The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR; French: Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada; IRSC) is a federal agency responsible for funding health and medical research in Canada. Comprising 13 institutes, it is the successor to the Medical Research Council of Canada.
|Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada|
|Predecessor||Medical Research Council of Canada|
|Formation||June 7, 2000|
|Legal status||Federal departmental corporation|
|Michael J. Strong|
CIHR supports more than 13,000 researchers and trainees through grants, fellowships, scholarships, and other funding, as part of the federal government's investment in health research. The peer review process is a vital part of CIHR. Review by panels of peers from the research community ensures that proposals approved for funding by CIHR meet internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence.
Along with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the CIHR forms the major source of federal government funding to post-secondary research and are collectively referred to as the "Tri-Council" or "Tri-Agency".
CIHR was created by an Act of Parliament on June 7, 2000, bringing together existing government activities. CIHR's annual budget is approximately $1 billion.
In 2021, Carrie Bourassa, the scientific director of CIHR's Indigenous health arm, was placed on immediate leave after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) found no evidence to support her repeated claims of Indigenous ancestry.
CIHR is a departmental corporation listed in Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act. As an arms' length agency of government, it is accountable to Parliament through the minister of health. CIHR is managed by the president and the 17 members of Governing Council, who are assisted by various Standing and Advisory Committees and a 7-member executive team.
Alan Bernstein was the founding president of the agency (2000-2007), followed by Alain Beaudet (2008-2017). Michael Strong, an ALS researcher, was announced as the new president in June 2018.
CIHR consists of 13 "virtual" institutes, each headed by a Scientific Director and assisted by an Institute Advisory Board. They work together to shape a national health research agenda for Canada. The institutes bring together researchers, health professionals, and policy-makers from voluntary health organizations, provincial government agencies, international research organizations, and industry and patient groups from across the country with a shared interest in improving the health of Canadians.
The work of the institutes embraces the four pillars of health research:
A major goal of the institutes is to forge relationships across disciplines to stimulate integrative, multifaceted research agendas that respond to society's health priorities while adhering to the highest ethical standards.
Each institute focuses on a specific area of research.
In June 2020, CIHR provided $109 million in funding to 139 research teams across Canada for COVID-19 research. On February 16, 2021, CIHR launched the CIHR-CEPI Leadership Award for Excellence in Vaccine Research for Infectious Diseases of Epidemic Potential, co-administered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).