Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding of prison health research: a descriptive study
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BACKGROUND: Health research provides a means to define health status and to identify ways to improve health. Our objective was to define the proportion of grants and funding from the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), that was awarded for prison health research, and to describe the characteristics of funded grants. METHODS: In this descriptive study, we defined prison health research as research on the health and health care of people in prisons and at the time of their release. We searched the CIHR Funding Decisions Database by subject and by investigator name for funded grants for prison health research in Canada in all competitions between 2010 and 2014. We calculated the proportion of grants and funding awarded for prison health research, and described the characteristics of funded grants. RESULTS: During the 5-year study period, 21 grants were awarded that included a focus on prison health research, for a total of $2 289 948. Six of these grants were operating grants and 6 supported graduate or fellowship training. In total, 0.13% of all grants and 0.05% of all funding was for prison health research. INTERPRETATION: A relatively small proportion of CIHR grants and funding were awarded for prison health research between 2010 and 2014. If prison health is a priority for Canada, strategic initiatives that include funding opportunities could be developed to support prison health research in Canada.