Scientists concerned focus on COVID-19 disrupting regular health research funds

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OTTAWA — Canada’s health research granting agency has postponed its usual funding competition due to COVID-19, sparking concern the lack of money could disrupt regular health research.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research put off its regular $275 million competition this spring to focus on delivering federal grants related to the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Tarik Moroy, president of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, says researchers rely on that funding, and the delay is likely to disrupt vital work on health conditions.

He says learning about COVID-19 should not come at the expense of other health research.

The granting agency says delaying the competition was a difficult decision and it has put $31 million into trying to mitigate the impacts on researchers whose grants are set to expire.

The rest of the grant money that was supposed to be allocated this spring will be added to the next funding competition this fall.