Year-end message 2022
Message from the President
December 20, 2022
As 2022 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who volunteered their time to CIHR to ensure a stronger and more effective health research community. We are grateful for the important contributions from peer reviewers, committee Chairs and Scientific Officers, Institute Advisory Board members, additional committee and advisory board members, patient representatives, University Delegates, and everyone who offered their insights during our academic visits this past year. I want to offer a special word of thanks to our partners across the health research ecosystem in Canada, including all the charities and philanthropic agencies that have committed so deeply to fostering a vibrant research landscape in Canada. Together, we are advancing the cause of research excellence with meaningful impacts for all Canadians.
I wanted to highlight some of our key accomplishments over the past year. Despite another challenging year, we made significant progress in achieving many of the goals in our Strategic Plan and launched several important new initiatives.
To begin, we made strides in fostering an equitable, diverse, and inclusive health research ecosystem. We continued work to develop our anti-racism action plan with the guidance of our Anti-Racism External Advisory Committee. We launched the CIHR Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award, an exciting new initiative that will provide funding to specific underrepresented groups to support their transition into research faculty careers in Canada. In addition, we published CIHR’s accessibility plan, which was informed by advice from our External Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Systemic Ableism. We are very grateful to everyone who contributed their time and expertise to these activities.
This past year we brought forward new research initiatives in support of our pursuit of health equity, championing research on inequitable health outcomes, access to health care in Canada, and the determinants of health. We launched the National Women’s Health Research Initiative, which was developed in partnership with Women and Gender Equality Canada. This initiative will advance a coordinated research program to address under-researched and high-priority areas of women’s health and improve health outcomes for women and gender-diverse people. We also reached a milestone in our relationship with Inuit in Canada with the funding we provided to our partner Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) to support an Inuit Research Network, which will strengthen capacity for Inuit-led research that addresses Inuit needs. These initiatives are examples of how we are harnessing the power of health research to achieve the best health for all and to accelerate the self-determination of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in health research.
The Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies, housed within CIHR, came into its own this year with the hiring of its Executive Director and an interdisciplinary team. To date, they have invested in critical research related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a post-COVID-19 condition research network. They were able to quickly partner with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to provide rapid research funding on monkeypox to Canadian and African research teams. They also supported gender-transformative research on the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health and work through the Women RISE initiative with IDRC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
For its part, the Clinical Trials team successfully delivered funding opportunities for a pan-Canadian clinical trials consortium to support coordination, training platforms to support the development of highly qualified personnel, and projects for trials in priority research areas. They are now moving forward with consultations and stakeholder engagement to support the development of a pan-Canadian clinical trials strategy that will build on these initial investments. To date, your response to this consultation has been robust. We look forward to continuing to engage broadly as this strategy matures.
We continue to prioritize the Project Grant competitions and the delivery of high-quality, consistent peer-review with diverse panel representation that takes into account considerations of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. As we strive to continue to realize our mandate of funding research excellence, this upcoming year will see ongoing engagement with you on how this is best achieved for the greatest number of recipients.
These are only a few highlights of what we accomplished this past year. I am continually thankful for your creativity, energy, and resolve. Looking ahead to next year, I am confident that our momentum will continue and that we will make even more progress in our efforts to build a stronger, more equitable and diverse health research community in Canada.
On behalf of all of us at CIHR, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and extend my best wishes to you all for a healthy and productive 2023!
Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCP, FCAHS, FAAN
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