Communicating the Value of Health Research - A Guide to Public Communications for CIHR-funded Researchers
Promoting Your Research – Canadians Want to Hear About It!
Canadians have a seemingly unquenchable appetite for hearing about health research. When we tell them these stories, we not only attract attention to worthwhile research, we build public support for the entire health research enterprise – support that can translate to sustained and increased funding for your research.
For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and healthcare for Canadians.
As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented healthcare system. Composed of 13 internationally-recognized Institutes, CIHR works to promote the value of health research to Canadians; this document lets you know your obligations when you are talking about your CIHR-funded research and how CIHR can help.
CIHR has developed myriad ways to draw attention to your health research:
- Researcher profiles: Stories each month centre on a theme of concern to Canadians and demonstrate the interconnected, yet diverse, nature of health research. We highlight researchers' successes and their impact on health and healthcare in Canada.
- Social media: More than 100,000 people are part of our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, tune into our blog, Science on Tap, and view our health-research videos and photos on YouTube and Flickr.
- Videos: You can share the excitement of your health research by submitting a video or contributing to one of our multimedia products.
- Café Scientifiques: Canadians from coast to coast are taking part in these informal discussions in cafes, bars and restaurants – casual spaces that lend themselves to conversation about important concerns in health and health research.
- Journalist Workshops: CIHR hosts two Journalist Workshops every year where health and science reporters have the opportunity to connect and meet face to face with some of Canada's most renowned researchers. The goal of the workshops is to facilitate networking, foster relationships and ultimately enhance knowledge.
- Blogs: Science on Tap, the CIHR blog, takes the Café Scientifiques discussion to a wider plane, bringing more people into the conversation and providing a forum for posing questions to Café panelists and other blog readers.
- Expert alerts and pitches: We let media know about experts available to talk to them about specific issues that are in the news – or should be.
- Newsletters: Our regular newsletters let media, parliamentarians and key decision makers know about the latest developments in health research.
- Synapse: Our award-winning youth-engagement program awakens high-school students to the fascinating world of health research and the researchers who populate it.
But we can't do it without you
We need to know about your research so that we can feature it in our stories, on our social media sites and in our Café Scientifiques.
Public attention translates into greater reach for your research. More people hear about it, more people may put its findings into practice. Potential collaborators get to know about you. In a research world that values multi-disciplinary collaboration, people in other research areas, people you would not normally reach within your own discipline's traditional channels of communication, can find out about you. Public support can also translate into increased levels of funding which means more support for you and your colleagues.
So what do you need to do?
First, let us know when you've hit a milestone in your research – preferably at least five days in advance. We'll do the rest. Second, when you're talking about your research, whether in person, in print or online, let your audience know that you're funded by CIHR.
This document tells you everything you need to know when you talk about your CIHR-funded research to others.
Acknowledging CIHR Funding
As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability for the use of public funds, CIHR requires that its financial support be acknowledged in all forms of communication. This includes presentations, research reports and other publications, correspondence, news conferences, news releases, advertising and other materials relating to its funded research.
We ask, therefore, that you acknowledge us as a funder when you, your institution or a funding partner:
- Make a presentation or give a speech, seminar or workshop related to your work
- Win an honour or award related to your work
- Act as a spokesperson for media on an issue of public importance
- Promote your research at conferences, in publications, or through advertising/public relations activities.
If your institution is making an announcement or holding an event that involves your CIHR-funded research, we would like to insert a quote from a CIHR official into the press release or any other communications materials destined for the media or the general public. Please ensure that this acknowledgement of CIHR funding is prominent (i.e., in the first paragraph of a news release). We would also ask that you acknowledge CIHR support through the use of its logo.
When you are making an announcement, we can provide you with a spokesperson, text to use about CIHR, logos, a standard description of the organization, as well as background information. Also, please use original CIHR program and research team names as they are listed in the application for funding.
Who are you acknowledging?
CIHR asks you to use its organizational name, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and logo when talking about your research, as opposed to the names or logos of its Institutes. When you do talk about an Institute, make sure it is identified as a CIHR Institute – the CIHR Institute of Genetics or the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health, for instance. This helps avoid any confusion among the public.
How Do You Acknowledge CIHR Support?
You can acknowledge our support in many different ways. Here is some suggested wording:
(CIHR logo here) This (insert program, study or project name) was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Hyperlink Canadian Institutes of Health Research to www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca).
Here are some other ways to acknowledge CIHR support:
- Dr. Jane Smith of McGill University is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
- Dr. John Brown, a CIHR-funded researcher from the University of British Columbia.
- This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
- ..., according to a new study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
- "...," says Dr. Anne Jones, whose work is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Using the CIHR Logo
Add the CIHR logo when acknowledging CIHR funding in a news release, the acknowledgement section of a poster, or any other products. High-resolution versions of the logo and CIHR logo usage guidelines can be obtained by contacting media relations at email@example.com.
CIHR Communications – Our Services
CIHR Communications has extensive experience in the areas of media relations, government relations, strategic communications, writing and editing and event planning and coordination.
We can help you:
- communicate with the public, media or specialized audiences;
- review and provide revised content and design of promotional materials and speeches related to CIHR-funded research; and
- post your materials on the CIHR website.
As a federal agency, CIHR is bound by the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, which dictates, among other things, the need for appropriate Government of Canada visibility at events and announcements of funding.
We can work with you to promote CIHR-funded research through:
- funding announcements;
- announcements of research developments and results; and
- other communications initiatives, including speeches, awards, media interviews, conferences, publications and advertising.
- coordinate announcements at the national and regional levels;
- liaise with the Office of the Minister of Health to secure a federal spokesperson (essential for funding announcements);
- develop media and promotional materials such as news releases, backgrounders and speeches for funding announcements and solicit input from funding partners, researchers and institutions involved;
- work with researchers, institutions and funding partners to either develop or provide input to media and promotional materials on exciting research developments or results; and
- assist whenever possible in promoting stories to the media, posting or linking relevant Web material and providing access to lists of relevant experts or spokespeople.
In return, we ask that CIHR be acknowledged as a funder in your communications activities.
Roles and Responsibilities
While CIHR Communications has specific roles and responsibilities, other responsibilities belong to principal investigators, institutions, and partners. By each playing our different roles, working together and sharing our resources, we can make all of our communications efforts successful.
- Notify your institution's communications or public affairs unit of your success once informed of CIHR funding decisions.
- For funding announcements, you may be asked to review communications material and act as spokesperson at events.
- Inform CIHR whenever research developments or discoveries will be published at least five days in advance of the publication and work with CIHR and your institution to promote it.
- Coordinate with your institution to share health research success stories with CIHR and send CIHR a copy of publications, media coverage, advertising or other promotional material.
- Submit photos of yourself and research team members to CIHR Public Affairs for use in promotional materials such as displays at conferences, in corporate publications or on the CIHR website. All high-resolution photos should be 5 x 7 in., colour and in JPEG format, that is at least 300 dpi. Head and shoulders shot should be taken against a white background.
- If you are talking about your research, whether to announce funding, publicize results, or any other purpose, remember to let us know five days in advance.
Research Institutions and Funding Partners (Communications or Public Affairs Department)
- Provide input to CIHR communications materials for funding announcements, assist with event planning, coordination and logistics, secure spokespeople from the institution and help with media relations and media monitoring.
- Inform CIHR if CIHR-funded research developments or discoveries are to be published and work in conjunction with researchers and all relevant funding partners, including CIHR, to promote the findings.
- Share health research success stories with CIHR and send a copy of publications, media coverage, advertising or other promotional material.
- Invite CIHR to provide a federal representative at events, conferences or other public activities promoting health research.
- Give credit to CIHR for funding your researchers' work.
- Provide a link to the CIHR website on both your website and any relevant print or electronic materials, including news releases, e-mail and newsletters.
- If you are talking about research at your institution or that your organization is supporting, whether to announce funding, publicize results, or any other purpose, remember to let us know five days in advance.
CIHR is committed to keeping researchers, institutions and partners informed about our work and how it affects you, through ResearchNet and our newsletters for the research community. If you would like to get in touch with us, you can reach us at:
CIHR Communications and Public Outreach
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