Focus Area 1: Representation on CIHR’s Boards and Committees
Some of CIHR's governance committees already have the inclusion of citizen representatives as a core component of their composition. For example, the Stem Cell Oversight Committee specifies in its terms of reference that "representatives from the general public will represent the views and values of Canadians potentially affected by the new technologies." Members of such governance committees reflect a wide range of expertise; a few committees also include patients and voluntary sector representatives in addition to those Canadians with an interest in health research.
A foundation for Citizen Engagement has also been established through membership roles on CIHR's Institute Advisory Boards (IABs). These boards are made up of 16 individuals reflecting diverse backgrounds and demographic criteria (gender, language, stage of career, geographic and institutional representation). On average, each board includes two citizens whose experience spans the voluntary, patient, or non-government organization community sectors. All the members of the IABs act in an advisory capacity to the Scientific Directors of the Institutes with respect to the full range of Institute activities. These activities include deliberation and evaluation on Institute health research priorities, strategies, and implementation plans for engaging the broader research communities. (Individuals interested in serving on IABs can self-nominate and fill out an online application.
As part of the implementation of the Framework for Citizen Engagement, CIHR will strive to increase the inclusion of citizens in governance roles in its existing structures. For an example of how this inclusion can work, see the CIHR Community Reviewers Program case study.