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Pandemic Response Challenge program

The Pandemic Response Challenge program brings 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 are building 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.

About the program

Areas of focus

The Pandemic Response Challenge program is 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

Getting involved

We invite collaborators at Canadian and international universities, colleges, centres of excellence, not-for-profit organizations, governmental research organizations, and highly innovative firms to express their interest in collaborating with the program.

Express your interest

Call for capabilities and collaboration

As the program moves forward, we will post specific R&D challenges, send information to registered researchers, and invite them to indicate the expertise and capabilities they can bring to a team.

Industry user groups

Personal Protective Equipment Decon User Group – a scientific alternative

Open calls

There are currently no open calls for capabilities.

Closed calls

Molecular assay for instrument-less SARS-CoV-2 rapid diagnostic from saliva

Featured projects

Meet the team

  • Jean-François Houle,
    Vice-President, Pandemic Response Challenge Program
    Lead - Enabling adaptive responses
  • Jean Labrecque,
    Co-lead - Rapid detection and diagnosis
  • Teodor Veres,
    Co-Lead - Rapid detection and diagnosis
  • Yves Durocher,
    Co-lead - Therapeutics and vaccines
  • Wangxue Chen,
    Co-Lead - Therapeutics and vaccines
  • Robert DiRaddo,
    Co-Lead - Digital patient care and pandemic analytics
  • Andrew Scheidl,
    Co-Lead - Digital patient care and pandemic analytics

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


Related links

Stay connected

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Twitter: @nrc_cnrc on Twitter
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Search for: #NRCChallengePandemic