Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program funds collaborative research related to understanding and managing Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion disease affecting elk and deer.

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Program at a Glance

Program Status: Active
Strategic Initiative: Agri-Food Innovation
Business Area: Agri-Food Innovation


Program Status: Active
Alberta-based: Yes


Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a prion disease caused by misfolded proteins in the brain that can affect elk, deer, and other cervids. CWD can be transmitted both by contact and through the environment in soil, water, and in plants. Its spread represents a threat to agricultural production and to animal health.

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program is designed to support collaborative research directly related to understanding and managing CWD. Our funding aims to help researchers find solutions to slow and prevent the spread of CWD.

The program will:

  • Result in a better understanding of the mechanisms of CWD and how it spreads;
  • Develop innovative approaches to contribute to diagnosis, prevention, and a cure;
  • Advance progress towards the possible elimination of the disease; and
  • Develop new testing methods to be deployed in Alberta.

Information that emerges through the program has potential value for all levels of government and could inform the development of public policies regarding CWD. Findings can also support progress in understanding other types of prion diseases affecting other animals, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle. In order to maximize impact, projects which address more than one of the program areas are strongly encouraged.

Funding of up to $250,000 per project will be available with a total CWD Program offering of $1 million.


The program is open to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industry organizations, research and development organizations, post-secondary institutions, and government research laboratories.

Research projects must be carried out by at least two investigators. Teams will select a nominated Principal Investigator (PI), who must be based in Alberta, to submit the application. Projects must also be supported by a cash contribution from another funder equaling at least 25 per cent of the amount from Alberta Innovates.

Successful applicants will receive awarded funds through their organization.

How To Apply

Does this program sound like a good fit? We accept applications in two phases: initial intake and then the full proposal. The intake form is intended to make sure you’re eligible for the program before a full proposal is submitted.

Please refer to the program guide for full details before you get started.

To apply:

  1. Make sure you’re familiar with the content covered in the program guide.
  2. View the webinar recording and slide deck below.
  3. Ensure you meet our criteria for eligibility, listed in the program guide.
  4. Submit your registration by completing the intake form on Smart Simple, our online portal.
  5. Submit your full proposal. All applicants must register first to be eligible to submit.

Following evaluation, applicants will be notified as to whether their application has been approved for support. Questions about the online application system can be directed to or 403-210-5229. Any program related questions should be addressed to Ron Clarkson at or 780-429-9349.

View the webinar and accompanying slide deck linked below for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Evaluation Process

All applications are reviewed and evaluated to determine fit with program objectives and intended outcomes. Alberta Innovates staff and external expert reviewers evaluate submitted applications based on the criteria described on page 9 of the Program Guide.

Program Contacts

Virginia Mulligan, PhD

Senior Manager, Agri-Food Innovation

Closed Intakes

Chronic Wasting Disease Research Program 2023 - Intake

Applications for the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Research Program are now open! The CWD Program funds collaborative research related to understanding and managing CWD, a prion disease affecting elk and deer.


Registration closed: August 14, 2023 12:00 am

Funded Projects

View All Projects

Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission to Sympatric Species

Dr. Sabine Gilch, University of Calgary

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Contamination of Vegetation

University of Alberta, Dr. Judd Aiken, Results Driven Agriculture Research

JAN 2022 – DEC 2023

Mechanisms of Genetic Resistance to CWD Infection in White‐Tailed Deer and Caribou

University of Alberta, Dr. Debbie McKenzie

January 2022 – December 2023

Structure‐Based Chronic Wasting Disease Vaccines: Analyzing Their Mode of Action

University of Alberta, Dr. Holger Wille

January 2022 – December 2023

Discover More

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