements, please visit the III website. To receive the latest update on III funding information, please sign up to get III newsletters at or follow me @CKaushic on Twitter.

As many of you know, my term for III Scientific Director was renewed in July 2022 for a second 4-year term. I am humbled and honored to continue to serve my community to the best of my ability. As I start my second term, I look forward to continuing our efforts to listen to you and serve your needs, as well as bring your voice up to the leadership tables and continue to build an inclusive III research community. The III staff and I are always happy to hear from you, so please feel free to contact III with any questions or feedback at


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

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