New CIHR Operating Grant Launched Will Fund Pain Intervention Research

June 27, 2018

In Canada, the dramatic and increasing number of overdoses and deaths related to the use of opioids is a national public health crisis. The Government of Canada is committed to tackling this crisis and has emphasized the need for a strong evidence base through the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS). This funding opportunity will support evaluation grants to rapidly assess interventions and practices that have been put in place to address the most urgent elements of the opioid crisis. (To view additional funding opportunities that may be of interest please see our Resources section).

In addition, one of the drivers of the current opioid crisis in Canada is unrelieved pain. Pain is a common reason for seeking medical attention, but existing therapeutics are only partially effective and the widespread prescription of opioids has directly contributed to the current opioid crisis. Effectively tackling pain through non-pharmacological treatments could not only improve the health and quality of life for all Canadians, but could also help prevent one upstream cause of the opioid crisis. 

This funding opportunity is designed to allow health care practitioners and policy makers to gain evidence on the effectiveness of opioid crisis-related interventions. Providing evidence on the efficacy of prevention (including pain management), harm reduction and treatment interventions can help healthcare and health services providers make informed decisions on practice, thereby helping to reduce the problematic use of opioids. Efficacy evidence on interventions could also help to inform changes to national, provincial, municipal and/or private health policy and health coverage.

Evaluations may examine interventions at any point in their development – from assessing effectiveness of to the implementation strategy for the intervention. Interventions can be nationally, provincially or municipally managed.

Research Areas

This funding opportunity will support the evaluation of promising health interventions and practices that have been implemented municipally, provincially and/or nationally to address the opioid crisis relevant to one or more of the four pillars of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS):

Prevention: Preventing problematic drug and substance use.*

Treatment: Supporting innovative approaches to treatment and rehabilitation of problematic drug and substance use.

Harm reduction:  Supporting measures that reduce the negative consequences of drug and substance use.

Enforcement: Addressing illicit drug production, supply and distribution of drugs and substances.

Additionally, applicants are encouraged to critically assess the biological and social determinants of opioid use (e.g., sex, gender, age, housing status and income), and/or sub-populations (e.g., those with severe opioid use disorder, youth, Indigenous peoples, rural, inner-urban, pregnant women and correctional populations) in relation to the intervention to be evaluated.

*Note: For the purposes of this funding opportunity, pain management will be considered as an element of the prevention pillar.

Funds Available

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 $ 1,500,000, enough to fund approximately 15 grants. This amount may increase if additional funding partners participate. The maximum amount per grant is $ 100,000 per year for up to 1 year.

Of this $ 1,500,000:

$ 500,000 is available to fund applications relevant to non-pharmacological interventions for pain management.


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