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Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program – Phase I


The first cycle of the program funded 30 research projects with a focus on the neurosciences (2015 call), immunology (2016 call), cancer (2017 call), neurobiology (2018 call), and metabolism in health and disease (2019 call)

Scientific collaboration between academic research institutions to generate a range of scientific innovations in the biomedical sector with benefits to Canada, Israel and the world was the main motivation of the Presidents of the partner agencies during the launch of phase I:

“The Israel Science Foundation is extremely excited about this joint program for several reasons. First and foremost, the research achievements of both Israeli and Canadian researchers in different biomedical fields, including brain research, cancer biology, and immunology, are truly outstanding and in many cases, highly complementary. Secondly, we are genuinely excited at the thought of working with IDRC, CIHR, and the Azrieli Foundation, with whom we share the commitment and dedication to promoting scientific excellence. Finally, we look forward to the active and fruitful involvement of researchers and students from developing countries in our joint endeavour.” 

Professor Benny Geiger
Chair, Academic Board, Israel Science Foundation

“Science is an international and collaborative undertaking. With this initiative to link leading researchers from Canada and Israel, the Azrieli Foundation continues its mission to support scientific excellence and encourage multilayered collaborations. Bringing together outstanding, innovative Canadian and Israeli scientists will complement and diversify the work being done in both countries and strengthen our mutual pursuits. We believe this program will result in cutting-edge research that will make a difference – in Canada, in Israel and globally.” 

Dr. Naomi Azrieli
Chair and CEO, The Azrieli Foundation

“This program complements IDRC’s expertise in global health and our mandate to fund international projects that help train the next generation of developing-country leaders. It also builds on IDRC’s strength in international scientific collaboration and partnership. Canada’s IDRC welcomes the opportunity to work on the frontiers of biomedical research and, together with our partners, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada’s Azrieli Foundation, and the Israel Science Foundation, contribute to discoveries that can transform lives. This is of global benefit.” 

Dr. Jean Lebel
President, International Development Research Centre

“CIHR is honoured to support the Canada-Israel Health Research Program. Our two countries have a long-standing history of collaboration, and this research program provides an opportunity to build on our mutual areas of expertise. The program takes advantage of Canada’s research strengths, starting with the neurosciences where this initiative will help us better understand the basic mechanisms underlying brain organization, function and dysfunction.”

Dr. Alain Beaudet
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Research highlights

  • More than 100 researchers in 14 countries were supported by the program. 
  • More than 100 articles have been published in prestigious scientific journals, such as Nature Communications. 
  • The research has had impactful outcomes in the fields of brain plasticity, dengue vaccine, learning processes, memory, Alzheimer’s disease and paediatric cancer. 
  • The program formed the basis of 35 PhD and MSc theses. 
  • Women scientists represented 46% of all researchers involved in the 30 projects supported (all sites and roles combined). 
  • New collaborations between researchers in Canada, Israel and low- and middle-income countries form 80% of the projects supported.