Institutes Advisory Boards – Terms of Reference


Sections 20 and 22 of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act
CIHR By-Law Article 3, section 3.07 (e), (f), and (g)


In alignment with the strategic directions and research priorities of CIHR’s 2014/15 – 2018/19 Roadmap strategic plan, five Institutes Advisory Boards (IABs) will serve all 13 Institutes by providing advice to each individual Institute as well as all Institutes collectively in the pursuit of research excellence and creativity:

  • The IAB on Research Excellence, Policy and Ethics will provide advice on promoting excellence, creativity and breadth in health research and knowledge translation through CIHR’s entire portfolio of investments.
  • The IAB on Health Innovation will provide advice on accelerating the discovery, development, evaluation and integration of health innovations into practice so that patients can receive the right interventions at the right time.
  • The IAB on Indigenous Peoples’ Health will provide advice on supporting the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples through shared research leadership throughout CIHR and on building the strategic alliances to transcend traditional boundaries and establish culturally sensitive policies and interventions.
  • The IAB on Health Promotion and Prevention will provide advice on accelerating the discovery, development, evaluation and integration of health approaches to address the causes of ill health, and support physical and mental wellness at the individual, population and system levels.
  • The IAB on Chronic Conditions will provide advice on accelerating the discovery, development, evaluation and integration of solutions that enable Canadians living with chronic conditions to continue to participate actively in society.


Each IAB consists of 10 to 15 members, including the Chair and a Vice-Chair, who are appointed by the Governing Council.

Full spectrum of CIHR stakeholders, including researchers reflective of the highest standards of excellence across the four CIHR research themes, will be appointed to ensure capacity to provide independent, expert and relevant advice to CIHR and diversity of views/perspectives.

Members on the IAB serve in their individual capacity.

The Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and all Scientific Directors are ex officio members of all five IABs.

Membership Term

Members of the IABs will be invited to serve for a two-, three- or four-year term and Chairs for a three‑year term. Renewal for a second term of up to three years for Chairs and members will be contingent on Governing Council’s review of the IAB model and on the IAB membership requirements as identified by the Nominating and Governance Committee. Under extenuating circumstances, a member’s term may be extended for an additional year.


Each IAB will meet in person with several Scientific Directors two to three times per year.

  • Each Scientific Director will host and organize one of these meetings, working closely with the Chair to set the agenda and invite Scientific Director participation.
  • Scientific Directors will meet at least once with each IAB in a 24 month timeframe.

Virtual meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chair.

Scientific Directors may seek ad hoc advice from IAB member(s) for their Institute as needed.


The IABs act in an advisory capacity to the Institutes with Science Council acting as an “integration board” in support of a cohesive science strategy.

To accomplish their mandates the IABs will, within their respective priority area:

  • Provide strategic advice on approaches and directions for each Institute individually and CIHR collectively to achieve the long-term objectives set out in CIHR’s strategic plan.
  • Provide advice on major trends that are likely to have an impact on a specific Institute or CIHR at large.
  • Report annually to the President of CIHR, in his capacity of Chair of Science Council, on progress made by individual Institutes and CIHR collectively on matters relevant to the IAB priority area.


IABs provide advice and, upon request, specific recommendations to Scientific Directors and Institutes on matters relevant to their particular domain.


Service as an IAB member is voluntary. IAB members will be reimbursed at Government of Canada rates for expenses incurred to attend meetings but will not receive honoraria or other financial compensation.

Conflict of Interest

As members of a CIHR advisory body, all IAB members are required to abide by the CIHR Conflict of Interest Policy and to submit a Conflict of Interest declaration when first appointed and annually thereafter for the duration of their membership term.

Roles and Responsibilities of Individual IAB Members

Each IAB member serves in their individual capacity and will be expected to:

  • Attend IAB meetings on a regular basis and prepare in advance of any meeting;
  • Contribute to the IAB’s perspective and wisdom by sharing knowledge and experience while considering the knowledge and comments shared by others;
  • Contribute to the preparation of IAB reports; and
  • Treat IAB and CIHR matters with appropriate confidentiality.


In addition to meeting the above expectations, the Chair of the IAB is responsible for:

  • Working with Scientific Directors to develop meeting agendas for the IAB meetings;
  • Chairing the meeting;
  • Working with the other members of the IAB to prepare a written report of each meeting and defining action items arising from the meeting;
  • Preparing an annual report to the President on progress.


These terms of reference are expected to evolve with CIHR’s future strategic directions and will be considered fully at least one year before the expiry of the current strategic plan. Membership shall be reviewed by the Governing Council.


Secretariat support will be provided by the Governance Secretariat.

Terms of Reference

Approved by the Governing Council on November 17, 2015

Revised on April 5, 2016

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