Skip to Content

What we fund

Diabetes Canada is proud to be a leading supporter of diabetes research in Canada. Since Banting and Best's discovery of insulin in Toronto in 1921, the scope of diabetes research in Canada has been vast and there have been huge strides and key advances in mapping and understanding diabetes and its complications. 

We fund some of Canada's most renowned scientists and clinicians in their quest for new and innovative developments in the prevention, treatment and management of diabetes.

Although their research is diverse in scope, the key goals of every diabetes study and researcher remain the same—to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes and to find a cure.

Types of research

Research can be broken down into four big categories. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research defines these categories as “pillars”. Each pillar interacts with the others to create a pipeline of research that goes from labs and test tubes to medications and treatments that can actually be used by people living with diabetes.

Pillar 1: Basic biomedical research

Involves studying molecules, cells and tissues to find out, at the microscopic level, how our bodies work in health and disease. Takes about 10 to 40 years before it impacts patients.

Pillar 2: Clinical research

Involves studying people/patients,taking that information and turning into treatments, diagnostic tests and cures. Takes five to 15 years before it impacts patients.

Pillar 3: Health services research

Involves measuring how treatments are being delivered to the population and whether they provide the promised benefit. Takes one to five years before delivering results that can be used to develop policy. How and when it impacts patients depends on governments implementing the findings.

Pillar 4: Population & public health

Involves studying the health of whole populations and subgroups within those populations, in particular, finding out if everyone is benefiting equally from advances in health services. Takes one to five years before delivering results that can be used to develop policy, and also depends on government action.

Topics of research

Within these pillars, Diabetes Canada funds research covering an array of topics to answer a never-ending list of questions:


Why do diabetes-related complications develop?
How can they be avoided or treated?


What genes increase the risk of developing the different types of diabetes?
How can we figure out who is at risk?


How does obesity increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
How can it be treated?


What happens in the body at the smallest levels to cause diabetes?

Prevention & Management

How can diabetes be prevented or best managed to avoid complications?
How can the complications of diabetes be prevented?

New Treatments

Are there better ways to treat diabetes that have fewer side effects?
The search for a cure.

Our currently funded researchers continue the tradition of innovation and discovery in all of these areas. Every day, they provide new and innovative improvements in diabetes care and bring us closer to a cure.

Our research partnerships

Diabetes Canada also funds research partnerships that help us leverage our research funds and address needs that might not be met through our regular research competition.

We currently fund the following strategic partnerships:

  • Julia McFarlane/Diabetes Canada Chair in Diabetes Research
  • SPOR - Complications of Diabetes
  • Pathways to Health Equity

Contact us

For more information about the research we fund and partnership

Science & Policy Team

Help support more research & discoveries

We need your help so that we can continue to fund ground-breaking research and end diabetes once and for all.