Institutes model review: mandate and terms of reference of External Working Group


The mandate of the External Working Group is to review the structure, role, policies, and budgetary framework and slate of Institutes pertaining to their capacity to effectively respond to current and emerging health research challenges and to take advantage of national and international scientific opportunities to optimally deliver on CIHR's mandate.

The External Working Group is also to recommend to GC whether or not the current slate of Institutes responds to the span of the health research landscape and positions CIHR to generate and translate knowledge responding to the most exacting criteria of scientific excellence and relevance to societal needs.


The External Working Group is to deliver its recommendations in the form of verbal and written reports to the Executive Committee of Governing Council who, based on these recommendations and on those of the Internal Working Group, will provide final recommendations for discussion and approval by CIHR's Governing Council.

It is expected that participation in the External Working Group will entail approximately 6-8 days of work, including a mix of face-to-face meetings and teleconference calls. The Chair of the External Working Group may be asked to meet periodically with the Executive Committee of Governing Council and/or the Chair of the Internal Working Group to provide updates and to share information.

The External Working Group's final report is expected to be tabled by the end of May 2014. Ultimately it is the responsibility of Governing Council to decide on any potential changes to the model, role and slate of the Institutes based on their own deliberations scheduled to take place at a retreat in August 2014.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of the External Working Group will be:

  • To consider the background material and supporting documentation provided by CIHR for the Review process;
  • To consider the results of an environmental scan commissioned by CIHR to assess the current and future health research landscape;
  • To solicit external written submissions (and consider unsolicited ones) as it sees fit;
  • To consult with members' respective stakeholder communities and consider these perspectives into the Review deliberations; and
  • To work as a group to develop recommendations to Council and deliver its final report by May 2014.

Consultations are meant to be limited, in an effort to focus on the task at hand and not revisit discussions that occurred prior to the creation of CIHR.

Chair and Membership

The External Working Group consists of ten (10) members with experiences and connections from the various communities that work closely with CIHR such as:

  • Health charities/NGO partner
  • International partners
  • Private sector partners
  • Federal government
  • Research institutions
  • Citizens/patients

Members were selected so that their collective skills, knowledge, and experience will contribute to the overall mandate of the group. One of the members will be designated to act as the Chair of the External Working Group.

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