CIHR Strategic Plan 2021-2031: 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.
6. Will CIHR share its action plans and progress updates with the community?
During our consultations, the community was emphatic that the Strategic Plan should be accompanied by clearly articulated action plans that speak to the delivery of key aspects of the Strategic Plan. CIHR also pledged to complete an annual assessment of our progress against our stated commitments, so that our community can track the progress we are making on the strategies outlined in the Strategic Plan. We invite you to read our Action Plans and progress updates.
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