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Section IV - Other Items of Interest

1. Organizational Excellence

CIHR achieves program delivery excellence and impressive research results by continually strengthening its internal organization and fostering a dedicated, well-informed workforce. The organization's leadership, responsible management, continuous-improvement practices, and high-quality work environment demonstrate on-going commitment to organizational excellence. CIHR maintains an operational budget of approximately $47 million for 2008-2009, while ensuring that approximately 95% of its total parliamentary appropriations go directly to support health research and researchers in Canada.

Description of Key Activities
CIHR's operating budget is allocated to four portfolios - Corporate Affairs, Research, Knowledge Translation and Resource Planning and Management - to ensure smooth program design and delivery, and effective functioning of the organization.

Blueprint II - 2008-2009 to 2013-2014
Strategic planning is the foundation of CIHR's corporate planning activities and as such, the Strategic Plan guides priority setting, resource allocation decisions and program design in order to optimize organizational performance.

In 2003, CIHR developed its first strategic plan - Blueprint - to guide its future directions and financial resource requirements. Much has changed internally and externally at CIHR since then. In the summer 2007 CIHR began the Blueprint renewal process to extend its planning frame for the period 2008-2009 to 2013-2014.

At its August 2007 retreat, CIHR's Governing Council considered high level strategic directions that CIHR might pursue over the next five years, with the view to informing the renewal of Blueprint. Specifically, Council confirmed the appropriateness of the existing strategic directions in Blueprint, and directed management to use this as a starting point for Blueprint renewal.

Council also identified a number of enabling strategies CIHR should pursue. These include: enhance partnerships; simplify and consolidate programs; establish criteria to guide investments in programs and targeted research; improve evaluation and establish outcome measures; ensure that CIHR is achieving its full mandate; ensure alignment with the Federal Science & Technology Strategy.

During Winter 2008 CIHR management, including its Institutes, will develop strategies that address the proposed strategic directions. This will be followed by external consultations with partners and health research stakeholders to fine-tune the plan. CIHR's Governing Council will ratify Blueprint II in June 2008.

Building a Better and Simpler CIHR
continues its efforts to simplify programming structure while still meeting the need for different program vehicles to support different objectives. CIHR is implementing new approaches to communicating funding opportunities - approaches that are easier to understand and are both regular and predictable for the research community. Significant steps toward simplifying its portfolio of funding programs have been taken by combining several programs with similar objectives.

CIHR will continue this systematic review of its programming and will continue to consolidate programs where appropriate. All program re-design required to streamline CIHR's funding opportunities is guided by consultation with the research community. The intended result will be a simple, well-designed portfolio of funding programs that is flexible enough to accommodate all approaches to health research.

Enhancing Effectiveness of Peer Review
CIHR has faced a significant and sustained increase in the volume and breadth of grant applications, thus straining the peer review process - the method used to determine the most promising researchers and research proposals to fund. This continuing strain was acknowledged in the International Review Panel Report of June 2006.

In 2008-2009, CIHR will continue to enhance peer review through streamlining and standardizing operational processes and continued implementation of electronic processing of applications. Access to electronic versions of applications, peer reviews and funding decisions will continue to open up new possibilities for improvement to the peer review process.

Utilizing Technology to Enhance Service Delivery
CIHR is committed to easing the administrative burden on researchers to enable them to spend more time on research. To help address this, CIHR is leading the development of ResearchNet, the single point of online access for researchers to conduct business with CIHR. Currently, over 19,000 members of the research community are registered on ResearchNet to electronically and securely search for research opportunities, submit applications for funding, conduct peer review and access their application results and latest research funding information. Research institutions electronically review and sign off on researcher applications on ResearchNet before submission. Geographically dispersed teams and committees, including CIHR Institutes and tri-agency partnerships, collaborate through secure online workspaces. A pilot is currently in progress for the submission of progress reports and final reports of research outcomes from CIHR funding on ResearchNet.
CIHR also continues to participate in the Common CV, an online tool used by researchers to maintain and submit their résumés to multiple funding agencies. Currently, there are more than 50,000 registered researchers for the Common CV, which is supported by 19 provincial, federal and not-for-profit agencies, including Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada, NSERC, Networks for Centres of Excellence, the Killam Program at Canada Council for the Arts and SSHRC.

Evaluating our Performance
In 2008-2009, CIHR will continue to evaluate performance through production of the Departmental Performance Report and several program evaluations. As well, CIHR will complete a 5-year plan of evaluation that will enable it to comply with the recent requirement of the Financial Administration Act to renew all of its grants and awards programs every 5 years.

Improving Reporting of Research Results and Impacts
CIHR will continue development of a strategy to improve the reporting of CIHR-funded research results and impacts. Components of the strategy (which is being implemented over several years) include: implementing a framework and indicators for measuring the value of investments in health research; finalizing a "Research Reporting System" tool which will have researchers provide data to CIHR on the results and impacts of their research from which CIHR will report and enhance communications about research results and overall impacts; and a policy to share the results and products of CIHR-funded research.

Advancing Modern Management Practices
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) conducted a Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessment of CIHR in the fall of 2006. The results of the assessment were made available in 2007-2008. In total, for the 15 indicators against which CIHR was assessed, CIHR received 2 "strong" ratings, 10 "acceptable" ratings, 3 "opportunities for improvement" ratings and no "attention required" ratings.

CIHR conducted a mid-year review in December 2007 of the recommendations made by TBS and will conduct a year-end review in April 2008.

A Committed Workforce
Fostering a committed, motivated and productive workforce continues to be a priority for CIHR. CIHR's Human Resources Strategy identifies recruitment, learning and development, official languages, diversity, workplace well-being, performance management and compensation as priorities. In 2008-2009 CIHR will enter the second year of a three year action plan designed to promote improvement in each of these areas. Five Executive Champions will lead initiatives designed to improve internal Human Resource systems, services and practices. Quarterly reports will be tabled with the CIHR Executive Management Committee and established performance indicators will be monitored. The new Leadership Development Program will provide basic and advanced level leadership training to supervisory and management staff, and CIHR will host its third annual Leaders Retreat. A human resource planning model will be implemented and CIHR will focus on integrated finance, business and human resources planning to ensure a strong capacity to deliver against our objectives.

Institute Transitions
Institute transitions are a normal part of CIHR's virtual Institute operating model. In keeping with the original vision of CIHR, the leadership and location of Institutes must be periodically refreshed to ensure continual renewal of energy and ideas. Institute transitions involve the closure of an Institute's head office at its host university or hospital and moving its operations to the location of the new Scientific Director. CIHR has established a schedule for periodic rotation of Institute Scientific Directors, in order to mitigate issues of corporate knowledge loss and alleviate administrative difficulties of managing simultaneous Institute transitions.

The Institute Affairs Directorate is responsible to plan and oversee transitions, ensuring the smooth transfer of Institute knowledge and transition activities, based on guiding principles, best practices and lessons learned from previous Institute transitions.

Specifically in 2008-2009, CIHR will ensure the smooth transitions and relocations of the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH), the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (IAPH), and the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD).

2. Key Reference Documents and Internet Addresses

  1. Investing in Canada's Future: CIHR's Blueprint for Health Research and Innovation 2003-2004 to 2007-2008, CIHR's Strategic Plan:
  2. Various CIHR Reports:
  3. CIHR Institutes - More information, including Institute Strategic Plans and Annual Reports, is available through CIHR's web site:
  4. CIHR and Institute's internet addresses:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Home Page
Aboriginal Peoples' Health
Cancer Research
Circulatory and Respiratory Health
Gender and Health
Health Services and Policy Research
Human Development, Child and Youth Health
Infection & Immunity
Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction
Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes
Population and Public Health