Call for applications! Research funding to optimize blood product use and to train next-generation researchers

Friday, June 19, 2020 Everad Tilokee

Two funding programs that support making the most out of blood donations are now welcoming applications.

The Blood Efficiency Accelerator Program or “BEAP” is a highly innovative research funding program geared towards optimizing blood product use while maintaining the safety of the blood supply.

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program or “PDF” is a vital training program that contributes to building a community of experts that will ensure the relevance and safety of the blood system and transplantation system for now and the years to come.

Every year, the Centre for Innovation welcomes applications to the BEAP and PDF competitions to ensure that the programs are always responding to emerging challenges facing the blood system. This year, the BEAP and PDF will both support research that will advance knowledge in the following research priority areas:

  • Promoting appropriate blood product utilization
  • Ensuring an adequate blood product supply
  • Minimizing the adverse effects of blood product transfusion
  • Optimizing blood product quality
  • Replacing or improving blood products through new therapies or technologies

Innovation in the midst of COVID-19

The BEAP in particular is designed to stimulate the creation of new knowledge or accelerate the application of existing knowledge all towards optimizing blood product use. The BEAP supports researchers seeking innovative ways to find efficiencies in the blood system and arguably this has never been more important than it is in the current context. With COVID-19, the number of donors Canadian Blood Services is able to welcome is limited by physical distancing and other factors, so making the most out of every donation is essential.

While all applications aimed at improving blood product use are considered, the competition will give priority to projects focused on improving procedures and protocols at Canadian hospitals or at Canadian Blood Services that will improve the use of red blood cells, platelets and plasma products.

In addition, the 2020 BEAP competition welcomes applications addressing COVID-19-related transfusion challenges. With respect to COVID-19, applications for funding will be considered if they target improved efficiency in executing and/or improving the measures now necessary to protect hospital or Canadian Blood Services staff or donors or patients from the pandemic, in the delivery of transfusion medicine, and prior to the widespread availability of a vaccine.

Quick facts

  • Applications for the BEAP and PDF are due July 17, 2020
  • All investigators applying to the BEAP must be affiliated with a Canadian academic program as a faculty member or with Canadian Blood Services. All BEAP project teams must include at least one Canadian Blood Services employee.
  • BEAP may support projects up to a maximum of $30,000 for one year.
  • All postdoctoral fellows applying to the PDF must be undertaking research training in a laboratory affiliated with Canadian Blood Services.
  • The PDF provides salary support plus benefits, and a one-time research allowance of $20,000. Fellows may be supported up to a maximum of three years.                         

Previous BEAP and PDF recipients

With funding through the BEAP, a team led by Dr. Jason Acker, senior scientist at the Centre for Innovation, is  assessing the impact of unintentional warming on the quality of red blood cells. The results of this study could lead to changes in how we store and manage frozen red blood cells.

Dr. Ruqayyah Almizraq, is a postdoctoral fellow training under the supervision of Dr. Donald Branch and a recent recipient of the PDF. She is working diligently to develop a drug to replace intravenous immunoglobulin – an expensive drug derived from donor plasma.  The findings of her work could reduce the demand for this drug and the burden it places on the blood system.

Check out our Funded Research Projects page to learn about the other projects funded under these Programs.

Interested in applying for funding?

Our 2020 BEAP and PDF competitions are currently open and application forms must be submitted by July 17, 2020. If you are interested in applying, click here for more information on our current funding opportunities. If you have any questions or need help identifying a team member or postdoctoral supervisor from Canadian Blood Services, contact the Centre for Innovation by email at

To stay informed about Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation funding opportunities, please sign-up for the Research & Education Round Up to stay up to date on research publications and funding opportunities.


Red blood cells hanging to filter at a Canadian Blood Services production facility.

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.


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