INNOVATIVE RESEARCH

A New Approach to Rare Disease Research in Canada 

There are currently over 8,000 known rare diseases and many more unidentified diseases that await clinical research. In the interim, rare disease patients, their families and caregivers struggle to find answers and access to resources and specialists for the care and support they need.

On the other side, medical practitioners and researchers who champion support for those affected by rare disease also struggle, as typically research grants are provided for common diseases that affect a larger patient population.

The Rare Disease Foundation’s Microgrant Research Program bridges this gap by providing microgrants of up to $5,000 CAD to qualified researchers worldwide. The microgrants foster collaboration and expedite research innovations, with a ‘low red tape’ approach to accessing funds critical for rare disease research and innovations.


Rare Disease Foundation’s microgrant research programs are designed to find, engage and fund research champions for global collaboration and the advancement of clinical discoveries that impact patient care…

Collapsing the Information Silos Across Borders

Each group of scientists has a very deep understanding of their specialized area in rare disease research, but surprisingly there is no easy way to move a project from one silo of expertise to another. These silos exist both locally between researchers and globally. 

A few disease-specific organizations take on the role of research champion, by being the one who moves an investigation rapidly from one expert to the next, to expedite results and new medical discoveries for rare diseases. However, the bulk of rare diseases lack their champion. This is where Rare Disease Foundation’s microgrant program fits into the research landscape.

Since 2008:

  • 547 individual research projects funded

  • $2 million distributed in small, highly efficient microgrants

  • 11 potential cures delivered in as short as 18 months with an average cost of $3,500

Are you a Researcher? Learn more about our Microgrant Research Program and Innovative Therapies Program.