The Global Health Research Initiative (GHRI) involving the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada and the International Development Research Centre seeks to coordinate Canada's research response to global health challenges. In light of numerous calls to action both nationally and internationally, an orientation to applied health policy and systems research, and to public health research and its application is required to redress global inequalities in wealth and health and to tackle well-documented constraints to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Over the last four years, the GHRI has funded close to 70 research program development and pilot projects. However, longer-term investment is needed. The proposed $100 million Teasdale-Corti Global Health Research Partnership Program is such a response, and is intended to support teams of researchers and research users to develop, test and implement innovative approaches to strengthening institutional capacity, especially in low- and middle-income countries; to generating knowledge and its effective application to improve the health of populations, especially those most vulnerable; and to strengthen health systems in those countries. While Canada stands poised to act, concerted leadership and resources are still required to support "research that matters" for health and development in low- and middle-income countries.