About us

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

CIHR was created in 2000 under the authority of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act. It is an independent agency and is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Health.

Learn more about exciting discoveries that emerged from CIHR's first decade as an organization - Milestones in Canadian Health Research

Our mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system.

Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to health researchers and trainees across Canada.

CIHR is part of the Health Portfolio which supports the Minister of Health in maintaining and improving the health of Canadians. For more information on the Health Portfolio, visit Health Canada.

Health Research for Canadians – One of the most important investments we can make as a nation

CIHR is using the power of research to improve the health of Canadians, solve health challenges and make our health care system more efficient and effective.

Investments

$1 billion in annual investments to provide financing for 13,000 researchers and trainees

Where does the money go?

  • 70% to support projects proposed by researchers.
    Researchers explore and test ideas to advance our understanding of the factors influencing our health. They also train the next generation of researchers, leaders and professionals.  
  • 30% to support research priorities established by CIHR.
    CIHR and its partners invest in national and international researchers to address specific health challenges (such as dementia), or to respond to national or global health crises (like SARS or Ebola).

What does CIHR invest in?

Top 10 areas of research:

  • Infection
  • Healthy pregnancy and childbirth
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Alzheimer's and related dementias
  • Mental health and behavioral conditions
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory health
  • Cancer
Charities / not-for-profit, Federal, provincial, territorial and international agencies, governments and organizations, Academic institutions, Industries, Health care and patient organizations

Collaboration

Making Canadians healthier is a collective effort. CIHR partners with over 250 organizations and governments.

Close to $200 million secured from partners for research

  • To pool resources, expertise and money.
  • To get new perspectives and set priorities.
  • To accelerate the process between scientific discovery and its application in policy, services, treatments and products.

Ideas

Research is a journey. From the idea to the real world, research takes time. A new drug or device that is safe, saves lives or reduces diseases can take 15 to 20 years to bring to market.

But how does it work?

First step: Discovery

Identify an issue to explore or a problem to solve. Conduct research, increase our understanding and discover potential solutions.

Second step: Development

Ensure that ideas work in the real world – conduct interviews, trials and tests on new products, procedures, and models of care.

Third step: Delivery

Validate what works, for whom, under what circumstances, and how best to bring successful health products to market, implement proven health care practices and promote healthy lifestyles.

Sometimes, when a crisis arises, decades of research can help accelerate progress in a priority area. Canada was able to launch the Ebola vaccine clinical trials in less than a year.

Results

Health research saves lives, time and money.

Canadians today are living longer and healthier lives than ever beforeFootnote *.

  • Life expectancy in 1900 was 50 years.
  • Life expectancy today 80 (male) or 84 (female).

Thanks to health research advances the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75% since 1952 and nearly 40% in the last decade aloneFootnote *… and this is just one of many examples of health research in action and at work.

$215 billion dollars

This is how much we spend on health care every year in CanadaFootnote *.

As we age, we depend more and more on our health care system.

Investments in health research can help reduce health care costs. 

A project in Alberta has led to faster hip and knee replacements for patients. Led by the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute and several CIHR-funded researchers, this new centralized model of care is saving both time and money:

  • Wait times decreased from 47 weeks to less than 5 weeks
  • Length of hospital stay decreased from 6 days to 4 days
  • Cost savings from nationwide implementation: approximately $228 million/year
Date modified: