Canadian Institutes of Health Research (request feedback)

G. Dellaire, Ph.D. G.Dellaire at
Mon Sep 27 06:31:48 EST 1999

 Aug 27, 1999 - Programs Sub-committee of the Canadian Insitutes of
Health Research seeks your views.

In the 1999 February budget, the Federal Government announced the
creation of the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), an organization that will
have an
important role in ensuring the future health of Canadians. An Interim
Council (IGC) was appointed by the Minister of Health to advise on the
implementation of this initiative by April 1, 2000. The IGC established
Sub-committees to examine specific areas of CIHR development. These
Sub-committees have a keen interest in receiving broader input on
various issues and have identified a series of key questions  which will
inform their deliberations at this time. This list serve contains
questions related to the Sub-committee on Programs. For further
information please contact Lynda Damen at (613) 954-1818 or visit our

Please respond by October 31st, 1999.

Nancy White
Manager of Communications


 The mandate of the Sub-committee on programs is to recommend
activities for the institutes. The scope of the recommendations includes
elements, incorporating means of supporting and enhancing existing
strengths, and
 developmental activities where there is a need to build capacity.

An environmental scan has been conducted to examine existing programs in
a variety
of organizations in Canada and around the world. This paper serves to
what exists now and fosters ''thinking outside the box'' to explore
 programming opportunities in light of CIHR's ''transformative and

The Sub-committee is also involving senior staff from the granting
councils and the
Voluntary Health Organizations, and Health Canada to provide formal
input and advice
on programming initiatives and transition issues.

Guiding Principles for CIHR Programs

In developing its program proposals the sub-committee was guided by a
number of
principles. Just as they have guided the Sub-committee, these principles
should guide
CIHR in its adjustments to the program structure over the years.

 •The program structure needs to be a model of simplicity. It should be
both easy to
    manage and readily understandable to the researchers applying for
  •The programs should be flexible. Research projects are inherently
unique and rather
  than force researchers to adapt their projects to the constraints of
programs, the
   programs need to permit the funding of a broad spectrum of possible
health research.
  •Collaborative and multi disciplinary research and research that cuts
across the themes of CIHR needs to be both encouraged and facilitated by
the program structure created by the CIHR.
•Partnerships between research agencies needs to be an integral aspect
of the work of
CIHR. All programs of the CIHR should be open to partnering.
Partnerships do not
 mean that the onus for finding sufficient funding from a number of
funding agencies
rests with the individual researcher.
•CIHR programs need to be responsive to the needs of researchers and
health research priorities. Time-limited allocations of resources
targeted to deal with
specific issues or priorities will help create responsive programs.
 •The program structure needs to provide for both investigator-initiated
research and
                   strategic or targeted research. The Governing Council
should adjust the resources
                   allocated to support these two forms of research
according to changing needs.
                   •In response to identified areas of need the CIHR
needs to develop programs to build
                   research capacity, including training, career support
and infrastructure development.
                   •Research budgets need to be determined by the
research question to be answered
                   rather than an arbitrary upper limit.
                   •CIHR programs need to be structured and managed so
as to create an environment in
                   which researchers are given the freedom and time to
complete their projects with a
                   minimum of administrative intervention.
                   •The dissemination of research findings must be a
priority for all research funded by
                   the CIHR. Where appropriate, research reports should
be linked to relevant policy
                   •The transfer of knowledge and technology, including
the support for appropriate
                   commercialization, needs both staff support and
funding by CIHR.
                   •Both the researchers and the CIHR must be held
accountable for the research
                   funded. The program structure needs to permit the
measurement of research outcomes
                   against goals and priorities.

                   As the time for submission of the draft paper draws
closer, the Sub-committee would
                   like additional public input on the following

                   1.We would appreciate comments on the guiding
principles proposed by the
                   Sub-committee on programs. Should these principles
guide CIHR program
                   development in the future?
                   2.What programming modalities should CIHR support?
                   3.To what extent should partnership programs with
other sectors complement and
                   enhance research programs supported by CIHR?
                   4.Should CIHR support research "chairs" in
partnership with other agencies or the
                   private sector?
                   5.What priority should CIHR give to salary support
(career awards), for both new and
                   established researchers, as a central component of
capacity development in all needs
                   of health research?
                   6.What is the best way to support student training
component of CIHR?
                   7.Should the CIHR give special priority to
multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary
                   groups? What is the best way to support this
programming component?
                   8.Should there be special program support within the
CIHR to encourage high-risk,
                   innovative research?
                   9.To what extent should CIHR be supporting
international health research activities?
                   What mechanisms of support are appropriate for this?
                   10.Should the CIHR support the maintenance of
national databases and registries of
                   research relevant material?
                   11.Should researchers be funded to disseminate the
results of their research to groups
                   outside their field of research or is this activity
best carried out by others?
                   12.Should CIHR offer special awards and other
mechanisms to recognize the
                   creativity, expertise and innovation?
                   13.Do you have any suggestions for innovative
programming in any of the categories
                   that are related grants and personnel support?

                   Please send your response to these questions to
cihr_info_icrs at

Graham Dellaire, Ph.D.

MRC Human Genetics Unit
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road
Edinburgh, UK

Fax: +44 (0)131 343 2620
Phone: +44 (0)131 332 2471

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