Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Who is eligible to host a BBE?

    A Canadian policy maker working within the Federal, Provincial or Territorial governments. The proposed topic must be driven by a pressing need for information/advice on a policy/research issue.

    Applications for multi-jurisdictional or international events can propose a co-lead model. Co-applicants could include P/T Ministries of Health, Members of the Health Portfolio (PHAC, HC, CFIA), other Federal Departments (with a health related policy issue), an organization mandated to support F/P/T health policy decision making and international policy makers or other non-policy maker partners including P/T health funders, international organizations, agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

    Visit the Apply to Host a BBE page for more information on eligibility.

  • 2. How does CIHR make sure that there is a distribution of BBEs across Canada?

    CIHR is committed to ensuring that the BBE program is Pan-Canadian in its approach. The program aims to support:

    • ~7 BBEs in collaboration with Provincial/Territorial policy partners;
    • ~8 BBEs in collaboration with Federal/multi-jurisdictional policy partners; and
    • ~1 BBE in collaboration with Canadian and International policy partners.
  • 3. When can I apply?

    Policy makers interested in organizing a BBE are invited to submit an application at any point in the year. However, applications will not be considered if submitted more than 6 months ahead of the anticipated event date. Successful applicants will work closely with CIHR to clarify and scope the objectives for the day, as well as to plan and deliver the session. It can take from 5 to 6 months to plan a BBE.

  • 4. How are BBE applications evaluated?

    All applications are reviewed internally to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and if so, they are assessed by the BBE review panel to determine if they are of sufficiently high quality to move forward

  • 5. How soon will I hear if my application is successful?

    Successful applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within 2-3 weeks of submitting an application to CIHR.

  • 6. What types of topics are relevant for a BBE?

    The topic proposed for the BBE must be health-related to be considered eligible.

    Visit the Best Brains Exchanges page for a list of past exchanges.

  • 7. Who can I contact to discuss the BBE program?

    Should you wish to obtain a copy of the BBE application form or have questions about the program, please contact

  • 8. What is the format of a BBE?

    BBEs include a pre-event reception followed by a full day meeting. The meeting agendas usually include formal presentations and Q/A sessions in the morning and discussion periods in the afternoon.

  • 9. How many people can attend a BBE?

    BBEs typically include 40 participants, including the facilitator, presenters and organizing team. The events are small to encourage engagement between participants.

  • 10. How are BBE participants chosen?

    Our policy maker partners are responsible for selecting and inviting the meeting participants. CIHR reserves the right to invite up to 3 staff to observe the meeting.

  • 11. Who presents at a BBE?

    The presenters at a BBE can include researchers and implementation experts knowledgeable in the area under consideration. Typically, 3-5 presenters are invited to attend and participate in the event.

  • 12. How are BBE presenters chosen?

    BBE presenters are selected by our policy maker partners. CIHR does provide a list of possible presenters, based on our knowledge of the topic under discussion, in consultation with staff of our 13 Institutes. Partners can also identify experts they would like to invite, based on their knowledge of the area.

  • 13. Is there a financial cost associated with co-hosting a BBE with CIHR?

    Yes, while CIHR covers the cost of the pre-event reception as well as presenter/facilitator fees and travel, our partners are responsible for the cost of catering on the day of the meeting, rental of the meeting venue, and audiovisual services/equipment. Partners are also responsible for any optional costs related to hiring a report writer, interpretation services and participant travel.

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

Date modified: