About us

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

CIHR was created in 2000 under the authority of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act. It is an independent agency and is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Health.

Learn more about exciting discoveries that emerged from CIHR's first decade as an organization - Milestones in Canadian Health Research

Our mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system.

Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to health researchers and trainees across Canada.

CIHR is part of the Health Portfolio which supports the Minister of Health in maintaining and improving the health of Canadians. For more information on the Health Portfolio, visit Health Canada.

CIHR Video: Health Research for Canadians


Title: CIHR Discoveries for Life

Health Research for Canadians

Audio voice over in English by Mireille Khouri, CIHR Public Affairs and French by David Coulombe, CIHR Media Relations and all audio reflects actual text slides and graphic elements within this video.

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Health Research for Canadians

One of the most important investments we can make as a nation

Health research – one of the most important investments we can make as a nation.

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Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

CIHR is using the power of research to improve the health of Canadians, solve health challenges and make our health care system more efficient and effective.

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), what we do is at the heart of what matters the most to you: your health and well-being.

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Health research improves lives

At CIHR, we use the power of health research to save lives, time and money.

Each year, we invest $1 billion to support over 13,000 researchers and trainees.

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$ 1 billion

in annual investments


researchers and trainees

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Best minds

Best ideas

Thinking outside the box


These are the best minds with the best ideas. They think outside the box to find innovative ways to prevent illnesses, reduce pain, fight diseases, and make health care more affordable and efficient. Their research addresses Canadian priorities, such as the needs of an aging population.

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Life Changing

In other words, we invest in research that delivers life-changing impact for Canadians.

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Aboriginal Peoples’ Health


Cancer Research

Circulatory and Respiratory Health

Gender and Health


Health Services and Policy Research

Human Development, Child and Youth Health

Infection and Immunity

Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis

Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

Population and Public Health

CIHR is made up of 13 “virtual” institutes. They are virtual centres of expertise in areas such as cancer, diabetes and mental health.

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Peer Review

To ensure we award funding to the very best projects in each of these areas, we bring together experts from across Canada and around the world to evaluate the funding applications we receive. 

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At CIHR, we also promote collaboration in research.

Gone are the days of a researcher working alone in a lab. Today, health research is a complex, highly interconnected environment, with many players working in teams, groups and partnerships.

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Health Portfolio Partners

Provinces and Territories

Academic Institutions

Non-Profit Organizations

Private Industries


International Partners

Other Federal Departments and Agencies

Federally-funded Non-Profit Organizations

Federal Granting Agencies

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Health Innovations

Prevention – Innovation - Commercialization

CIHR plays a leadership role in this environment – bringing people together and creating partnerships with over 250 organizations in Canada and around the world. Together, we create innovations that improve the health of Canadians, and commercialize new drugs and medical devices that boost our economy.

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Health Portfolio

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Health Canada

Patented Medicine Prices Review Board

Public Health Agency of Canada

CIHR also works closely with our partners in the health portfolio to ensure that research evidence informs and strengthens public policies.

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Putting Patients First

Of course, health research is only valuable if it moves from the lab to the bedside, for the benefit of patients. Research must put patients first.

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That is why CIHR created the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, or SPOR.

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Provinces and territories



Private sector



Share research evidence

Apply best practices

Health innovations

Improve care

SPOR brings together all the key players in Canada’s health care system: the different levels of government, researchers, clinicians, the private sector, charities, and of course, patients. 

Through SPOR, we have brought the provinces and territories together to share research evidence, apply best practices, bring health innovations to the front line and improve care.

For the health care system, SPOR means better decision-making, improved networking, more support for researchers and greater efficiency.

For patients, SPOR means more accurate diagnoses, fewer hospital visits and faster recovery.

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Patients First

Investing in research.

Promoting collaboration.

Putting patients first.

This is how the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is building a healthier society and a healthier world.

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Discoveries for life

CIHR: Discoveries for life

Credit: 16 sec: Photo courtesy of Jordin Tootoo/David Kilabuk

Health Research for Canadians infographic – One of the most important investments we can make as a nation

CIHR is using the power of research to improve the health of Canadians, solve health challenges and make our health care system more efficient and effective.


$1 billion in annual investments to provide financing for 13,000 researchers and trainees

Where does the money go?

  • 70% to support projects proposed by researchers.
    Researchers explore and test ideas to advance our understanding of the factors influencing our health. They also train the next generation of researchers, leaders and professionals.  
  • 30% to support research priorities established by CIHR.
    CIHR and its partners invest in national and international researchers to address specific health challenges (such as dementia), or to respond to national or global health crises (like SARS or Ebola).

What does CIHR invest in?

Top 10 areas of research:

  • Infection
  • Healthy pregnancy and childbirth
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Alzheimer's and related dementias
  • Mental health and behavioral conditions
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory health
  • Cancer
Charities / not-for-profit, Federal, provincial, territorial and international agencies, governments and organizations, Academic institutions, Industries, Health care and patient organizations


Making Canadians healthier is a collective effort. CIHR partners with over 250 organizations and governments.

Close to $200 million secured from partners for research

  • To pool resources, expertise and money.
  • To get new perspectives and set priorities.
  • To accelerate the process between scientific discovery and its application in policy, services, treatments and products.


Research is a journey. From the idea to the real world, research takes time. A new drug or device that is safe, saves lives or reduces diseases can take 15 to 20 years to bring to market.

But how does it work?

First step: Discovery

Identify an issue to explore or a problem to solve. Conduct research, increase our understanding and discover potential solutions.

Second step: Development

Ensure that ideas work in the real world – conduct interviews, trials and tests on new products, procedures, and models of care.

Third step: Delivery

Validate what works, for whom, under what circumstances, and how best to bring successful health products to market, implement proven health care practices and promote healthy lifestyles.

Sometimes, when a crisis arises, decades of research can help accelerate progress in a priority area. Canada was able to launch the Ebola vaccine clinical trials in less than a year.


Health research saves lives, time and money.

Canadians today are living longer and healthier lives than ever beforeFootnote *.

  • Life expectancy in 1900 was 50 years.
  • Life expectancy today 80 (male) or 84 (female).

Thanks to health research advances the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75% since 1952 and nearly 40% in the last decade aloneFootnote *… and this is just one of many examples of health research in action and at work.

$215 billion dollars

This is how much we spend on health care every year in CanadaFootnote *.

As we age, we depend more and more on our health care system.

Investments in health research can help reduce health care costs. 

A project in Alberta has led to faster hip and knee replacements for patients. Led by the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and several CIHR-funded researchers, this new centralized model of care is saving both time and money:

  • Wait times decreased from 47 weeks to less than 5 weeks
  • Length of hospital stay decreased from 6 days to 4 days
  • Cost savings from nationwide implementation: approximately $228 million/year
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