The Scientific Approach


CANFAR was incorporated in 1987 primarily to meet an urgent need for research into all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS. CANFAR continues to be the only organization in Canada for the sole purpose of privately funding research on AIDS and HIV infection.

The House of Commons health committee recently noted that current federal funding for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Strategy is grossly inadequate. Canadian AIDS researchers in the clinical, biological and social sciences desperately need more funding in order to answer some of the most important questions related to AIDS in Canada and around the world.

Established in 1987, the role of CANFAR is to fund institution-based HIV/AIDS researchers within Canada. CANFAR’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is made up of experts from five areas of HIV/AIDS-related research. Members are responsible for advising the Board on granting policy, establishing priorities for research funding, and evaluating applications for funding.

CANFAR’s activities do not duplicate those of existing research programs, organizations or agencies. CANFAR augments and complements existing research programs, providing additional funding to sustain or complete ongoing efforts. CANFAR also funds research in areas that have not received necessary funding or require seed funding. In 2001, CANFAR made an inaugural gift to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research HIV/AIDS Laboratory at the University of Toronto.

Grants are awarded at two levels and each grant application is evaluated through a Peer Review Process and then further reviewed by CANFAR’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC evaluates:

  1. the scientific merit of the proposal;
  2. the relevance of the research to the control of the epidemic or benefit to patients with AIDS;
  3. the uniqueness of the project within the Canadian and global context;
  4. the qualifications, experience and productivity of the investigator(s); and
  5. the facilities available to undertake the proposed research.

CANFAR’s SAC and over 60 peer specialists across Canada are committed to seeing that the best HIV/AIDS work is funded. Through this rigorous, scientific approach, CANFAR ensures that top-notch Canadian researchers and projects are supported by Canadian dollars.