Improving our competitiveness in conducting clinical trials

One of the goals of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research is to strengthen organizational, regulatory and financial support for clinical studies in Canada and enhance patient and clinician engagement in these studies. Designing, implementing and funding multi-centre clinical trials is very difficult in the current Canadian context and Canada is losing its competitive hold. To improve Canada's competitiveness in conducting clinical trials, we must overcome a number of identified barriers, such as:

  • lack of a common contract to facilitate research between researchers and industry;
  • lack of harmonized ethics processes that permit timely and expedited ethics review of multi-centre trials; and
  • lack of funding.

Innovative Clinical Trials Initiative

As part of its commitment to supporting clinical research and strengthening the environment for clinical trials in Canada, CIHR will be investing new funds in an initiative that will focus on the development and implementation of innovative methods in clinical research. The SPOR innovative Clinical Trials (iCT) Initiative will contribute to increasing Canadian competitiveness in iCT research and provide a stimulus for trialists to adopt new methodologies.

The SPOR iCT Initiative will include the following types of opportunities (additional information regarding timelines and funding can be found in each funding opportunity):

In an effort to facilitate the forging of collaborations, CIHR has launched the SPOR iCT Initiative linkage tool.

For more information, please consult the Innovative Clinical Trials Initiative page on the CIHR website.


CIHR is holding a series of webinars to provide information on the funding opportunities and answer any questions in advance of the application deadlines. For information on the dates and how to register, please see below:

Some parts of the webinar will be delivered in English and some in French; however, please note that the full presentation in English and French will be provided prior to the webinar. Questions in French and English are welcome and will be answered in the language in which it is posed.


CIHR Contact Center
Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178

Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre

The Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) was created to strengthen the environment for clinical trials in Canada, including the streamlining of processes for companies and researchers, with an aim to regaining Canada’s competitive advantage for hosting clinical trials. This will be achieved by implementing the recommendations from the 2011 Clinical Trials Summit Action Plan. It is a collaborative effort of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Innovative Medicines Canada (formerly Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)), and HealthCareCAN (formerly ACAHO). The CCTCC is housed within the Health Charities Coalition of Canada, in Ottawa.

Clinical Trials Summit

To Your Health and Prosperity - An Action Plan to Help Attract More Clinical Trials to Canada is the result of the first ever National Clinical Trials Summit that took place on September 15, 2011. The Summit was co-sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO) and Innovative Medicines Canada (formerly Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)).

At the first anniversary of the 2011 Clinical Trials Summit, ACAHO, Innovative Medicines Canada (formerly Rx&D) and CIHR released a Communique highlighting progress and achievements since the Action Plan's release. Progress was made in a number of areas, including the development of a model Clinical Trials Agreement for use by research sites and sponsors.

Clinical Trial template agreement

The Model Clinical Trial Template Agreement (mCTA) provides a standard model contract for use by clinical trial sites and sponsors in negotiating phase II and phase III clinical trial agreements. The model was provided primarily for members of ACAHO and Rx&D for pilot test purposes. For more information, please contact the CCTCC at

Streamlining Research Ethics Review for Multi-Centre Trials

Recommendation 4 under the Clinical Trials Summit Action Plan is to assess the feasibility of common ethics application and consent forms, and advance understanding of ethics accreditation. Under SPOR, CIHR established the External Advisory Committee on Streamlining Health Research Ethics Review (SHRER) to gather information on streamlining initiatives in Canada and to make recommendations for improving the process of ethics review for multi-centre patient-oriented research. The SHRER Committee’s environmental scans and proposed model elements for clinical trial forms can be accessed on the Clinical Trials Summit Portal.

Canadian Clinical Trials Asset Map

The Canadian Clinical Trials Asset Map (CCTAM) is a unique, robust, searchable web-based database designed to communicate Canada’s clinical research strengths to all stakeholders, including clinical trials sponsors. 

The purpose of the CCTAM is to:

  • showcase the tremendous assets in Canada to conduct clinical trials
  • better enable sponsors of clinical trials to identify clinical research sites and investigators
  • become a comprehensive database for all Canadian clinical research assets; the essential tool for anyone planning on conducting clinical research in Canada
  • position Canada as an attractive destination for the conduct of clinical trials in the global marketplace
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