Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the major federal agency responsible for funding health research in Canada. It is the successor to the Medical Research Council of Canada. It aims to create new health knowledge, and to translate that knowledge from the research setting into real world applications. The CIHR was created by an Act of Parliament on June 7, 2000; bringing together existing government activities. In 2009-2010, CIHR's budget was just over 1 billion dollars.
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 Prime Minister and the Governing Council, who are assisted by various Standing and Advisory Committees. The current appointed president of CIHR is Dr. Alain Beaudet.
CIHR consists of 13 "virtual" institutes, 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:
research respecting health systems and services;
and the social, cultural and environmental factors that affect the health of populations.
A major challenge for 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.
CIHR supports more than 14,000 researchers and researchers in training 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 proposals approved for funding by CIHR meet international accepted standards of scientific excellence.
In 2008 CIHR also organised a series of CafÃ© Scientifique events across Canada.
CIHR is supplying funding for PubMed Central Canada in partnership with the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI).
In November 2009, controversy arose over the appointment of a senior executive of Pfizer to CIHR's governing council.