Funding News

CIHR – Changes to the Institutes and Reforms of Open Programs and peer review

A number of changes are currently being undertaken at CIHR to ensure its investments deliver even greater impact on the health of Canadians.

These changes are generating significant interest in the research community. The following information is intended to help ensure a common, clear understanding of CIHR’s approach and intended objectives. You are encouraged to share these messages with colleagues, partners and stakeholders.

Information about changes to the Institutes
In August 2014, Governing Council directed CIHR to implement a series of enhancements to ensure that CIHR investments in health research have the greatest potential for impact on the health of Canadians.

CIHR continues to make progress on this front. It is important to note that there will be no change in the number or slate of Institutes and no reduction in the total amount of funding available to Canadian health researchers. Two key changes are:

  • Restructuring the Institute Advisory Boards (IABs). This restructuring aims to further strengthen the design of innovative, cross-disciplinary, and impactful research initiatives. It is intended to foster further collaboration amongst Institutes. This complements other advisory mechanisms already in place at CIHR, such as those for Signature Initiatives, as well as the community outreach activities undertaken by each Institute. Specific decisions on how the IABs will be structured have not been taken. These will be shaped through discussions with current IAB members, Scientific Directors and CIHR executives.
  • Creating a Common Research Fund. This fund will support high-impact and successful Signature Initiatives that cut across Institutes and disciplines. It will offer an opportunity for governments, charities, institutions, and other partners to leverage CIHR investments. It will also provide a solid foundation for strong partnerships required for success. The Common Research Fund does not have mandatory 1:1 matching requirements.

CIHR’s executive management has established working groups to consider how best to operationalize these changes and to guide implementation. The implementation teams are considering all input recently received from the health research community, and welcome additional feedback.

Please visit the CIHR website for more information about these changes and send your questions or input to:

Information about Reforms of Open Programs and Peer Review Processes
CIHR continues to make progress on the reform of its funding program for investigator-initiated research. The new, simplified programs will consist of the Foundation Scheme, the Project Scheme, and new peer review processes supported by a College of Reviewers.

This month, the Stage 1 review process for the first Foundation Scheme pilot was completed. An initial summary of the results is available. There are a number of questions that have been raised about the first stage of this pilot. A set of questions and answers will be made available on the CIHR website in the coming weeks.

As this is a pilot, applicants and reviewers are being asked to complete surveys to outline their perceptions and experience with the competition and peer review processes. This feedback will be analyzed and the results will be shared with the research community. As with previous pilots, these results will help inform changes to future competition processes and identify areas for improvement if necessary.

CIHR will be engaging with the research community through a series of town hall meetings beginning in January 2015, providing an opportunity to discuss the implementation of the reforms in further detail.

The implementation of these new programs does not decrease the amount of funding available to Canadian health researchers through CIHR. In 2012, CIHR’s Governing Council committed to increasing the funding envelope for the Investigator Initiated programs by $10M a year cumulatively for five years, beginning in 2014.

Please visit the CIHR website for more information about the Reforms of Open Programs and peer review or send your questions to

Moving forward
As we implement these enhancements, we will continue to keep Canadian researchers and our partners informed of our progress. All of these changes are the result of extensive consultations – both within Canada and with international partners. We are confident that these changes will make CIHR a more flexible organization that is better able to invest in research that produces the innovations needed to strengthen Canada’s health care systems.

Regular updates will be provided on the CIHR website throughout the implementation processes.

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Françoise Hinca
CIHR Research News
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
160 Elgin Street, 9th Floor
Address locator 4809A
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W9
December, 2014


Launch of the Revised Version of the 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, or TCPS 2 (2014)

The Presidents of the three federal research agencies–the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)–are pleased to announce the release of the revision of the 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans or TCPS 2 (2014). TCPS 2 (2014) replaces TCPS 2 (2010) as the official human research ethics policy of the Agencies.

Changes include increased emphasis on the participant’s decision-making capacity, more detailed guidance about alterations to consent requirements, and the full integration of CIHR’s Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research. The inclusion of the Guidelines addresses the Agencies’ goal of making TCPS 2 the single Agency policy for the ethics of research involving humans.

Please consult the Panel on Research website for additional information on the Panel, Highlights of Changes and to download your copy of TCPS 2 (2014). For questions on changes to the TCPS 2 (2014), please contact

For more information on the integration of CIHR’s Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research into the TCPS 2 (2014), please visit the Stem Cell Research section of the CIHR website. If you have additional questions beyond what is contained on the website about the integration of the Guidelines and submitting applications for review by the Stem Cell Oversight Committee, please contact

December, 2014


Upcoming Launch of the 2015 SSHRC Impact Awards Competition

As the year draws to a close, we would like to inform you of the launch of the 2015 SSHRC Impact Awards competition, scheduled for next January. Created in 2013, the awards recognize outstanding SSHRC-funded researchers and students and celebrate their achievements in research, research training, knowledge mobilization and outreach activities.

As of early January 2015, institutions eligible to administer SSHRC funding will be invited to put forward nominations in the following categories:

Gold Medal ($100,000)
Talent Award ($50,000)
Insight Award ($50,000)
Connection Award ($50,000)
Partnership Award ($50,000)

Institutions will have until the beginning of April 2015 to submit their nominations. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2015. Additional information, including an updated Impact Awards funding opportunity description and revised nomination details, will be communicated to you early in the New Year. In the meantime, we invite you to read about the 2013 and the 2014 Impact Awards winners.

Your collaboration in encouraging your institution’s participation would be greatly appreciated. For further information, please contact Nadine May, Program Officer with the Research Training Portfolio (

Best regards,

Jean-Francois Fortin, PhD
Director| Directeur
Research Training Portfolio | Portefeuille de la formation en recherche
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada
350 Albert Street | 350, rue Albert, Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4
E | C :
T : 613.992-5130 F | T : 613.992-0530

December, 2014


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