Institutes Modernization


The investments in health research and innovation made possible by the leadership and collective efforts of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) continue to play a critical role in strengthening Canada's health care system and improving Canadians' health.

However, the health research landscape has changed markedly since CIHR was created in 2000. The health challenges of today are increasingly complex, and finding new, innovative solutions requires partnership and collaboration across the entire health spectrum. At the same time, Government institutions must demonstrate greater accountability and results to taxpayers and stakeholders while finding ways to operate more efficiently.  

CIHR continues to evolve to keep pace with this reality. The Institutes remain centrally important to CIHR, and a series of enhancements are being implemented to better support them and improve overall operational effectiveness. The ultimate goal is to ensure that investments in health research have the greatest possible impact on the health of Canadians.

Specifically, CIHR is:

  • Restructuring the Institute Advisory Boards to create a smaller number of Boards shared by several Institutes. This advisory model will enhance collaboration across research pillars, disciplines and communities while decreasing administrative burden. Clustering options are being developed under the guiding principle that all 13 Institutes will continue to benefit from expert counsel and advice.
  • Further enhancing the capacity of CIHR's Science Council to initiate impactful research opportunities that cross multiple sectors by having Institutes invest half of their budget into a common research fund for this purpose.
  • Strengthening organizational coordination and corporate support for the Institutes by having Scientific Directors functionally report to Portfolio Heads and integrating Ottawa-based Institute staff into the three CIHR portfolios.
  • Developing a robust framework to support a regular assessment of Institute performance and relevance.

These changes were informed by an extensive consultative process both within Canada and internationally. The goal of this process was to identify opportunities to enhance CIHR's capacity to support discoveries that produce innovation, measurable change and better health outcomes for all Canadians.

The CIHR executive management team has established four teams to implement these enhancements.  Implementation teams include Scientific Directors, CIHR Directors and other CIHR employees. In addition, feedback is being sought from Institute Advisory Board Chairs, and relevant input received by email at will also be considered. 

Regular updates will be provided throughout the implementation process to Governing Council, CIHR employees, Institutes Advisory Boards, CIHR's research communities, partners and other stakeholders.

Dr. Alain Beaudet,
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
On behalf of Governing Council

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