CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research - 2008

Table of Contents

Purpose and Description of the Competition
Eligibility Criteria
How to Apply
Selection Process
Contact Information
Partner/Collaborator Description

Purpose and Description of the Competition

The aim of this competition is to acknowledge Canadian health research achievements that have had a significant impact on health, health care, and health research by improving our understanding of health and human diseases, tackling health challenges, and improving our health system.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) invite individuals or teams of health researchers, health professionals and others to submit significant achievements made in any area of health research. Achievements will be selected from the following four categories: (i) biomedical; (ii) clinical; (iii) health services; and (iv) population and public health.

The Top Health Research Achievements as selected by a review committee will be considered for publication in the CMAJ. The individuals and teams responsible for leading this work may also be highlighted on the CIHR web site and in other communications materials.


Opportunity Launched October 30, 2008
Content Last Updated October 30 2008 (Competition Posted)
December 31, 2008 Full applications must be courier stamped by this date.
February 2009 Review of applications
March 2009 Anticipated notification of decision

Eligibility Criteria

CIHR welcomes applications from individuals or teams working in Canada in the health field, including: health researchers; health professionals; policy makers, administrators and those involved in public health or public policy. Applications will also be accepted from Canadians working abroad.

Applications are eligible in one of the following categories:

Biomedical Research

Research with the goal of understanding normal and abnormal human functioning, at the molecular, cellular, organ system and whole body levels, including development of tools and techniques to be applied for this purpose; developing new therapies or devices that improve health or the quality of life of individuals, up to the point where they are tested on human subjects. Biomedical research may also include studies on human subjects that do not have a diagnostic or therapeutic orientation.

Clinical Research

Research with the goal of improving the diagnosis, and treatment (including rehabilitation and palliation), of disease and injury; improving the health and quality of life of individuals as they pass through normal life stages. Clinical research typically encompasses research on, or for the treatment of, patients.

Health Services Research

Health services research includes research with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health professionals and the health care system, through changes to practice and policy. Health services research is a multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviours affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and, ultimately, Canadians' health and well-being.

Population and Public Health Research

Population and public health research is comprised of research with the goal of improving the health of the Canadian population, or of defined sub-populations, through a better understanding of the ways in which social, cultural, environmental, occupational and economic factors determine health status.

A significant achievement in health research may include the following:

  • significant advancement in the knowledge within a particular health or health research field that has promoted new advancements in the field;
  • significant contribution that has addressed the needs of the general (or a vulnerable) health population;
  • development of a medical device or tool that has greatly enhanced diagnosis, patient care, recovery, or treatment;
  • research or work that resulted in changes and improvements in the health of Canadians and/or health services/products and/or the health care system (policy or practice) nationally and/or internationally; and
  • research methodologies that have advanced research in Canada and internationally, including developments in clinical epidemiology such as advances in clinical trials, systematic review methodologies, or in basic science research methods.

The CMAJ and CIHR recognize that the full impact of an achievement takes time. In many cases, full impact or appreciation may not be realized for several years. As such, this competition will acknowledge research that has achieved impact within five years of the current competition year.

How to Apply

Note: This competition does not require the use of CIHR Web Forms.

Applications will be accepted from individuals or teams who were directly involved in the achievement. CIHR will also accept applications from individuals with direct knowledge of the achievement, who may wish to nominate individuals or teams for this award.

Applications must include the following items:

  1. A completed application form [ PDF (40 KB) | PDF fillable (248 KB) | Help ]. This form is to be completed by the applicant and should state whether this is an individual or team application. Applicants must specify whether they are applying to the biomedical; clinical; health services; or population and public health streams.
  2. An original essay describing the achievement and the impact on the field. The essay should be approximately 1200 to 1500 words and written in a language for an international audience of health related stakeholders. Essays may be submitted in the official language of choice.
    The essay must include the following sections:
    1. Description of the achievement. You should first begin with what is known about the particular area of health or health research. You should also explain the importance of the area of focus to improving health. You may also wish to clearly delineate how this particular achievement is set apart from the work of others in the field. Please be sure to clearly explain who contributed to the work and when the achievement occurred. (Approximately 400 words)
    2. Description of the impact of the achievement. How did this achievement advance understanding of health, disease process or fundamental understanding of the area? How has it had an impact on health outcomes and quality of life? How has it had an impact on care of patients, such as new diagnosis or improved health care delivery? Has it resulted in new practices, including clinical, tool, or procedure? Has it resulted in new medications or therapies of proven benefit? How has it had an impact on health policy? Has it had a social or economic impact? Has it resulted in new avenues of research? If so, what areas has it resulted in? If this is a new achievement, what is the potential impact? How have you determined the impact of the achievement? (Approximately 800 words)
      The CMAJ has provided specific guidance for assisting applicants in writing the essay which you can view on the CMAJ web site. It is strongly recommended that you follow these instructions.
  3. Two letters of recommendation: Letters of support should be from prominent individuals or organizations that have a sound understanding of the achievement and its resulting impact.
  4. Short biography of applicant(s) (maximum half page per biography). No more than six team member biographies should be included. Please do not include any personal contact information in the biographies. Biographies should address the following information:
    1. Current institution
    2. Training history
    3. Honours or awards relevant to the achievement
    4. Key publications (no more than three citations)
    5. Funding sources that supported the achievement

Submit nominations, courier stamped by December 31st, 2008 to:

Canadian Health Research Achievements (2008)
Kimberley Mageau
Branch Administrative Officer
Knowledge Synthesis and Exchange Branch
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Knowledge Translation Branch
Room 97, 160 Elgin Street
Address locator: 4809A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0W9

Important Note:

Essays should not have been previously published.

Entries submitted by those selected as the top health research achievements will be considered for publication in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Authors are expected to maintain confidentiality about decisions until there has been a formal public announcement of award winners and/or publication in the CMAJ. The author(s) of accepted articles must assign copyright in the article to the Canadian Medical Association.

Those selected as top achievements may also be highlighted on the CIHR web site or in CIHR promotional materials and publications. Applicants understand that their application material may be used for these purposes with proper attribution.

CIHR will keep applications on file for two years following the initial application year for consideration in subsequent competitions. Applicants will not be required to reapply during this period.

The evaluation of the achievement(s) will depend heavily on the quality of information submitted. Therefore, applications should be accurate, detailed, complete, and with supporting letters highlighting the achievement(s) and its corresponding impact.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.

Selection Process

Applications will undergo an initial assessment by staff from CIHR and the CMAJ to ensure that only eligible and complete applications proceed to the peer-review stage of this competition.

The Review Panel is comprised of eminent health researchers, health professionals, and other health research stakeholders and is responsible for reviewing the applications and identifying the top Canadian health research achievements. For information on CIHR's peer review process in general, see the Peer Review section of CIHR's website.

The following criteria serve as the basis for qualifying and selecting the Top Canadian health research achievements:

  • Eligibility criteria as described above;
  • Relevance to health and health research;
  • Extent to which the achievement has significantly improved the health of Canadians (and others) and/or provided more effective products and health services;
  • Evidence of impact of the achievement within the field (e.g. important advancement in knowledge or a major improvement in patient benefit, diagnosis or an improved function that enhances healthcare delivery);
  • Uptake into policy and/or decision making;
  • Recognition of landmark studies, breakthroughs, public awareness; and
  • Strength of the applicant's letters of support.

Applications will be assessed and ranked by the Review Panel using the evaluation criteria listed above. Health research achievements will be ranked according to the CIHR rating system (numeric point system).

Contact Information

For questions about this initiative contact:

Geoff Hynes M.Sc.
Senior Advisor
Knowledge Synthesis and Exchange Branch
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Telephone: 613-952-8965
Fax: 613-954-1800

Partner/Collaborator Description

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
CIHR is Canada's major federal funding agency for health research. Its objective is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system.

CMAJ - medical knowledge that matters
CMAJ showcases innovative research and ideas aimed at improving health for people in Canada and globally. It publishes original clinical research, analyses and reviews, news, practice updates and editorials., a full-text, free open-access website, allows everyone to use the latest health information. CMAJ has an impact factor of 7.1 and its website receives over 25 million requests a year.

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