Pandemic Response Challenge program

This program is now closed.

The Pandemic Response Challenge program brought together the best Canadian and international researchers to fast track research and development (R&D) aimed at specific COVID-19 gaps and challenges identified by Canada's health experts. We built these teams from government, universities, and Canadian business to accelerate the development of diagnostics tools and medical countermeasures for a rapid front-line response to protect and treat Canadians affected by the pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, projects supported by this program helped Canada improve its preparedness for other future events. Furthermore, some innovations are now being transferred and applied to other medical fields.

About the program

Areas of focus

The Pandemic Response Challenge program wass structured around 4 main research pillars.

Rapid detection and diagnosis

  • Detect and diagnose the COVID-19 virus with advanced methodologies and sampling technologies based on molecular signatures
  • Develop and refine field-deployable detection and diagnosis devices

Therapeutics and vaccines

  • Develop biologics and antibodies to counteract disease in the critically ill
  • Develop vaccines using NRC expertise in antigen design, and vaccine delivery and formulation

Digital patient care and pandemic analytics

  • Develop low-cost, high-precision contactless sensor systems for widespread patient monitoring
  • Personalize artificial-intelligence assistants to help remote and vulnerable populations
  • Improve our grasp of digital tools to understand how the virus behaves and monitor its spread in the community

Enabling adaptive responses

  • Validate technologies to empower medical practitioners to transform and adapt health care delivery
  • Supply clinicians with access to innovative solutions for health care delivery during the pandemic
  • Develop made-in-Canada solutions to ensure the availability of the necessary supplies needed in the fight against COVID-19

Featured projects


Contact us

If you are interested in collaborating with us, or if you have any questions, please contact:

Jean-François Houle
Vice-President, Pandemic Response Challenge program


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