CCS/CIHR-ICR Inititative in Primary Cancer Prevention

Currently, nearly one in two Canadians will develop cancer during their lifetime and about one in four will die from their disease. However, risk factors, prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatments, and survival are not equitably distributed across populations. For example, a 2017 study of 15 types of cancers in a population-based cohort of 2M people over 9 years found that First Nations people had poorer 5-yr survival rates than non-Indigenous Canadians in 14 of 15 of the most common types of cancers that could not be explained by income or rurality. Similar inequities exist across the cancer trajectory from prevention to palliative and end-of-life care among communities such as immigrants and refugees, Black, Asian, South Asian, and Islamic peoples. Studying cancer prevention in Canada, therefore, requires targeted strategies tailored to the many distinct populations that, together, comprise the Canadian population.

The long-term objective of the CCS/CIHR-ICR Initiative in Primary Cancer Prevention is to reduce the number of cancer diagnoses by accelerating the application of innovative interventions to prevent the onset of malignancy before it begins and move knowledge and evidence into practice in the health system, communities and workplaces and into the daily lives of Canadians of all cultural background and ethnicities, including Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), immigrants and refugees, and historically excluded populations. The intent of this Phase 1: CCS/CIHR Action Grants is to motivate Canadians to take “action” to avoid known modifiable risk factors for cancer and to encourage the research and end-user communities to take “action” towards harnessing new ideas, platforms and technologies from within and outside the cancer field to test out bold, novel interventions with the potential to prevent cancer.

This funding opportunity is not intended to generate new knowledge, except in areas with an identified gap, but rather to take the knowledge we already have and accelerate the development, implementation and evaluation of novel interventions that bring new technologies, resources, perspectives and expertise to bear in preventing cancer for all people living in Canada.


For the purpose of this funding opportunity eligible interventions include, but are not restricted to:

  • Interventions that create opportunities and support for people of all backgrounds and cultures to create healthy environments that support healthy behaviours that are easy to implement and maintain given the influence of relevant context and history.
  • Novel policy interventions with the clear potential for broad or targeted population impact.
  • Culturally safe or relevant interventions that aim to increase health and well-being across the lifecycle for all populations, including First Nations, Inuit, Métis and/or Urban Indigenous Peoples.
  • Interventions that target the biological mechanisms underpinning the pathways linking lifestyle factors to cancer.
  • Interventions that integrate aspects of virtual and digital health (i.e. biosensors, activity trackers), with a focus on the implementation of emerging technologies.
  • Interventions focused on previously identified high risk populations.
  • Interventions to prevent cancer through immune modulation, such as vaccines for known or new targets.
  • Chemoprevention interventions/strategies.
  • Interventions mediated by the microbiome or metabolome that are etiologically-related to cancer development.
  • Personalized interventions using strategies, such as circulating biomarkers to optimize prevention, e.g. surrogate markers, or pre-malignant indicators.
  • Surgical procedures, such as removal of fallopian tubes to prevent ovarian cancer, prophylactic mastectomy in genetically high-risk populations.

Interventions directly related to the potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on any of the above-mentioned research areas would also be eligible.


Registration due date: June 23, 2021
Full application due date: September 10, 2021
Results announcement: January 2022
Anticipated funding start date: January 15, 2022

See Full Eligibility Details & Apply

Agency Name: 
Canadian Institute of Health Research; Canadian Cancer Society
Contact Name:
Grant Amount: 
Up to $200,000 for 1 year
Grant Location: 
External Deadline: 
Friday, September 10, 2021
Internal Deadline: 
Friday, September 3, 2021
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Grant Eligibility: