CIHR Strategic Plan 2021–2031
A Vision for a Healthier Future

A message from Dr. Michael Strong, President, CIHR

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

I am pleased to present the new CIHR Strategic Plan 2021–2031: A Vision for a Healthier Future. This plan reflects the vision and strategic direction of our Governing Council, and builds on CIHR’s successes over the past 20 years in supporting a community of health researchers that is stronger and more diverse than ever before. Canada’s health researchers are a source of enormous pride, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, they play a crucial role in improving the health of Canadians and strengthening our health care and public health systems.

At the same time, we recognize that there is still much work to be done. The burden of disease continues to drive unsustainable health care costs, and inequitable health outcomes are still readily evident across our country, particularly among racialized groups and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.

With CIHR’s new Strategic Plan, we are establishing the roots from which our bold vision to demonstrably improve the health of future generations of Canadians will develop. We recognize that this vision will require us to be daring with our ideas and decision-making, while also planning and executing our changes in a thoughtful, engaged, and timely manner. Of course, these bold objectives cannot be achieved by CIHR alone; the activities described in this Strategic Plan will require coordination and collaboration across the health research landscape.

During our consultations, the community was emphatic that the Strategic Plan should be accompanied by a clearly articulated action plan that speaks to the delivery of key aspects of the Strategic Plan. To that end, I am also pleased to present the Action Plan for Year 1 (2021–22), the first installment of a series of annual action plans that will assist CIHR as we implement the Strategic Plan.

This new Strategic Plan is the product of a comprehensive engagement exercise with the health research community, and I want to sincerely thank all those who generously volunteered their time to provide advice, direction, and support.

I invite you to read the Strategic Plan and 2021-2022 Action Plan and hope you will join us on our journey to achieve the best health for all, powered by outstanding research.

Further reading

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Why is CIHR publishing a new Strategic Plan?

    On the occasion of our 20th anniversary in 2020, with a new President, and many new faces around CIHR’s Science Council and Governing Council, the time was right to set a new direction for the future. This new Strategic Plan is an evolution for the agency, prioritizing longstanding objectives for CIHR, such as supporting investigator-initiated research and capacity development, while also incorporating some newer areas of focus, such as preparing for future pandemics and embedding considerations of equity, diversity, and inclusion into all aspects of our business.

  • 2. Why did you choose a 10-year timeline?

    The CIHR Strategic Plan 2021–31 is based on a bold vision to demonstrably improve the health of future generations of Canadians. CIHR recognizes that such an ambitious objective will take time, and the 10-year horizon provides us with the time necessary to achieve success. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have conducted additional engagements with stakeholders to ensure our new Strategic Plan addresses the implications of the pandemic for both the health research ecosystem and the Canadian population, e.g., by incorporating new focus areas such as enhancing CIHR’s rapid response capacity.

  • 3. Why are you releasing an Action Plan in addition to the Strategic Plan?

    During our consultations, the community was emphatic that the Strategic Plan should be accompanied by a clearly articulated action plan that speaks to the delivery of key aspects of the Strategic Plan. While we recognize that activities in future years may evolve as the implementation of the Strategic Plan progresses, we will complete an annual assessment of our progress against our stated commitments. Milestones achieved for each commitment will be documented to enable the assessment of progress on the strategies outlined in the Strategic Plan. That is why, starting in 2022–2023, a report on the achievement of the previous year’s actions will be included in the Action Plan. Our Action Plan has a five-year timeline as we will be conducting a critical review at the five-year mark (2025–2026) to take stock and course-correct as required.

  • 4. What input did you consider when developing the Strategic Plan?

    The CIHR Strategic Plan 2021–2031 is grounded in CIHR’s enabling legislation, the CIHR Act. It reflects the vision and strategic direction of CIHR’s Governing Council. It also builds on lessons learned since our last strategic planning exercise in 2014, particularly around the importance of aligning ourselves with others in the health research ecosystem. The Strategic Plan is the product of the most comprehensive engagement exercise in CIHR’s history, which included environmental scans, online engagement, a national survey of Canadians, meetings with national stakeholders and Indigenous communities, consultation with CIHR staff, a strategic planning workshop, and a health research summit. Read more about the road to developing the CIHR Strategic Plan 2021–2031.

  • 5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the development of the Strategic Plan?

    As CIHR was developing this Strategic Plan, the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada and the world. While we had to pause this process to focus our resources on supporting Canada’s whole-of-government response to the pandemic, once the situation stabilized, we conducted additional engagements with stakeholders (with groups such as HealthCareCAN and the National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organizations) to consider the implications of the pandemic for both the health research ecosystem and the Canadian population. As noted in the Action Plan for Year 1 (2021 to 2022), enhancing CIHR’s rapid response capacity – including through the creation of a new Research Centre for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies – is a priority for the organization going forward.

Date modified: