Catalyst Grant: National Women’s Health Research Initiative: Innovation Fund - Biomedical Discovery Grants

The purpose of the National Women's Health Research Initiative, a joint initiative between CIHR and Women and Gender Equality Canada announced as part of the 2021 federal budget, is to advance a coordinated research program that addresses under-researched and high-priority areas of women's health. The National Women's Health Research Initiative will help to ensure new evidence improves women's, girls', and gender-diverse people's care and health outcomes.

The National Women's Health Research Initiative is composed of two funding streams: The Pan-Canadian Women's Health Coalition and the Innovation Fund. Two funding opportunities will be launched through the Innovation Fund to support research in areas of women's health that have been chronically underfunded and under-researched. The first Innovation Fund funding opportunity consists of one-year Biomedical Discovery Grants (this current funding opportunity). The second funding opportunity (to be launched later in 2023) will consist of operating grants to support three-year research projects in two areas of women's health: 1) translational research in healthcare diagnostics, therapeutics, and devices; and 2) healthcare implementation research to remove barriers to accessing healthcare.

The overarching vision of this Biomedical Discovery Grant funding opportunity is to support "high risk, high reward" research in high-priority areas of women's health research. This funding opportunity will support basic science and/or other types of preclinical studies that have the potential to make significant advancements in women's health. Projects are expected to involve cells, tissues, body parts, and/or biomarkers. Studies focused on female technology (Femtech) are also eligible.

Research Areas

This funding opportunity encourages projects in specific areas that have been chronically underfunded and under-researched. These areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis
  • Early detection of ovarian cancer
  • Early self-detection of breast cancer
  • Treatment for gynecologic conditions, including fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome and/or pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Treatment for perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms in cases where hormone therapy may not be suitable or desired
  • Development of non-hormonal female contraceptives
  • Gender-affirming hormone therapies



The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are:

  • To promote Equity, Diversity and Inclusion–informed, cutting-edge, creative and outside the box research that has the potential to challenge, overturn or create new paradigms in high-priority areas of women's health.
  • To test highly innovative ideas and obtain the results necessary to catalyze new research or commercialization efforts that could subsequently be funded by larger grants.

Eligibility to Apply

For an application to be eligible the mandatory requirements below must be met:

  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant must be an independent researcher affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution and/or its affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other non-profit organizations with a mandate for health research and/or knowledge mobilization) at the time of funding.
  2. The Nominated Principal Applicant must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term.
  3. The Institution Paid must be authorized to administer CIHR funds before the funds can be released (see Administration of Funds).
  4. The NPA must have successfully completed module 1 of the sex- and gender-based analysis training modules available online through the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health and have submitted a Certificate of Completion (see How to Apply section).
  5. Principal Applicants must be independent researchers or knowledge users. Inclusion of one or more Principal Applicants is optional.
  6. Co-Applicants may be independent researchers; knowledge userstraineesPeople with lived and living experience (PWLLE); or other. Inclusion of one or more Co-Applicants is optional.
    • The addition of a trainee as a Co-Applicant is encouraged.
  7. An individual cannot submit more than one application as an NPA. If the NPA submits more than one application, CIHR will automatically withdraw the last application(s) submitted based on timestamp of submission


Agency Name: 
The CIHR Institute of Gender and Health (IGH)
Contact Name: 
Esther Ekpe Adewuyi
Grant Amount: 
CIHR and partner(s) financial contributions for this initiative are subject to availability of funds. Should CIHR or partner(s) funding levels not be available or are decreased due to unforeseen circumstances, CIHR and partner(s) reserve the right to reduce, defer or suspend financial contributions to grants received as a result of this funding opportunity. The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $2,000,000, enough to fund approximately 13 grants. This amount may increase if additional funding partners participate. The maximum amount per grant is $150,000 for up to one year.
Grant Location: 
External Deadline: 
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Internal Deadline: 
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Grant Eligibility: