Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR; French: Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada; IRSC) is a federal agency responsible for funding health and medical research in Canada.[1][2] Comprising 13 institutes, it is the successor to the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Logo.svg
Logo of CIHR
PredecessorMedical Research Council of Canada
FormationJune 7, 2000; 22 years ago (2000-06-07)
Legal statusFederal departmental corporation
Official language
  • English
  • French
Michael J. Strong
Main organ
Governing Council
Subsidiaries13 institutes

CIHR supports more than 13,000 researchers and trainees through grants, fellowships, scholarships, and other funding, as part of the federal government's investment in health research. The peer review process is a vital part of CIHR. Review by panels of peers from the research community ensures that proposals approved for funding by CIHR meet internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence.

Along with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the CIHR forms the major source of federal government funding to post-secondary research and are collectively referred to as the "Tri-Council"[3] or "Tri-Agency".[4]


CIHR was created by an Act of Parliament on June 7, 2000,[5] bringing together existing government activities. CIHR's annual budget is approximately $1 billion.

In 2021, Carrie Bourassa, the scientific director of CIHR's Indigenous health arm, was placed on immediate leave after the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) found no evidence to support her repeated claims of Indigenous ancestry.[6]


CIHR is a departmental corporation listed in Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act. As an arms' length agency of government, it is accountable to Parliament through the minister of health. CIHR is managed by the president and the 17 members of Governing Council,[7] who are assisted by various Standing and Advisory Committees and a 7-member executive team.[8]


Alan Bernstein was the founding president of the agency (2000-2007), followed by Alain Beaudet (2008-2017).[9][10][11] Michael Strong, an ALS researcher, was announced as the new president in June 2018.[12]

Institute structureEdit

CIHR consists of 13 "virtual" institutes,[13] each headed by a Scientific Director and assisted by an Institute Advisory Board. They work together to shape a national health research agenda for Canada. The institutes bring together researchers, health professionals, and policy-makers from voluntary health organizations, provincial government agencies, international research organizations, and industry and patient groups from across the country with a shared interest in improving the health of Canadians.

The work of the institutes embraces the four pillars of health research:

  1. biomedical;[14]
  2. clinical;
  3. health services;[15] and
  4. population health.

A major goal of the institutes is to forge relationships across disciplines to stimulate integrative, multifaceted research agendas that respond to society's health priorities while adhering to the highest ethical standards.

Member institutesEdit

Each institute focuses on a specific area of research.

  • Institute of Aging
  • Institute of Cancer Research
  • Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health
  • Institute of Gender and Health
  • Institute of Genetics
  • Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
  • Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health
  • Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health
  • Institute of Infection and Immunity
  • Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
  • Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
  • Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes
  • Institute of Population and Public Health


In June 2020, CIHR provided $109 million in funding to 139 research teams across Canada for COVID-19 research.[16] On February 16, 2021, CIHR launched the CIHR-CEPI Leadership Award for Excellence in Vaccine Research for Infectious Diseases of Epidemic Potential, co-administered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Major funders to share study data for public health". Reuters. January 10, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)". McGill University.
  3. ^ Government of Canada, Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (April 1, 2019). "Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018)". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  4. ^ Government of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (December 18, 2019). "NSERC - Inter-Agency, Tri-Agency Financial Administration". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Branch, Legislative Services (June 17, 2019). "Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act". Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  6. ^ Leo, Geoff (November 1, 2021). "Health scientist Carrie Bourassa on immediate leave after scrutiny of her claim she's Indigenous". Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Government of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (January 20, 2005). "Executive management - CIHR". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  8. ^ Government of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (January 20, 2005). "Executive management - CIHR". Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  9. ^ Ben Hirschler (October 11, 2007). "More collaboration needed after HIV vaccine flop". Reuters. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "Embattled head of Canadian Institutes of Health Research to step down". ottawacitizen. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  11. ^ Research, Canadian Institutes of Health (July 10, 2015). "Dr. Alain Beaudet". Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "Minister of Health announces Dr. Michael J. Strong as new President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research". Government of Canada. June 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "Getting Funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)". Association for Behavior Analysis International.
  14. ^ Richard F Wintle (August 24, 2012). "The unsung heroes behind those big genomics breakthroughs". The Guardian.
  15. ^ David Cooksey (2006). "A review of UK health research funding (page 30)" (PDF). BBC.
  16. ^ Raquel Fletcher (June 26, 2020). "Quebec researchers already starting coronavirus studies after receiving grants - Montreal |". Global News.
  17. ^ Canadian Institutes of Health Research (January 18, 2021). "Pre-announcement: CIHR-CEPI Leadership Award for Excellence in Vaccine Research for Infectious Diseases of Epidemic Potential - CIHR". Government of Canada. Archived from the original on May 22, 2022. Retrieved May 22, 2022.

External linksEdit