Annual Report 2006-2007

[ Table of Contents ]

Message from the President

There is a revolution taking place in health research. Emerging areas of science are offering exciting new opportunities for improving health. In the coming decades, key drivers are going to transform our approach to human health and health care delivery.

Biology, today the most exciting and fast moving of all the sciences, is the first of these drivers. Insights from biology today are leading to the new diagnostics, new therapies and a new era of individualized medicines tomorrow.

Information and communication technologies are changing how we analyze individuals, populations and health systems. These technologies have the power to link our homes, our bodies, our electronic health records, our clinics and our hospitals.

Regenerative medicine is the third driver, leading to changes in how we repair or replace defective or worn-out body parts.

Together, these three factors are driving this revolution in health research.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was created within the context of this rapidly changing landscape. Today, we stand poised to help Canada take its place at the forefront of global productivity and achieve health and prosperity for our nation.

We are doing this in several ways:

We are ensuring excellence in research by only funding the very best grant applications, as determined by peer review.

We are supporting the development of what the Government of Canada has called, in Advantage Canada, the best-educated, most-skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Since 2000, CIHR has doubled the number of graduate students we support, investing more than $100 million in their career development.

We are targeting our investments to areas where Canada has the potential to be a world leader, such as clinical research, human genetics and health-services research and to areas of government and Canadian priority, such as obesity and autism.

We are leveraging investment on large-scale national scientific and commercialization projects. In 2006-07, CIHR partners contributed nearly $90 million to health research. Industry-partnered programs leverage public sector funding at a rate of 2:1 or more.

We are enhancing the commercialization of Canadian discoveries by facilitating linkages between universities and the private sector.

Canada is receiving worldwide recognition for CIHR's outcomes-driven, inclusive and strategic approach. A prestigious International Review Panel applauded CIHR for what it has accomplished to date, noting that we are setting an example for the world. And in the United Kingdom, the Cooksey Review, which dealt with support for health research in the UK, singled out CIHR and Canada as a model to follow.

In all of this, we never lose sight of the ultimate goal of health research: to improve the health of Canadians and of people around the world - people like those you will read about in this report.

We know that investing in research, particularly health research, is one of the wisest, most efficient and most prudent investments any society can make. Seeing the impact that health research has on individuals reaffirms for all of us the importance of the work that CIHR does.

Our success is due, in no small measure, to the dedicated and talented staff of CIHR, as well as to the contributions of our Governing Council, our 13 Scientific Directors and Institute Advisory Boards, our volunteers on peer review committees, and hundreds of partners from the public and private sectors. And, of course, our work would not be possible without the continuing support of Parliamentarians. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their contributions and support, past, present and future.

Dr. Alan Bernstein, O.C., FRSC
President
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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