Annual Report 2010-2011

Moving Forward

[ Table of Contents ]

Achieving Organizational Excellence, Fostering Ethics and Demonstrating Impact

Staying accountable to Canadians

Canadians invest broadly in health research through their tax dollars. They deserve to know that their investment is being allocated wisely and returning good value. To demonstrate accountability, CIHR has committed to being a first-rate, leading-edge organization that employs best practices in its service to Canadians and the Government of Canada.

Research Reporting System - Capturing a clear picture of research gains

In health research, the return on investment is not always immediately apparent. Even at the end of a project, when the research is completed, the dividends that the work will yield may not be evident. For example, it can take years for researchers to publish their work in peer-reviewed publications. Securing patents and licences for technologies developed during a research project can take just as long. And there is often a delay before research influences clinical practice or policy.

In the past, CIHR has required researchers to submit end-of-grant reports outlining the results achieved in their work. But those snapshots have not always captured the complete story.

Realizing more extensive follow-up was needed, CIHR developed the Research Reporting System to provide systematic, high-quality reporting of the results of funded research. This online tool, developed through extensive consultations with the research community and a comparison of existing tools at funding agencies across Canada and around the world, was implemented in March 2011.

Preliminary results from a sample of 596 researchers who completed their grants between 2000 and 2008 indicated that an average of seven papers — not including book chapters, technical reports and master's or PhD theses — were published for every CIHR grant.

The Research Reporting System provides a clearer picture of Canadians' return on their investments in health research in terms of gains made in new knowledge and knowledge translation, achievements in expanding research capacity and improving training, and impacts on health and health care.

International Review - Quality assurance on a global scale

Any organization can call itself world-class, but to achieve this status world-class evaluation and an international stamp of approval.

In 2010-11, CIHR began preparations for the second International Review. An intense exercise, it involved inviting world-renowned leaders in health research to analyze activities to ensure CIHR is fulfilling its mandate as outlined in the CIHR Act.

The first step was to recruit a blue-ribbon International Review Panel to conduct the evaluation. In July 2010, CIHR President Alain Beaudet announced that Dr. Elias Zerhouni would lead the panel. Dr. Zerhouni is a former Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the largest biomedical research and development agency in the world. The 10 other panel members include internationally respected health research leaders from academia, government, administration and industry.

CIHR also recruited 13 expert review teams, each including a member of the International Review Panel, to assess the operations of the individual CIHR Institutes. To facilitate the process, the Institutes prepared detailed reports that summarize their mandates and research priorities. The reports outline the critical initiatives and significant outcomes pursued and realized since the inception of CIHR in 2000. They focus on progress made in these areas since the 2006 International Review and include responses to major aspects of that review.

The Institutes submitted their reports in September 2010. The formal reviews — in which more than 30 reviewers met with some 150 key informants including 13 scientific directors, Institute Advisory Board chairs, as well as researchers and other stakeholders from across Canada — took place over three days in February 2011.

In March, the International Review Panel conducted its review of CIHR's performance as a whole, as well as of the Institutes' accomplishments. It examined CIHR reports and conducted interviews with Canadian research leaders, young investigators, federal funding agencies, CIHR partners and senior officials. Dr. Zerhouni's findings and the International Review Panel's recommendations are to be tabled with CIHR's Governing Council in June 2011.

CIHR - One of Canada's Top 100 Employers

Not only does CIHR enable Canada's health researchers to do great work, the agency itself is a great place to work: Mediacorp Canada Inc. declared CIHR one of Canada's Top 100 Employers of 2010.

For the past two years, Mediacorp has also named CIHR one of the National Capital Region's Top 25 Employers.

The awards recognize organizations that lead their industries in attracting and retaining employees. Key factors include: condition and location of the workplace; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; training and skills development; and community involvement.

"Now everyone knows what we at CIHR have always known: that this is an innovative workplace that strives for excellence in all its pursuits," said CIHR President Dr. Alain Beaudet.

CIHR at 10 - Highlights from the anniversary

On June 7, 2010, CIHR marked its 10th anniversary. Throughout 2010, the organization celebrated this important milestone with a series of activities and events. On June 10, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Peter Milliken, hosted a breakfast for parliamentarians, members of the media and representatives from partner and stakeholder organizations to celebrate the anniversary. Later in the same month, the organization held a 10th anniversary-themed employee recognition event, attended by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. "Canada is just beginning to see the benefits of CIHR's contribution to health research. Its positive impact on the lives of Canadians will be felt for generations to come," the Minister said.

In November, CIHR's annual Canadian Health Research Awards paid special recognition to the anniversary. And throughout the year, the Café Scientifique program held special 10th anniversary-themed café events across the country.

Implementation Report - Following the Roadmap

Developing a strategic plan is one thing, but adhering to it in subsequent years is another. In 2010-11, the publication of the first annual CIHR Three-Year Implementation Plan and Progress Report 2010-13 ensured the organization is following through on the Health Research Roadmap, the five-year strategic plan made public in 2009 and designed to carry the agency forward well into its second decade.

The purpose of the implementation plan is to focus on the short-term actions and deliverables that make up the overall strategic plan, to make sure milestones are met and goals achieved. A copy of the implementation plan is available on the CIHR website so that Canadians can see how their investments in health research are paying off.

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