BBE Program Details

Canadian policy makers at the Provincial/Territorial or Federal levels are invited to submit health-related topics for a BBE session at any point in the year. Successful applicants will work with CIHR to plan and host the sessions.


The format of a BBE includes an equal balance between the presentation of evidence and protected time for discussion. The first half of the BBE typically includes short, high-level presentations by the researchers, followed by question and answer periods. The remainder of the session is dedicated to facilitated discussions. The focus is on informal dialogue and contextualization of the evidence to the policy context.

A BBE can accommodate approximately 40 people, including speakers, facilitator(s), participants, the organizing team and observers. A networking reception is held the evening prior to the BBE to provide an opportunity for participants to meet informally and set the stage for open and direct dialogue the following day.

Speaker Identification

Applicants can identify speakers to present at the BBE in their application. For selected proposals, CIHR also identifies possible speakers and facilitators through its networks of researchers, thirteen Institutes, environmental scans and other sources. CIHR works with the policy maker partners to select experts and facilitate their participation in the event.


The essential costs associated with holding the BBE are covered by a CIHR budget that includes speaker/facilitator travel, event hospitality and the networking reception. Any additional components (e.g. hiring a report writer or supporting participant travel), must be funded and arranged by the policy maker partner.

Time Commitment

Policy makers interested in organizing a BBE are invited to submit topics for a BBE session at any point in the year, 6 months prior to the anticipated event date. The planning of the BBE will require bi-weekly planning group meetings (typically held by teleconference) where CIHR works with successful applicants to develop meeting materials, and select speakers, participants and a facilitator. The time commitment typically increases slightly in the month before the BBE, as materials are finalized to meet the objectives of the day.

For more information about the program, or to request an application form, please contact the CIHR Best Brains Exchange team at

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