Message from the President: Update on Ethics Reform at CIHR


At its February 2014 meeting, Governing Council (GC) concluded its discussion about the best approaches to reinforce CIHR's role in ethics.

GC unanimously approved: (1) a new and expanded mandate and membership for its Standing Committee on Ethics (SCE); and (2) a detailed management response to the recommendations of the Task Force on Ethics Reform at CIHR. These improvements will enable CIHR to better deliver on its ethics mandate as set out in the CIHR Act.

  1. The membership of the SCE has been expanded to include, in addition to ethics experts as is currently the case, the Vice-President Research and Chief Scientific Officer as CIHR's formal champion of the CIHR ethics function, two Scientific Directors, two Institute Advisory Board Ethics Designates, and senior staff from the CIHR Ethics Office and the Secretariat on Responsible Conduct of Research. By bringing together a cross-section of representatives in this manner, CIHR will be in a position to better integrate ethics at its core, while ensuring independence and oversight at the GC level. The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel, a member of CIHR's Governing Council. Additional details will be made public once they become available.
  2. The management response builds on the recommendations of the Task Force, as well as on discussions held by Governing Council, Science Council, the Standing Committee on Ethics, and the Institute Advisory Board Ethics Designates. The response is also informed by the results of a scan of the ethics functions of comparative international health research funders.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that ethics is inherent to health research excellence, regardless of discipline or area, and that CIHR remains committed to strengthening the culture of ethics in research, including scientific integrity, in all of its programs.

If you have any comments or questions about ethics reform at CIHR, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Alain Beaudet, MD, PhD
President of CIHR

Date modified: