Alberta COVID-19 Rapid Response Program (RRP)


In partnership with Genome Canada through the COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative, Genome Alberta presented the 2019 Alberta COVID-19 Rapid Response Program (RRP).

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses with large single-stranded RNA genomes. Genomic technologies and approaches played an important role in many aspects of the response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), such as; the identification and detection of COVID-19 infections, understanding mechanisms of infection, mapping the spread in real time, tracking new mutations, as well as the development of drug treatments or vaccines for the disease. Further research in this area not only helped Canada respond to the pandemic, but also allowed scientists to better understand coronaviruses in general, which will help control future outbreaks.

In response to the urgent need for further research on COVID-19 during the 2019 crisis, Genome Alberta issued this funding opportunity to support one or more genomics projects. The goal was to address specific, short-term needs as identified by public sector, industry, and not-for-profit receptors through research conducted by academics in collaboration with these receptors. Projects were expected to be outcome-driven, small-scale or larger (depending on additional funding sources) and focused on delivering a genomics-based solution (either technological or knowledge driven) to help address the problem at hand. 

Genome Canada signed a joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak. Initiated by Wellcome, the statement ensured that the World Health Organization (WHO) received rapid access to emerging findings, aiding significantly with the global response. Notably, connectivity with other research teams working on COVID-19 regionally, nationally and/or internationally was also encouraged and expected during that time. 

Funding Highlights

Registration deadline: CLOSED
Project Value: $237,500
Total Funding Available: $237,500


Alberta-based genomics projects were designed and implemented to address specific, short-term industry needs, not-for-profit, and public sector receptors, through research conducted by academics in collaboration with receptors, with near-term outcomes that addressed the COVID-19 crisis.

Project Eligibility

Projects needed to propose genomics-based solutions that contributed to key areas of importance in Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. This may have included implementing novel approaches to the diagnosis of the infection in patients, public health efforts in tracking the virus’ spread, or therapeutics for the treatment of the associated disease in patients. Social science projects addressing unique challenges associated with the acquisition or utilization of genomics data sets, genomics tools, or genomics approaches supporting a rapid response to COVID-19 were eligible. Social science projects that focused on the broader challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak were not eligible.

All projects needed to demonstrate engagement and integration with relevant stakeholders from the regional health authorities (or associated entities) to ensure rapid uptake of research results.

The Project Leader needed to be a researcher affiliated with an Alberta-based institution eligible to receive Genome Canada funding. This includes universities and their affiliated institutions including research hospitals and research institutes, not-for-profit organizations with an explicit research mandate, or non-federal government departments or agencies. To encourage collaboration, project expenses may be incurred by Project Co-leaders or Co-applicants based in other Canadian provinces as long as 75% of the project expenses are incurred in Alberta. Industry was not eligible to receive funding but was encouraged to partner with eligible researchers.

Funding Available and Term

  • $237,500 was available from Genome Alberta to support projects in this competition.
  • Projects could request a maximum budget of $237,500 from Genome Alberta.
  • Genome Alberta expected to fund only 1 high-quality project.
  • Funds for approved projects flowed between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, i.e., maximum term of one year. Extensions will not be considered.
  • Co-funding was not required but was encouraged.

Documents & Resources

For more information on funded projects, please visit our Projects Portfolio.

Funding Contact

Genome Alberta

Other Funding Opportunities

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