IMHA Facts & figures

Who We Are

CIHR-IMHA is one of thirteen institutes at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada’s federal funding agency for health research. CIHR-IMHA’s mandate is to support ethical and impactful research to enhance active living, mobility and oral health, and to address the wide range of conditions related to bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue, skin and teeth.

Enhancing Musculoskeletal, Skin and Oral Health

CIHR-IMHA funds research as guided by four core values and accompanying approaches which are strongly aligned with CIHR’s Strategic Plan, Health Research Roadmap II: Capturing Innovation to Produce Better Health and Health Care for Canadians:

Ethics Performance Measurement
Evidence-Informed Decision Making Partnerships and Citizen Engagement

What We Do

Strategic Spending

Each year, CIHR-IMHA strategically invests approximately $4 million to address health challenges that fall under its mandate. This money represents a small portion of total CIHR spending in CIHR-IMHA-related areas, and is used to address questions that will help set research agendas to benefit the health needs of Canadians and the global community.

Guiding Research Themes

Three overarching themes help to guide and inform CIHR-IMHA’s selected strategic priority areas:

Capacity Building
  • Strengthening the MSK, Skin and Oral Health Research Communities.
  • Ensuring training for future generations of scientists.
  • Supporting a culture of collaboration and knowledge exchange among researchers.
  • Foster innovative research in MSK, Skin and Oral Health by bringing researchers together with external stakeholders including patients and families, charitable groups and policy makers.
  • Promote the integration of research into practice for MSK, Skin and Oral Health.

Strategic Investment Priorities

In its Strategic Plan for 2014 to 2018, CIHR-IMHA is focusing on three strategic priority areas that will support the CIHR priorities of health innovation for an enhanced patient experience and outcomes, health equity for Aboriginal people, a healthier future through preventive action, and improved quality of life for persons living with chronic conditions.

Chronic Pain and Fatigue Chronic pain and fatigue are prominent features of multiple inflammatory and non-inflammatory MSK disorders and are major drivers of health care costs.
Inflammation and Tissue Repair A wide spectrum of chronic inflammatory and non-inflammatory disorders impact the MSK system, skin, and the oral cavity. Mechanisms underlying the progressive tissue damage of disorders such as osteoarthritis (OA) are not completely understood.
Disability, Mobility and Health Disorders of the MSK system are the leading cause of disability in our society.

Since 2014, the bulk of CIHR funding has come from Project Scheme and Foundation Scheme grants. CIHR-IMHA distributes funding to initiatives both on its own as Single Institute Initiatives and partnering with other Institutes as part of Multi-Institute Initiatives.

Recent Single Institute Initiatives launched by CIHR-IMHA have included:

  • Fellowship for research in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Pain
Network Catalyst Grants
  • Advancement in Burn Care in Canada Network
  • Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Network
  • Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Network
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Network
Team Grants
  • CIHR Team in Linking Exercise, Physical Activity and Pathophysiology in Childhood Arthritis: A Canadian Collaborative Team.
  • CIHR Team in IMPAKT-HIP - Investigations of Mobility, Physical Activity, and Knowledge Translation in Hip Pain
  • CIHR Team in Physical Activity, Mobility and Neural Health
  • Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network

Recent Multi-Institute Signature Initiatives that CIHR-IMHA is Co-leading with other CIHR Institutes:

Inflammation in Chronic Disease
  • 9 teams recently funded
  • Canadian Transplantation Network
  • Microbiome Team Grants
Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal People
  • Four exemplars: TB, diabetes, suicide, oral health
  • multiple funding phases
Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)
  • SUPPORT units
  • networks
  • capacity building
  • patient engagement

Recent Achievements

The number of funded active researchers (NPI, Co-PIs, and Co-Apps) in CIHR-IMHA’s mandate has increased substantially since CIHR’s inception, from 480 in CIHR fiscal year 2000-2001 to 2,032 in 2014-2015.

In the last 15 years, 1147 training awards were funded by open and strategic funding in CIHR-IMHA-relevant areas.

To further encourage new trainees to enter the field, CIHR-IMHA has provided funding for hundreds of undergraduate students to participate in research programs during the summer.

CIHR-IMHA convenes its stakeholders to help develop funding opportunities and to advance strategic activities.

Some recent highlights include:

  • 2014 (March)- Strategic Planning Workshop and Consultation
  • 2014 (September)- Chronic Pain and Fatigue Workshop
  • 2014 (October)- Science in Motion IMHA Strategic Plan symposium
  • 2015 (February)-Inflammation in Chronic Disease Team Networking meeting
  • 2015 (October)- Young Investigators Forum
  • 2016 (March) Research Ambassador’s Meeting
  • 2016 (May) Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Diseases Network Strengthening Workshop

Where We Are Going

In preparing to move forward into its 2014-2018 strategic plan, CIHR-IMHA consulted with its stakeholders. In 2012 CIHR-IMHA conducted a survey all of PIs and co-applicants funded by CIHR since 2000 performing research in a CIHR-IMHA relevant area, and consulted with all our stakeholders again in early 2014. The Strategic Plan was launched at Science In Motion, A Symposium on Strategic Priorities, October 30, 2014 in Toronto. The full Strategic Plan is available online or in hardcopy format.

Funding Information Table

IMHA Focus Areas Expenditures CIHR Themes Expenditures IMHA Strategic Priority Areas Expenditures

Total CIHR expenditures in IMHA-relevant research areas by IMHA focus areas, CIHR Themes, and CIHR-IMHA Strategic Priority Areas (2014-2015 CIHR fiscal year).

Arthritis $20.5 M        
Bone $27.1 M Biomedical $54.5 M    
Skin $9.6 M Clinical $19.6 M Chronic Pain and Fatigue $8.4 M
Muscle $17.2 M Population Health $7.2 M Inflammation and Tissue Repair $50.2 M
Oral health $4.4 M Health Systems $11.9 M Disability, Mobility and Health $43.1 M
MSK rehabilitation $8.8 M Unallocated $9.4 M    
Non-Specific $20.2 M        
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