New funding to support Indigenous students in heart and brain science

The awards will support outstanding post-graduate students at institutions across Canada

As part of our commitment to advancing along the journey of Truth and Reconciliation, Brain Canada, Heart & Stroke, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (CIHR-ICRH) are launching a new funding program for Indigenous post-graduate students in Canada. The Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars aim to increase the number of highly qualified trainees working in heart and/or brain research from Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) communities whose traditional and ancestral territories are in Canada.

Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately affected by heart disease, stroke, and other brain conditions. However, they are underrepresented when it comes to addressing these conditions through research. In an effort to support the next generation of Indigenous researchers and build research capacity, this new funding aims to increase the number of Indigenous scholars pursuing a research career addressing these important health issues. The longer-term outcome is promoting a culturally informed and diverse research community that benefits all peoples in Canada and strengthening Indigenous perspectives in the health research ecosystem.   

“By intentionally supporting Indigenous researchers with this unique program, we hope to contribute to better brain health for all people,” says Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO, Brain Canada. “We are encouraged by this collaboration — together, we aim to break down barriers in the brain research community and promote research conducted from an equitable lens.”

“These new awards are part of our commitment to health reconciliation,” says Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “Through this opportunity, Heart & Stroke and its funding partners will increase capacity in heart and brain research from Indigenous communities, thereby contributing to a more culturally informed and safe health research environment.”

“The Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and CIHR have a strong commitment to improving the health and wellness of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada”, says Dr. Brian H. Rowe, Scientific Director of CIHR-ICRH. “Health conditions involving the heart and brain are disproportionally affecting Indigenous Peoples and efforts to mitigate and prevent these health issues are priorities for our Institute. One of the most important ways to accomplish this goal is to support Indigenous trainees by increasing health research capacity within their communities.”

Brain Canada, Heart & Stroke, and CIHR-ICRH have committed a total of $850,000 to support the Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars. The multi-year awards will provide financial support for up to eight masters students for up to two years (up to $50,000 per award) and up to five doctoral students for up to three years (up to $90,000 per award). By reducing financial burdens, the awards will enable outstanding students to focus on their studies, undertake a program of research, and engage with mentors as part of their training and development. The funding opportunity will officially open on May 1, 2023, and application guidelines will be posted on Brain Canada’s and Heart & Stroke’s websites. Applications will be received until September 1, 2023.  

Funding for the Personnel Awards for Indigenous Scholars has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada Foundation; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s primary health research funding agency, through its Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH); and Heart & Stroke, Canada’s health charity leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke.

About Brain Canada

Brain Canada plays a unique and invaluable role as a national convenor of those who support and advance brain research. A greater understanding of how the brain works contributes to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of disorders of the brain, ultimately improving the health outcomes of people in Canada and around the world. To learn more, visit @BrainCanada

About the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we believe research has the power to change lives. The CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (CIHR-ICRH) is one of thirteen Institutes, with a focus on supporting research into the causes, mechanisms, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation for a wide range of conditions associated with the heart, lung, brain (stroke), blood, blood vessels, critical care, and sleep. @CIHR_ICRH

About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for 70 years. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. @HeartandStroke

Contact information

Alicia D’Aguiar

Brielle Goulart

CIHR Media Relations