Lab Canada

Canada’s top health research funding organization maps direction for the future

Ottawa, ON – January 22, 2004 – Canadian Institutes of Health Research has unveiled its strategic plan for the next five years. Known as CIHR’s Blueprint, the document articulates the agency’s vision, mandate and strategic directions for the coming years.

The document builds on the organization’s achievements over the past three years and is intended to be a significant step in defining CIHR’s long-term strategy of becoming Canada’s main engine for supporting health research discovery and innovation.

“CIHR is now poised to move to its second stage of evolution a stage that is designed to accelerate the pace of discovery and its application, ensuring that Canadians reap the health and economic benefits of health research,” says Dr Bernstein, president of CIHR.

The foundation of the blueprint was the extensive work of CIHR’s 13 institutes in developing their own strategic plans. This included wide-ranging consultations to identify research needs and priorities and to contribute to the development of Canada’s first national health research agenda.

The blueprint is intended to complete CIHR’s transformation from a granting council to an internationally respected health research agency. It lays out five strategic directions for the coming years, which are:

1. Strengthening Canada’s health research communities;
2. Addressing emerging health challenges and develop national research platforms and initiatives;
3. Developing a balanced research agenda that includes research on disease mechanisms, treatment, prevention and cure, and health promotion;
4. Harnessing research to improve health of vulnerable populations; and
5. Supporting health innovations that contribute to a more productive health system and prosperous economy.

To enable it to achieve this vision, the agency says it requires an increase in its budget from its current level of $620 million to $1 billion between now and 2007/08.

“CIHR is at the centre of bringing Canada s health research community together,” says Dr Tony Pawson, director of research, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital. “This strategic plan written, by and for health researchers, provides a clear vision of where we need to go.”