Message from the CIHR President - International Review Panel Report, 2005-2010

I am pleased to present to the research community and our stakeholders the Report of the 2011 International Review Panel (IRP).

A prestigious eleven member panel of global leaders in health research, led by Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the former Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, conducted the review for CIHR's Governing Council.

By measuring performance and reporting publicly on the Government of Canada's substantial investment in health research, the IRP report demonstrates CIHR's commitment to transparency and accountability. The IRP commended CIHR for undertaking this process, which they viewed as a sign of "maturity and transparency typical of outstanding organizations."

The International Review Panel concluded that CIHR has made significant improvements, since the first review in 2006. In the view of the IRP, CIHR is fulfilling its mandate and is contributing to improving the health of Canadians. Furthermore, the IRP judged that the Institutes are meeting their mandates, catalyzing research and forging productive partnerships. The IRP credited much of the success of CIHR Institutes to the outstanding leadership of the Scientific Directors.

As CIHR continues to implement our five-year strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap, it will address a number of recommendations made by the IRP. For example, the IRP noted CIHR needs to address a strained peer review system. Through Roadmap, we are taking action to modernize and strengthen review processes while reducing the overall review burden borne by the current review committee structure.

The IRP also noted that Canada has a unique Science and Technology enterprise with multiple players providing research, capacity and infrastructure funding. CIHR will leverage the productive relationships that we have forged with our federal and provincial partners to ensure that the organization is effectively integrated in this system.

With the delivery of the 2011 International Review Panel Report, CIHR's Governing Council will take the necessary time to reflect on the recommendations and consult with CIHR's Scientific Council and Executive Management team to develop a detailed response and an action plan for implementation early this fall.

I wish to thank Dr. Zerhouni, the members of the International Review Panel, the Expert Review Teams, the members of the research community, our partners in the public and private sectors, as well as other key informants who contributed to the Review, for their participation, perspective and valuable input to this important process.

CIHR is looking forward to working with the research community and our partners as we respond to this report and begin the next stages of the organization's evolution.

Alain Beaudet, MD, PhD
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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