Institutes Advisory Boards Questions and Answers

1. What are the Institutes Advisory Boards (IABs)?

The new Institutes Advisory Boards (IABs) are aligned with the Strategic Directions and Research Priorities expressed in CIHR's five-year strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap II. The new model was approved in June 2015.

On April 30, 2016, CIHR shut down its 13 existing Institute-specific Advisory Boards, which were replaced by five new IABs.

These 5 IABs will serve all 13 Institutes.

  • IAB on Research Excellence, Policy and Ethics
  • IAB on Health Innovation
  • IAB on Indigenous Peoples’ Health
  • IAB on Health Promotion and Prevention
  • IAB on Chronic Conditions
Figure 1 long description

This is an infographic which has 13 circles drawn to represent all 13 CIHR Institutes:

  • Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health
  • Institute of Aging
  • Institute of Cancer Research
  • Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health
  • Institute of Gender and Health
  • Institute of Genetics
  • Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
  • Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health
  • Institute of Infection and Immunity
  • Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
  • Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
  • Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes
  • Institute of Population and Public Health

The Acronym for each Institute is inside the circle.

In the centre of the diagram are 5 circles showing the five new IABs:

  • IAB on Research Excellence, Policy and Ethics
  • IAB on Health Innovation
  • IAB on Indigenous Peoples’ Health
  • IAB on Health Promotion and Prevention
  • IAB on Chronic Conditions

These 5 IABs will serve all 13 Institutes.

2. Why are the IABs being restructured?

The new model will enhance collaboration and transversal thinking across Institutes and their stakeholder communities as per the CIHR Act 4(c): “forging an integrated health research agenda across disciplines, sectors and regions that reflects the emerging health needs of Canadians and the evolution of the health system and supports health policy decision-making”.

The new advisory model will provide all 13 Institutes with a wider scope of expertise, and will help to better identify opportunities for collaboration and enhance coherence across CIHR's many initiatives.

This approach complements other advisory mechanisms already in place at CIHR, such as those for Signature Initiatives. In addition, Scientific Directors will continue to lead a collaborative dialogue with stakeholders across many scientific disciplines in support of CIHR's numerous initiatives and strategic priorities.

3. How many IAB members will there be?

Each of the 5 Institutes Advisory Boards will consist of 10-15 members, including the Chair and a Vice-Chair.

The full spectrum of CIHR stakeholders, including researchers reflective of the highest standards of excellence across the four CIHR research themes, will be appointed to ensure capacity to provide independent, expert and relevant advice to CIHR and diversity of views/perspectives.

The exact breakdown of each individual IAB is still to be determined. The determination on the right mix of members for each IAB will be based on the nominations submitted and the various needs of each IAB.

4. What roles will IAB members have?

The Institutes Advisory Boards and their members will provide independent, expert and relevant advice to CIHR and diversity of views/perspectives.

They will, within their respective priority area:

  • Provide strategic advice on approaches and directions for each Institute individually and CIHR collectively to achieve the long-term objectives set out in CIHR’s strategic plan.
  • Provide advice on major trends that are likely to have an impact on a specific Institute or CIHR at large.
  • Report annually to the President of CIHR, in his capacity of Chair of Science Council, on progress made by individual Institutes, and CIHR collectively on matters relevant to the IAB priority area.

Members of the IAB will serve in their individual capacity.

5. What is the recruitment process to find Institutes Advisory Board members?

CIHR launched an open recruitment process on December 11, 2015. Recruitment ended on February 10, 2016. CIHR wishes to thank the 453 individuals who put their names forward to become IAB members.

Stakeholders spanning the full spectrum of health research were invited to apply, including researchers reflective of the highest standards of excellence across the four CIHR research themes.

CIHR was committed to ensuring the applicant nomination pool was inclusive and diverse enough to ensure capacity for independent, expert and relevant advice enriched by the perspectives from a wide range of stakeholders. Therefore, CIHR proactively reached out to and engaged stakeholders and partners to solicit nominations and sought input on the optimal composition of each IAB being created. For example, CIHR engaged and supported our Indigenous stakeholders and partners to provide nominations and input for the IABs, including the IAB on Indigenous Peoples' Health. CIHR also asked its stakeholders and partners to help spread the word of CIHR’s open call for IAB members through their networks and as far and wide into their communities as possible.

6. How were the Chairs of the new IABs selected?

The recruitment process closed on February 10, 2016. All applications were then put forward for review by the Nominating and Governance Committee of Governing Council who recommended a slate of Chairs and alternate Chairs for the new IABs.

The Governing Council has appointed the chairs of the five Institutes Advisory Boards. The newly appointed chairs will be invited to serve for an initial three-year term and may be renewed for a second three-year term.

7. What role will IAB chairs play in the selection of board members?

IAB chairs will play an active role in the coming weeks in selecting board members. Starting this month, IAB chairs will meet with the Nominating and Governance Committee to review applications, with a special emphasis placed on ensuring sex parity and diversity of representation across Canada, including regional, official languages and Indigenous representation, as well as representation from different pillars of research, career stages and sectors of the health research community.

IAB chairs will work with the Nominating and Governance Committee to present a slate of proposed IAB members and alternates for Governing Council’s approval at its June 22, 2016 meeting.

8. When will the names of the new IAB members be announced?

CIHR anticipates announcing the names of its new IAB members in late July 2016, once they have been contacted individually to confirm their acceptance of the position.

The inaugural meetings of the new Institutes Advisory Boards are expected to begin in early fall 2016.

The CIHR Chief Scientific Officer and all CIHR Scientific Directors are ex officio members of all five IABs.

9. How is CIHR ensuring that an Indigenous perspective is being represented on its IABs?

To ensure that an Indigenous health perspective is reflected at CIHR, the organization has established an IAB on Indigenous Peoples’ Health, with half its membership reserved for members of the Indigenous community, including seats for one member each of the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

As well, a seat on each of the other four IABs will be reserved for a member from the Indigenous community, to ensure the improvement and promotion of health of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is advanced by all 13 of CIHR’s Institutes.

10. How is CIHR ensuring diversity among its IAB members?

CIHR is committed to ensuring that its IAB members represent the largest cross-section of the health research community possible. To that end, the Nominating and Governance Committee and the IAB chairs will appoint members with an eye to achieving a balance in terms of sex and a diversity of representation spanning regions across Canada, official languages, pillars of research, career stages and sectors of the health research community, with special consideration given to Indigenous representation (see above).

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