Positioning trainees for success and impact in the Canadian health research enterprise

Message from CIHR's co-champions of health research training

October 17, 2017

Health research trainees are critical contributors to innovation. We acknowledge the enormous contributions you are making and will continue to make to health research and to society. 

We are very proud of the many excellent trainees we have had the privilege of supporting through our award programs and grants. Our 13 institutes help lead the way in implementing innovative training opportunities, prizes and events across the country. 

With the changing health research landscape, CIHR wants to ensure that its investments and approach to training best position health research trainees for success. The perspectives of all stakeholders are important in informing this process. As such, CIHR conducted environmental scans and consulted with many individuals, including trainees, researchers, universities, health funders, and employers. Together, we identified challenges and opportunities in the health research training environment:

  1. Health research is evolving, becoming increasingly complex, interdisciplinary, globally connected, and technologically demanding. Health research trainees must be better equipped to succeed in this rapidly evolving environment of advancing technologies.
  2. Career paths are changing, with the majority of health research trainees branching out to careers outside of academia. Trainees face a mismatch of skills between traditional academic training and expectations from employers. Health research trainees must be able to access broader skills training to successfully apply their talents in different sectors.
  3. Expertise in critical areas is lacking. To position Canada to compete globally, targeted training is needed in data-intensive research, the research capacity of health professionals, indigenous health research, patient-oriented research, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Canada must support health research trainees to master new skills and lead in these emerging priority areas.

Our goal is to address these shared challenges. Our vision for our research trainees is that they emerge from their training as scientific, professional, or organizational leaders within and beyond the health research enterprise.

We will continue to engage with trainees, supervisors, federal and other funding agencies, and other stakeholders on training enhancements that support this vision. We invite you to explore CIHR's expanded training web pages to access training-related resources, look through and apply to funding opportunities, and learn more about CIHR's role and policies with respect to the training of future leaders in the health research enterprise and Canadian economy.

We wish our trainees much success in their research training and future career(s).

Anne Martin-Matthews, Ph.D., FCAHS
Acting Vice-President,
Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Marc Ouellette, Ph.D., FRSC, FCAHS
Scientific Director,
Institute of Infection and Immunity
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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