Winter Update from CIHR-III Scientific Director, Dr. Charu Kaushic

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all are off to a good start in 2024 and are enjoying a quieter winter, except for all the digging out from snowstorms that our East Coast colleagues have been busy with! As usual, it has been a busy and eventful past six months for us in CIHR's Institute of Infection and Immunity. I have tried to summarize some of our main activities for your perusal.

Announcing the REDI award recipients with partners and our community at the February 27th Meet & Greet event.

After three years of hard work to develop and deliver this transformative program, we are incredibly proud to have officially announced the results of the inaugural CIHR Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award last week, which aims to increase the diversity of highly qualified health researchers with independent research careers in Canada. Led by CIHR-III in partnership with CIHR and 16 internal and external partners, this first-of-its-kind initiative will provide $28.4 million to support early-career researchers in research areas covering the breadth of CIHR's mandate, including infectious and chronic diseases, brain and mental health, aging, rare diseases, improving the health care system, and more. The program was a big success thanks to the enthusiastic response from the research community, with more than 900 inquiries and 200 applications. We are honoured to have played a pivotal role in the design and execution of this important initiative and look forward to following the growth and development of 43 talented award recipients.

I am also very pleased to report progress in another key area of our 5-year strategic plan. Recognizing the importance of incorporating the voices of people and communities with living and lived experience into the work of our research community, CIHR-III is pleased to have launched its first Community Advisory Committee (CAC) this month. We look forward to engaging meaningfully with our committee members and applying their insights and perspectives into the design of upcoming CIHR-III activities and funding opportunities. It has already been an amazing learning experience to interact with this incredible team and we are very grateful for their commitment.

Listening to CMI2 researchers at the midterm stage of their project grants in Canmore, Alberta.
Gathering diverse voices on the incorporation of a One Health lens on the AMR research strategy at the PHAC and CIHR-III One Health AMR Symposium in Hamilton, Ontario.
Welcoming in-person and virtual participants from 23 different countries for the 38th JPIAMR management board meeting in Hamilton, Ontario.

As part of our commitment to outreach to the research community and effective knowledge mobilization, CIHR-III hosted several in-person events since the summer, beginning with the CIHR Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2 (CMI2) Microbiome Midterm Workshop in Canmore, Alberta in July. The CMI2 workshop brought together the initiative's research core and seven research teams at the midterm stage of their grants. The outstanding quality of the presentations and discussions, as well as the recognition of Canadian researchers as international leaders, confirms the value of strategic investments from III for last 10 years in microbiome research. In September, CIHR-III held a two-day Inflammation Clinical Trial Strengthening Workshop in Hamilton, Ontario, which brought together the successful LOI stage Canadian researchers of the Team Grants: Intervention Trial in Inflammation for Chronic Conditions – Evidence to Impact competition alongside national and international chronic disease and inflammation experts, CIHR affiliates, and partner organization representatives. Also, in October, CIHR-III partnered with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to host the One Health Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Symposium in Hamilton, Ontario, which allowed us to gather diverse perspectives on how to incorporate a One Health lens within the AMR research strategy from a diverse group of stakeholders including Management Board members of the global collaborative organization, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR). The event also provided an opportunity to highlight the recently released Pan-Canadian Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance to an international audience. We hosted a two-day hybrid JPIAMR Management Board Meeting that welcomed 20 AMR experts and funders in-person and an equal number online from 23 countries. We were also delighted to continue our partnership to highlight early career investigators (ECIs) at several events and conferences last spring and summer, including the 2023 Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI) conference in Orford, Quebec and the 2023 Canadian Society for Microbiology (CSM) conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

As we move towards Spring 2024, we look forward to hosting the highly-anticipated CIHR-III 2024 New Investigator Forum (NIF) in King City (Toronto), Ontario, which has been made possible through travel awards from CIHR-III in partnership with the CIHR HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBI) Research Initiative and CIHR Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies. CIHR-III's NIF event is dedicated to supporting and promoting the professional development of early career researchers and late-stage post-doctoral researchers or research associates who are actively pursuing academic careers in infection and immunity. We are excited to welcome the 64 ECIs who received the travel awards and look forward to providing learning and networking opportunities to the awardees with the invited speakers and planning committee members during what is sure will be a fun and energizing three days.

Learning from Infection and Immunity early career investigators at the Canadian Society for Microbiology (CSM) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I don't get to do this frequently, but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank my CIHR-III team; they are the behind-the-scenes heroes who make everything we do possible. Thank you all for your continued support, encouragement, and engagement with III. We are always eager to hear from you. Please reach out with news about your successes or to bring issues to our attention. And come by and introduce yourself to members of our team if you see us at events.   Sincerely, Charu Kaushic Scientific Director CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity


Charu Kaushic
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

Stay Connected with CIHR-III!
For the latest updates from CIHR-III, follow @CIHR_III (new!), @CKaushic and @CIHR_IRSC on X, and sign up to our regular III e-bulletin. For more information on funding opportunities at CIHR, please visit the ResearchNet website. As always, we welcome your valuable feedback on how we can better serve the Infection and Immunity research community. Please reach out to our team directly at

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