We’re all in this together
A message from CIHR President Dr. Michael Strong

March 19, 2020

Dear members of the Canadian health research community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a health crisis and grave disruptions the likes of which most of us have never seen before. I know that you are facing many challenges: our labs have been temporarily closed, you’re adjusting to teaching your courses online, and many of you who are clinicians have heeded the call to lend a hand as resources on the ground are stretched thin. Above and beyond this, you’re occupied with the most important job of all: watching out for the health and safety of your family and loved ones.

I know that you have questions about what the disruptions caused by COVID-19 mean for CIHR’s programs. Many of you are in the course of applying, have applied, or will be applying for funding competitions, or you’ve volunteered to peer review, and you’re wondering about the status of those competitions.

As you may imagine, this issue has been a critical priority for my senior team and I to address while we assess the evolving challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While I acknowledge that you would like answers right now, the fact of the matter is that this is not going to be business as usual for any of us and our tools to address these challenges are limited. Given this, we have been consulting carefully in order to understand not only the critical needs to be addressed, but also the long-term implications of any approach we use. We recognize that we will need to address not only the ability to offer grant competitions at this time, but also the implications for the current closure of labs across the country. Any package that we will bring forward, and indeed there will be one, will look to mitigate the many impacts on researchers, trainees, lab staff, and research administrators, among others – including ensuring that staff paid from grants will continue to be paid. I can assure you that we will provide the initial aspects of this approach in the next few days.

In the meantime, please regularly consult the COVID-19 webpage on CIHR’s website. It will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

These are extraordinary times, but we will get through them together.


Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCP, FCAHS, FAAN
President, CIHR

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