Funding research to improve blood products and the blood system – call for applications!

Thursday, January 30, 2020 Everad Tilokee

The Centre for Innovation’s funding programs support research to help ensure a safe and effective supply of blood and blood products for Canadians. But, research and medicine are not static. To be effective, these programs must be dynamic and respond to new developments and changing needs. The Intramural Research Grant Program (IRGP) is one of the Centre for Innovation’s most responsive and impactful research funding programs.

Every year, the Centre for Innovation welcomes applications to the IRGP competition to ensure that the program is always responding to emerging challenges facing the blood system. This year, the IRGP will support research that will advance knowledge in the following 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

Quick Facts:

  • Registration forms are due Feb. 7, 2020, and full applications are due April 10, 2020.
  • All project teams must include ≥ 2 investigators and at least one of the investigators must be a Canadian Blood Services scientist, medical officer/director/consultant, or adjunct scientist.
  • All investigators applying to the IRGP must be affiliated with a Canadian academic program as a faculty member.
  • IRGP projects may be supported up to a maximum of $400,000 over two years.

The IRGP is designed to build strong research teams and to support and maintain a network of researchers dedicated to addressing the needs of Canadian Blood Services. Over the past year alone, nine projects have been funded through this program. These projects address various issues including appropriate utilization of blood products and blood product safety.

For example, a team led by Dr. William Sheffield, associate director, research, at the Centre for Innovation is using mouse models to understand whether plasma, products purified from plasma, or products mimicking proteins found in plasma are best to help critically injured patients. This study will improve understanding of how to best use blood and blood products to benefit Canadian patients.

Dr. Sandra Ramirez-Arcos, senior development scientist at the Centre for Innovation, is investigating how bacteria grow in platelet units to try to better understand why screening tests do not always detect units that are contaminated with bacteria. The findings could help improve transfusion safety, as contaminated units that are not detected by the screening tests and are transfused can cause serious reactions in the patient.

Check out our Funded Research Projects page to learn about the other projects funded under this Program (select “Intramural Research Grant Program” under Programs).

Interested in applying for funding?

If you have a project idea, a faculty appointment at a Canadian academic institution, and a project team member affiliated with Canadian Blood Services, you are eligible to apply for funding through the IRGP. Project teams can be any size; however, all project teams must include two investigators and at least one of the investigators must be affiliated with a Canadian Blood Services as a Canadian Blood Services Scientist, Medical 

Officer/Director/Consultant, or Adjunct Scientist (a list can be found here). All investigators must be affiliated with a Canadian academic institution as a faculty member.

Our 2020 competition is currently open and registration forms must be submitted by February 7, 2020. If you are interested in applying, click here for more information. If you have any questions or need help identifying a team member from Canadian Blood Services, contact the Centre for Innovation by email at

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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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