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New commitment to supporting sex and gender-based brain research in Canada

CBRF News, News June 01, 2021

Brain Canada and Women’s Brain Health Initiative join forces to fund critical sex and gender brain research

Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) and Brain Canada have joined forces to launch the first ever Brain Canada-WBHI Expansion Grants: Considering Sex and Gender Program, a new initiative to support the implementation or continuation of sex and gender considerations for research funded by the two organizations. The projects focus on aging, neurodegeneration or stroke. Six grants of up to $105,000 will be awarded for a total investment of $630,000 in the amplification of sex and gender-based research. 

“As a funding agency, we have a responsibility to support these considerations in the work we enable —we must all acknowledge that sex and gender differences exist,” says Brain Canada CEO and President Dr. Viviane Poupon. “Through this partnership with WBHI, we can together be a guiding light for researchers, and along the way inspire our partners and other agencies, to enable and encourage this aspect of research through funding.”

The distinction between sex and gender has become increasingly important in science and research due to the differences in risk for developing a disease as well as in treatment response.

"Women suffer from depression, stroke and dementia twice as much as men and an astounding 70 per cent of new Alzheimer's patients are women. Despite this, the vast majority of research into these conditions has focused on male brains," says WBHI founder and president Lynn Posluns. "By incentivizing gender-based research, we are giving women a fighting chance to protect their brain health. This partnership is not just about funding — it's a call to action for gender equity in scientific research."

The Brain Canada-WBHI Expansion Grants are designed to encourage researchers to incorporate sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA)-driven research hypotheses into their existing work by contributing to overcoming barriers in research and creating a foundation for sex and gender considerations to become standard practice within the scientific community.

Evidence clearly shows that increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in research environments enhances excellence, innovation, and creativity. Brain Canada and WBHI are committed to excellence through equity and encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply to our funding opportunities.

Funding for the Brain Canada-WBHI Expansion Grant: Considering Sex and Gender Program has been made possible by WBHI's annual Stand Ahead Challenge fundraising campaign, and through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada.

Interested applicants will first be required to register by July 5th, 2021 at 16:00 ET. Select applicants will be invited to proceed to the Full Application phase. The deadline for Full Applications through Brain Canada's electronic grant management system - SmartSimple is September 1st, 2021 at 16:00 ET. 

Please refer to the Request for Applications for additional details.