GSK announces largest private financial contribution to CIHR’s Team Grants initiative addressing threats to Canadian lung health

The $2 million contribution will support the investigation into evidence-based solutions to improve Canadians’ lung health.

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO - GSK is investing $2 million in research to address ongoing, new, and emerging threats to lung health in Canada. The funds will be managed and administered by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through the Team Grants in Lung Health initiative. GSK’s contribution is the largest private financial contribution to this research initiative to date.

This investment will help interdisciplinary research teams better understand biological, social, environmental, and behavioural effects on lung health. With a collective investment of $17.5 million in the Team Grants in Lung Health, CIHR and partners aim to enable researchers to develop and disseminate evidence-based solutions for better lung health and overall wellness.

“GSK has been advancing respiratory disease care for more than 50 years, helping millions of patients breathe more easily. As a company committed to getting ahead of respiratory diseases, we believe it is of the utmost importance to partner in driving excellence in Canadian research,” said Marni Freeman, VP & Country Medical Director, GSK Canada. “Our objective with our financial participation in the Team Grants in Lung Health is to bring life-changing knowledge and innovation with a tangible positive impact on respiratory health to Canadians and people around the world.”

Dr. Brian H. Rowe, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health said, “Today, we are celebrating a major contribution made by GSK. We greatly appreciate their commitment to improving lung health in Canada. Maintaining healthy lungs plays an important role in everyone’s wellbeing. The respiratory health of people living in Canada continues to be threatened by viruses like COVID-19, behavioural choices including vaping, smoking and cannabis use, and environmental factors including wildfire smoke and other forms of air pollution. Thanks to support from sixteen partners, the Team Grants in Lung Health initiative brings together collaborators from across the respiratory research ecosystem.”

Poor indoor and outdoor air quality contributes to preventable emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even deaths. Inhalation of gases and toxins resulting from smoking, vaping, radon, and air pollution can significantly impact lung health and other organ systems, such as the heart and brain. Considering these and other significant threats to lung health, such as lung cancers, the effects of vaping on health, viral infections such as COVID-19, and the impacts of climate change, there is an urgent need for strategic investment in lung health research.[1]

“The CIHR’s Team Grants in Lung Health is the single largest investment in lung health research in the history of CIHR. The Canadian Thoracic Society is pleased to partner with the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and the Institute of Cancer Research in this generational CIHR funding opportunity,” added Dr. Mohit Bhutani, President, Canadian Thoracic Society. “We are extremely thankful to GSK for their $2 million contribution to the initiative. This major donation has helped increase the number of grants offered and made the initiative even more successful as a result. The scientific outputs that come out of this research funding opportunity will have a lasting impact on furthering our understanding of lung disease and improving outcomes for patients living, both in Canada and around the world.”

The Team Grants in Lung Health will support research focused on the inequitable impacts on lung health related to geographical location, social status, ancestral heritage, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and age. For example, people living in remote, rural, and northern communities are more commonly adversely affected by poor air quality caused by wildfires; women are both under-represented in research and disproportionately misdiagnosed with cardiorespiratory conditions; and Indigenous Peoples in Canada are at risk of greater exposure to toxins in their lungs due to higher smoking rates, an increased likelihood of living in crowded homes or houses with mould, and environmental factors that affect air and water quality.

About the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we believe research has the power to change lives. The CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (CIHR-ICRH) is one of thirteen Institutes, with a focus on supporting research into the causes, mechanisms, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems and palliation for a wide range of conditions associated with the heart, lung, brain (stroke), blood, blood vessels, critical care, and sleep. To learn more, please visit us at @CIHR_ICRH 

About GSK

We are a global biopharma company with a purpose to unite science, technology and talent to get ahead of disease together. We make innovative vaccines and specialty medicines to prevent and treat disease. Our R&D focuses on the science of the immune system, human genetics and advanced technologies. We aim to positively impact the health of 2.5 billion people over the next 10 years. Find out more at


[1] ResearchNet – RechercheNet