Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Scientific Director (SD) Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health (IIPH)
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada's federal health research funding agency. Composed of 13 virtual Institutes, CIHR collaborates with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve health and strengthen the health care system. Under the authority of the CIHR Act and in line with CIHR's accountability to Governing Council and the Government of Canada through the Minister of Health, CIHR strives to create new scientific knowledge and enable its translation, focusing on the health priorities that are important to Canadians.
CIHR's Strategic Plan 2021-2031: A Vision for a Healthier Future establishes the context that will allow Canadian health research to be internationally recognized as inclusive, collaborative, transparent, culturally safe, and focused on real world impact. CIHR is committed to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), accessibility, anti-ableism, and anti-racism. Additionally, CIHR embraces a distinctions-based and culturally safe approach, incorporating Indigenous Ways of Knowing, by listening attentively to and working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples to further strengthen Indigenous health research in Canada. CIHR is committed to the values and principles of EDI across all aspects of its business.
The Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health (IIPH)
As one of the thirteen Institutes of CIHR, IIPH shares responsibility for achieving the principal objectives of CIHR. IIPH is dedicated to supporting research and building research capacity in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples' health. The IIPH research funding supports researchers located in universities, hospitals and other research centres across Canada. Research funding is in the form of grants, funding of capacity building programs and training for Indigenous researchers.
The IIPH fosters the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada, through research, knowledge translation and capacity building. The Institute's pursuit of research excellence is enhanced by respect for community research priorities and Indigenous knowledges, values, and cultures. The IIPH is pursuing ambitious goals to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples in every part of Canada by stimulating Indigenous health research, creating new knowledge, forming research partnerships with organizations in Canada and abroad and respectfully involving Indigenous communities in every project undertaken.
IIPH will strive to improve the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people by supporting innovative research programs based on scientific excellence and Indigenous community collaborations that respect communities' right to self-determination.
IIPH will play a lead role in developing research capacity in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, and will support partnerships and alliances between Indigenous communities and health research groups at the local, regional, national, and international levels. IIPH supports health research that respects Indigenous values, beliefs, and cultures, while generating new knowledge to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples.
At all times, IIPH is guided by the highest ethical and moral standards and its core set of values:
- Respect and recognition of Indigenous Peoples' right to self-determination
- Including Indigenous Peoples in all health research activities
- Act in an honest, fair, and just manner
- Conduct all activities and business in a transparent manner
- Maintain ethical standards by adhering consistently to essential values and principles
- Share new knowledge with all research partners; and
- Present health research findings and knowledge to Indigenous Peoples in a way that is accessible, appropriate and easily understood
Initiatives in Indigenous Health Research
CIHR has developed several initiatives that offer funding opportunities related to identified priority areas. Each of these initiatives involves collaboration between the Institutes and a wide range of partner organizations.
The initiatives help CIHR to allocate its resources to make the strongest possible impact on health and health care. The Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health (IIPH) is involved in leading the following initiatives:
- Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples
- Network Environments for Indigenous Health Research (NEIHR)
- Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (I-HeLTI)
Likewise, CIHR recently published its annual progress update on the implementation of CIHR's Action Plan: "Building a healthier future for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples", which noted a very encouraging trend in funding for Indigenous health research.
CIHR relies on the strength and commitment of First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and Urban Indigenous communities, and their ongoing work to lead health research that focuses on resilience, wellness, and Indigenous Ways of Knowing.
The Role – Scientific Director (SD)
Reporting directly to the President of CIHR, and working with the organization's Executive team, staff, and other Scientific Directors and Institute staff, the Scientific Director (SD) of CIHR-IIPH will provide overall executive direction and scientific leadership for CIHR-IIPH. In addition, they will champion and support Indigenous health research, knowledge mobilization, and capacity development at the highest level of scientific excellence.
In this exciting and enriching role, the Scientific Director will champion and support Indigenous health research, knowledge mobilization, and capacity development at the highest level of scientific excellence. This role provides the SD with an unparalleled opportunity to transform the health landscape in Canada, built by and for Indigenous people. The SD will stimulate new health research by embedding Indigenous knowledge(s) throughout the research processes while facilitating the growth and development of the Institute as they continue to renew and reconcile.
In addition to being an expert on Indigenous health, the incoming SD will be grounded in community and Indigenous ways of knowing, and will be encouraged to leverage their connection(s) to community to strengthen both their research and leadership capacities. The SD is a change agent who aspires to challenge and be challenged, and will be excited to motivate, inspire, and facilitate a new era of health research in Canada.
As a member of the Science Council, the Scientific Director, in collaboration with colleagues from the other CIHR Institutes as well as the senior CIHR executive leadership team, will:
- Provide analysis and advice on Canada's research needs, gaps, and opportunities;
- Support the implementation of CIHR's Indigenous Health Research Action Plan;
- Embody the 'Calls to Action' of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and at all opportunities, and seek to promote the inclusion of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and learning in the culture and programs of CIHR;
- Contribute to the elaboration of CIHR-wide science policies and research strategies;
- Advise on the development of, and investment in, cross-cutting strategic initiatives;
- Share responsibility as one of CIHR's Institutes for achieving the strategic objectives of CIHR as delineated in CIHR's Strategic Plan and the accompanying annual action plans;
- Advance CIHR's commitment to eliminating systemic ableism in Canada's health research funding system and ensure the application of accessible and anti-ableist practices; and
- Advance CIHR's commitment to eliminating systemic racism in Canada's health research funding system.
Qualifications and Attributes
As Scientific Director of CIHR-IIPH, the successful applicant will:
- Bring lived experience as an Indigenous person and be a member/citizen of an Indigenous community;
- Have a PhD and/or MD degree or equivalent advanced degree in a discipline relevant to the CIHR-IIPH mandate;
- Hold a position at, or be affiliated with, a CIHR eligible institution;
- Be grounded in Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and science, as well as in community ethics and Indigenous relational concepts;
- Be respected by the broader Indigenous community;
- Have experience working within a healing space using a culturally-based approach;
- Be an experienced scholar who understands the academic setting and research ecosystem;
- Have demonstrated expertise in mentorship to junior Indigenous scholars, including but not limited to those who may be particularly impacted by IIPH leadership changes;
- Have demonstrated expertise in high-quality research with Indigenous Peoples including expertise in community-based approaches;
- Have familiarity with CIHR and be committed to supporting its strategic priorities (including the Indigenous research strategies in Priority C of CIHR's Strategic Plan) and the broader Government of Canada priorities related to Indigenous health research to ensure strategic coherence;
- Be aware of the national Indigenous Health Research landscape and have familiarity with international research groups and projects in order to ensure that current key linkages (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, USA) are nurtured;
- Have strong interpersonal and communication skills as well as demonstrate kindness, compassion, relationality, and a unifying presence;
- Have negotiation skills to advocate for Indigenous community perspectives (this attribute is gained by someone having the experience from being within the community) and for Indigenous health research across other federal departments, agencies and research institutions, as well within specific provinces and territories ; and
- Embed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) lens and distinctions-based approach in all areas, including decision-making, engagements, and initiative development as well as foster and promote a culturally safe, trauma informed, and inclusive environment; maintain awareness of evolving best practices of EDI, accessibility, anti-ableism, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism.
- Proficiency in both Official Languages and/or an Indigenous language(s) would be an asset.
CIHR has established an Advisory Circle to inform the selection process of the new Scientific Director for its Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health. The Advisory Circle will support CIHR's priority of accelerating the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples in health research, while maintaining the trust and confidence of Indigenous communities, in informing the selection process of a new Scientific Director for the IIPH. The Advisory Circle's work will be grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing, while respecting the unique identities of rights-holding groups. It will work in collaboration with the Indigenous community, particularly the Indigenous Health Research community.
The anticipated start date for this role is to be determined, but is anticipated to begin in 2024. This is a 4-year mandate with the possibility of a second-term 4-year appointment. If the incumbent desires a renewal, a process of evaluation will be conducted by CIHR, in conjunction with health research ecosystem partners, and a recommendation will be provided to the Governing Council.
The Scientific Director will remain an employee of their host institution (and not of the Government of Canada) and will be required to devote 50% of their time to the work of CIHR and the IIPH. The Scientific Director will sign a letter of appointment with CIHR and a separate agreement with the host institution covering the duration of their term.
CIHR will endeavor to provide the following, in support of the incoming Scientific Director of CIHR-IIPH
- Reasonable ongoing support to ensure the continuity of the Scientific Director's research program, while in post; and
- Research support to facilitate the Scientific Director's re-entry into the competitive market following completion of their term(s).
The Scientific Director will be provided with funding, through an annual Institute Support grant, to hire a support team through their host academic institution. The host institution is also expected to provide support to the Scientific Director and Institute staff, for example, by providing access to office facilities and other support (finances, human resources). The Scientific Director will be expected to integrate Indigenous, EDI, accessibility, official languages, anti-ableism and anti-racism best practices in the promotion, recruitment, and retention of the IIPH team members.
The 50/50 model supports the critical role that Scientific Directors must play in remaining abreast of research developments in their respective areas of study, which may create a higher potential for the emergence of potential, perceived, or actual Conflict of Interest (COI) situations. As such, Scientific Directors are subject to the CIHR Policy on Conflict of Interest Prevention and Management for Scientific Directors, Members of Governing Council and Advisory Bodies. CIHR's policy on Conflict of Interest aims to proactively avoid and prevent COI situations where personal interests (research, financial, familial) may be a potential, perceived, or actual, conflict with a Scientific Director's CIHR responsibilities, and is reviewed annually. The COI policy as well as the Directive on Scientific Directors and CIHR Funding outline that Scientific Directors are not permitted to compete for CIHR funding while in office and in some instances it may be required to reduce or completely relinquish their role on existing research projects should an actual significant risk of COI be determined.
Upon appointment, the Scientific Director candidate will be required to submit a Declaration of External Interests Form. Prior to assuming the responsibilities of the Scientific Director, the candidate will be expected to undergo a standard security clearance and arrange their personal affairs in such a manner as to prevent their external interests from conflicting with the performance of their CIHR responsibilities. If such a conflict arises, it is to be declared and resolved in the interests of CIHR and for the public good. For more information, visit the COI webpage.
If you have any questions regarding the conflict-of-interest policy, please contact a member of the Leaders International recruitment team.
CIHR invites applications from all qualified candidates. Please email the following application materials to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 3, 2023:
- Cover letter clarifying your attributes and qualifications in relation to the Opportunity Profile;
- Academic CV (Canadian Common CV or institutional CV);
- Proof of citizenship or membership to an Indigenous Nation or community. This should be a document that is acceptable to the community or Nation you are from.Footnote 1
In these situations where Indigenous government-approved documentation is not available, the individual will be guided and supported through a verification process. The process will support Indigenous people who may not possess documentation for a variety of reasons, including displacement through past policies, laws, and the overall impacts of colonization.
Candidates who are invited to the interview process may be required to submit additional information relating to their Indigenous citizenship (e.g. letters of reference, genealogy, etc).
All information provided will be subject to verification, and further information may be requested. The information provided should address all essential qualifications and will be assessed fairly.
Measures for accommodation are available to all candidates for further assessment. If you require accommodations, please contact LaurieS@leadersinternational.com. Information received relating to accommodation measures will be addressed confidentially.
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