CIHR-III Strategic Planning Process

The CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity Strategic Plan 2021 - 2026 is now live. Refer to the full plan.

For past five years, CIHR-III has made consistent efforts to fund infection and immunity research identified through its Strategic Plan 2013-2018. With the completion of the 5-year plan that coincided with the appointment of the new Scientific Director, III launched a yearlong process to identify new strategic priorities for the Strategic Plan 2021-2026.

Throughout the process, III engaged approximately 700 national and international stakeholders through a survey, in-person and virtual workshops as well as focus group sessions. Building consensus with key stakeholders, including the Institute Advisory Board (IAB), on the overall approach to developing III’s strategic plan and ensuring alignment of the plan against key considerations remained a top priority for III throughout the process. This was the most comprehensive consultation in III’s history, and the input from the infection and immunity community has been invaluable in guiding our discussions and informing our decision-making process.

Below you will find a snapshot of the 18-month process (with a 5-month pause).



The engagement process began with an online survey launched on October 29, 2019 to seek initial advice on research priorities. With the launch of the survey, III hosted two webinars to provide more information and answer the community’s questions on the overall strategic planning process. Approximately 300 individuals responded to the survey questions.

Provincial distribution of the survey respondents

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Provincial distribution of survey respondents

  • BC 14%
  • AB 8%
  • SK 5%
  • MB 7%
  • ON 38%
  • QC 20%
  • NB 0.5%
  • NS 7%
  • NL 0.5%

Roles and foci of the survey respondents

Long description

Career Stage

  • Other* 14%
  • Graduate Student 10%
  • PDF 5%
  • New Investigator 18%
  • Mid-Career Investigator 25%
  • Senior Investigator 28%

* ‘Other’ includes: Federal public service executives, technicians, patient advocates, government employees and not-for-profit organizations

Long description

CIHR Pillar of Health Research

  • Biomedical 72%
  • Clinical 12%
  • Population Health 14%
  • Health System Services 2%

Engagement Workshops

The survey was followed by a series of Engagement Workshops that aimed to bring together the broader research community to respond to the survey results and share their perspectives on current health challenges, emerging issues, relevant research strengths and gaps, and how the III can do to strategically position the infection and immunity research community to respond. To inform the consultation, Dr. Charu Kaushic provided an overview of CIHR-III, the strategic planning process, and the survey results to the workshop participants before moving into breakout group discussions.

Long description

In-person and virtual workshops were held in the following geographical areas:

  • Hamilton, Ontario
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Atlantic Provinces
  • Greater Vancouver and Victoria Area
  • Greater Montreal Area
  • Prairie Provinces

In-person workshops were held from January to March in the following cities:

  • Hamilton, Ontario
    Date: January 8, 2020
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Date: January 30, 2020
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Date: February 11, 2020
  • Quebec City, Quebec
    Date: March 12, 2020

As a result of CIHR’s moratorium due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining Strategic Planning engagement workshops were postponed from March to August 2020. In September 2020, III resumed the following engagement workshops virtually:

  • Atlantic Provinces
    September 17, 2020
  • Greater Vancouver and Victoria Area
    September 21, 2020
  • Greater Montreal Area
    September 22, 2020
  • Prairie Provinces
    September 29, 2020

Nearly 300 individuals across Canada were engaged throughout the in-person and virtual workshops, and the information gathered through the survey and workshops informed the development of a draft strategic framework.

Roles and foci of the workshop participants*

Long description

Career Stage

  • Other* 23%
  • Graduate Student 10%
  • PDF 7%
  • New Investigator 14%
  • Mid-Career Investigator 20%
  • Senior Investigator 26%

* ‘Other’ includes positions such as: Federal public service executives, technicians, research associates, government employees, not-for-profit organizations, healthcare professionals, private sector employees and “NA”.

Long description

CIHR Pillar of Health Research

  • Biomedical 59%
  • Clinical 19%
  • Population Health 8%
  • Health System Services 14%

*Information is based on the registration data

Focus Groups

The engagement workshops were followed by a series of Focus Groups to present and gather input on the draft strategic framework, have a deeper discussion on the integration of these themes within the framework and discuss how III can support and strengthen these themes within infection and immunity research and the research environment to fulfill its mandate. The Focus Group themes included:

Approximately 100 key stakeholders and partners, with expertise in infection and immunity research and shared interested in the above themes, were engaged in through the Focus Groups, and the information gathered informed the refinement of the draft strategic framework.

Shortly after the Focus Groups, III met with the IAB on November 30, 2021 to present the refined strategic framework for final feedback.

III would like to thank the members of our community, including researchers, trainees, clinicians, partners, policy makers, people with lived/living experience and other members of the public, who dedicated significant time and effort to this engagement process. Members of the community helped the III team in liaising with their universities for the organization of the in-person events, distributing the communications material, and facilitating group discussions during the workshops to gather participants feedback on key questions. It was these efforts that led to such a successful series of engagement workshops and focus groups, and III is deeply appreciative to all those who supported and participated in the process.  Thank you for joining the conversation!

Previous III Strategic Plans

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