October 2011 - III Newsletter
Message from Marc Ouellette
III Scientific Director
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is my pleasure to reach you through this Newsletter. There have been several changes and advances on a number of fronts since our last message in July 2011.
As indicated in the past, both the Institute and CIHR were evaluated on February 8th and on March 30-31 respectively as a part of CIHR's second International Review. The internal assessment of the Institute and the report of the Expert Review Team are now both available. In general, both the Institute and CIHR were evaluated favorably. The main recommendations for III were to: increase the interactions between the different research themes; develop better metrics to monitor outcomes; develop strategic priority settings; and identify effective knowledge translation (KT) performance targets.
The Institute has already discussed these issues with its Institute Advisory Board (IAB) and action will be taken to respond to the International Review comments. Already, some investigators funded through Institute strategic initiatives have been asked to complete end-of-grant reports, which should help us to monitor outcomes and assess performance targets. The III 2007-2012 quinquennial plan will be renewed in the coming year, and the review panel recommended that we narrow our focus and have a transparent priority setting mechanism. On this issue, the Institute welcomes your suggestions and will discuss them in detail at our next Board meeting. A subcommittee comprised of Institute staff and board members is currently working on the planning process for the next quinquennial plan.
The IAB is essential to the mission of the Institute. The III benefits from the expertise of the III-IAB and the CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee (CHARAC). Each board meets three times a year. The III-IAB met in Sherbrooke, QC, September 27-28, 2011 and CHARAC had a meeting in St. John's, NL, November 8. At the III-IAB, we discussed the next Institute Strategic Initiative on emerging threats, the International Review and the process for developing the new strategic plan. At the CHARAC meeting, we discussed future initiatives such as the "Eradication of HIV", and had progress reports on the Centres for Population Health and Health Services Research Development HIV-AIDS, and discussed the renewal process for the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network.
New Investigator Forum
On October 14-16, III held the 4th Institute of Infection and Immunity New Investigator Forum, at Manoir du Lac Delage just outside of Québec City. More than 75 researchers in the first five years of their initial academic appointment, and within the four research themes attended this meeting.
75 new investigators participated in the 4th New Investigator Forum held October 14-16, 2011 at Le Manoir du lac Delage, Qc
This meeting provided researchers with a chance to network (through two poster sessions) and gave them the opportunity to participate in workshops designed to aid in their career development, research management, grant writing and peer review, research funding and graduate supervision. Dr. Ian Graham gave a plenary talk on Knowledge Translation, Dr. Martin Schmeing delivered the Bhagirath Singh Early Career Award address and Dr. André Veillette gave an overview of the last 25 years of his research career in the field of immune regulation. The feedback the Institute received about the meeting itself, the setting, the logistics and the organization were exceptional. Many individuals need to be congratulated for this success. This includes the Chair, Dr. Brian Coombes; the Vice-chair, Dr. Sheela Ramanathan; the steering committee members, Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Dr. Julie Bettinger, Dr. David J. Brennan, Dr. Rodney Russell and Dr. Jude Uzonna; the IAB representatives Dr. Jana Stankova and Dr. Gillian Wu; and the III staff. A special thank you goes out to Dr. Serge Desnoyers, III Assistant-Director in Québec, and to Mireille Perrault, who worked relentlessly to make this event a success.
Other opportunities potentially leading to funding opportunities
CIHR has made the launch and success of the Roadmap Signature Initiatives (RSI) a high priority. III is co-lead with the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) of the RSI on Inflammation in Chronic Diseases Initiative (ICDI). Other CIHR Institutes have committed themselves to this Inflammation Initiative which has been presented at several forums. A report of the consensus conference held on May 17-18, and several additional meetings are planned during this fall with potential partners, in advance of the launch of this RSI.
On the vaccine front, the Institute is part of the organizing committee of the 10th Canadian Immunization Conference that will be held in Vancouver in 2012. Discussions are also underway to determine how we can build on the scientific mission that the Government of Canada (NRC, CIHR) carried out in China last March, and it is possible that a joint follow up meeting will take place during the Spring of 2012 in Québec City. Hopefully, more details will be available in time for the next Newsletter.
With respect to the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), the Large Team Grants in Vaccine Discovery and Social Research were reviewed in September 2011 with a decision announcement to be made on World AIDS on December 1, 2011. These grants are intended to create teams of Canadian and LMIC researchers and support them in their efforts to contribute important knowledge to the global search for HIV vaccines. The new CHVI Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) will also be announced on December 1, 2011. The ACO is responsible for the establishment of a new CHVI Research and Development Alliance comprised of a network of public and private sector organizations and researchers with expertise in HIV/AIDS and vaccines. This Alliance will serve as the focal point for Canadian research related to HIV vaccines.
III Cochrane Corner
CIHR, including III, is a funder of the Canadian Cochrane Center (CCC), one of the 14 independent Cochrane Centres worldwide which offer high quality, up-to-date systematic reviews of the effects of health care interventions. A list of some of these reviews on infection and immunity subjects can be consulted on the III website. Moreover, the Cochrane Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Functional Bowel Disorders Review Group of the CCC has a new website offering targeted systematic reviews on these specific diseases.
Your opinions are important and part of my role as Scientific Director is to bring them to the CIHR Science Council. Please do not hesitate to contact myself or other III team members if you need help or further information.
I wish you success in your research endeavors.
III Funding opportunities
The Bhagirath Singh Early Career Award in Infection and Immunity
Application is not needed.
Application deadline : December 15, 2011
III Transplantation Initiative
This funding opportunity will be launch in January 2012. Please consult the CIHR or III web pages for more details on how to apply.
Meetings, Planning and Dissemination Grant Program
The next launch for Planning Grants, Dissemination Events, and Knowledge Translation Supplement will be announced later in November 2011. If you are planning an eligible event that will occur no later than June 2012, you must apply to this competition. Please consult the Funding Opportunities web page for more details on how to apply.
The Open Competition Funding Opportunity and its Priority Announcements will be posted in December 2011.
Meetings of interest
The Canadian Society of Transplantation, February 23-25, 2012, Château Frontenac, Quebec City, QC
The Canadian Society for Immunology, June 15-18, 2012, St. John's, NL
The Canadian Society of Microbiologists, June 20-23, 2012, Vancouver, BC
Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada, May 3-5, 2012, Vancouver, BC
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