New Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition responds to global pandemic with $1.5 million collective investment



HALIFAX, NS (April 17, 2020) –  In this unprecedented time of local and global uncertainty, there has never been a greater need to conduct medical and health related research to collect real time evidence to inform practice, policy and decision making in this new pandemic environment. The Nova Scotia research community has come together to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic with a $1.5 million collective investment in COVID-19 focused research.

The first-ever Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition has been formed to bring together research leaders and foundation partners from across the province. The Coalition includes:

  • Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Dalhousie University
  • Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
  • The IWK Health Centre
  • IWK Foundation
  • QEII Health Sciences Foundation
  • Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation, and
  • Research Nova Scotia

“Pandemics are never planned but require rapid response funding to save lives through treatment, vaccine and discovery research. This coalition funding is an essential part of the Nova Scotia pandemic response,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, Clinician Scientist, Infectious Diseases, NSHA/Dalhousie University.  “We are grateful.” 

This Coalition’s funding commitment will support COVID-19 research that will inform health system decisions, facilitate vaccine development, identify novel treatments, develop devices, and influence social response to the pandemic. Funding will also leverage existing research capabilities to help rapidly respond to the urgent need to support further COVID-19 focused research right here in Nova Scotia.

“It’s wonderful to see the foundations come together to support COVID-related research,” said Dr. Jeannette Comeau, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, IWK Health Centre. “New research across many disciplines will help us face down this virus and transform our health system while we do it. This novel research will inform the strategies we use to build a resilient health system and ensure that we are ready to continue protecting and promoting the health of children, women and their families during the pandemic and beyond” said Comeau. “Research teams at the IWK are ready to seize this opportunity!”

Researchers can apply for funding, starting today (Friday, April 17). The deadline for applications is Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

The COVID-19 Health Research Coalition is dedicated to fostering a research environment that engages our academic partnerships and responds to the current needs of Nova Scotians and our health system, in addition to maintaining the expertise in innovative research, discovery science, population/social sciences, and health system improvement.

The Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition encourages others to join our collective efforts to support this urgent research and fund more grants. For more information about donating to these efforts please contact one of our Foundation partners.





“Nova Scotia Health Authority Research and Innovation recognizes the power of partnerships and is incredibly proud and humbled to be a part of this first ever coalition with the collective goal of improving health and healthcare for Nova Scotians through research.”

- Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice President and CNE, Research, Innovation & Discovery, NSHA

“This Coalition is all about working together for the greatest impact possible. The QEII Foundation is proud to be part of this important group who are united with one common purpose – to fund and rapidly facilitate the research that will stop COVID-19 in its tracks. As an organization who believes in the power of research and works closely with the donor community to advance care at the QEII, we are committed to making this happen

- Bill Bean, President & CEO, QEII Foundation

“Dalhousie is incredibly proud to be working with our partners to make a difference,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President Research and Innovation at Dalhousie University. “There is a wealth of research expertise in this province, and by leveraging our collective strengths, we will have a significant impact on the fight against COVID-19 right here at home.”

- Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President, Research & Innovation, Dalhousie University

“There is an urgent need to fast-track solutions to the COVID-19 crisis, and research holds the key,” says Joanne Bath, CEO, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. “By coming together with our partners and working toward a shared mission, we can mobilize cutting-edge COVID-19 research here in the Maritimes, for the benefit of us all.”

- Joanne Bath, CEO, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

“It’s incredible to see so many organizations come together for this health research coalition. An effort like this marks a historical first for the province and we are proud to be making a difference through world-class COVID-19 research,” says Stephen Harding, President CEO of the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation. “There is much opportunity to be explored in our fight against COVID-19, and our priority is to investigate the spread of this virus in our African Nova Scotian communities, like North and East Preston, and take immediate action to help these community members.”

- Stephen Harding, President & CEO, Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation

“We are pleased to join with our partners to support the talented researchers across Nova Scotia who can have a positive impact on our economy, our health care system, and our vulnerable communities and populations,” says Stefan Leslie, CEO of Research Nova Scotia. “We have specifically targeted our funding to ensure that the opportunity is available to researchers throughout the province, along with their community and industry partners.”

- Stefan Leslie, CEO, Research Nova Scotia

“The IWK Foundation is privileged to be working alongside our partners and our dedicated research community to make a powerful impact during this unprecedented time,” says Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation. “Working together with a common goal truly strengthens our individual expertise. This is an essential investment in the health of our province, both now during COVID-19 and for our future.”

- Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation

About QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation

The QEII Foundation inspires generosity to advance health care at the QEII. With financial support from all levels of the community, the QEII Foundation helps fund new technologies, medical research, innovation and professional education that contribute to life-changing moments experienced every day by patients and their loved ones. By working together with people who share a vision of better health, the Foundation strengthens care delivered at the QEII, improving the health and lives of Atlantic Canadians.

About Nova Scotia Health Authority

Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards.

About Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is Atlantic Canada’s leading research-intensive university. Located in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with an Agricultural Campus in Truro/Bible Hill, Dalhousie is a truly national and international university, with more than half of the university’s 19,000-plus students coming from outside the province. Dal’s 6,000 faculty and staff foster a diverse, purpose-driven community, one that spans 13 faculties and conducts more than $168 million in research annually. Part of a cluster identified as one of the world’s top international centres in ocean research, the university proudly celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2018.

About Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) exists to strengthen health research to positively impact health and wellness regionally, nationally and internationally. DMRF provides much needed support for researchers at Dalhousie’s Faculties of Medicine, Health and Dentistry by fundraising to attract the best resources available to bolster their leading-edge work. Collaboration is crucial to our success and we nurture strong relationships with research institutes across geographic borders that share our quest for innovative outcomes.

About Research Nova Scotia

Research Nova Scotia (RNS) is a not-for-profit corporation established to enhance research capacity and align research funding with provincial priorities. RNS invests in research that builds and translates knowledge to help ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for Nova Scotia.

About Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation

The Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation (DGHF) has been a driving force in connecting community and hospital since 1975. Through the tremendous generosity of community, friends and partners, the DGHF has positively impacted and supported the delivery of exceptional patient care at the Dartmouth General Hospital with more than $42 million dollars invested in equipment, facilities and programs since its inception. To learn more or donate, visit

About the IWK Health Centre

The IWK Health Centre is the Maritime region's leading health care and research centre dedicated to the well-being of women, children, youth and families. In addition to providing highly specialized and complex care, the IWK provides certain primary care services and is a strong advocate for the health of families. The IWK is a global leader in research and knowledge sharing, and a partner in educating the next generation of health professionals. Visit for more information.

About the IWK Foundation

The IWK Foundation is a champion of excellence in women's and children's health and medicine and works in partnership with the IWK Health Centre to support their vision of providing quality care to women, children, youth and families in the Maritime Provinces and beyond. Our donors are passionately committed to making a difference for Maritime families, contributing more than $15 million in support of the most urgent care priorities at the IWK last year. Funds raised also support the IWK's global leadership in research and knowledge sharing, which in turn improves lives worldwide.

 For more information, contact:

Nova Scotia Health Authority Media Relations at 1-844-483-3344 and