CIHR Grants and Awards Expenditures

As the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency, CIHR supports promising researchers and projects through a variety of mechanisms. With an overall budget of more than $1 billion each year, CIHR invests nearly 95% of its funding directly in health research activities (with the remaining 5% allocated to operating expenditures).

The figures below describe how CIHR’s grants and awards (G&A) expenditures were disbursed in 2017-18. Although the information outlines expenditures for one closed fiscal year, the concepts represent historical trends and foreseen future allocation.

For additional information, CIHR in Numbers: 2017-18 also provides further details on the breakdown of CIHR’s investments.

CIHR Grants and Awards Expenditures: Fiscal Year 2017-18Footnote 1

In 2017-18, CIHR invested $1,035.4M in G&A. The G&A expenditures are divided into two main categories to reflect CIHR’s financial management investment flexibility in its programs: discretionary funding and non-discretionary funding.

Figure 1: Budget Overview

Figure 1 long description
Discretionary $708,700,000
Investigator-initiated
Project and Foundation Grants
$551,200,000
Priority-Driven
Institute-led initiatives
$128,100,000
Training and Career Support $24,900,000
Non-discretionary $326,700,000
Tri-Agency Program
Separately-listed grants
$210,800,000
Government of Canada Priorities
Ring-fenced
$115,900,000

Discretionary Funding

The discretionary funding category represents the portion of funding over which CIHR has financial management and investment flexibility.

The discretionary funding category supports a variety of programs, including investigator-initiated research programs, training and career support programs, and research in priority areas.

For 2017-18, the discretionary funding category represented about 69% of the total G&A expenditures, or approximately $708.7M.

Of this $708.7M, CIHR invested $551.2M (or 78%) in investigator-initiated research programsFootnote 2, $128.1M (or 18%) in research in priority areas, and $29.4M (or 4%) in training and career support.

Figure 2: Discretionary Funding Investments

Figure 2 long description
Discretionary $708,700,000
Investigator-initiated
Project and Foundation Grants
$551,200,000
Priority-Driven
Institute-led initiatives
$128,100,000
Training and Career Support $24,900,000

CIHR has the authority to determine which programs to support within the discretionary funding category. However, CIHR cannot change the proportion of its overall G&A budget assigned to this category, as the proportion assigned to non-discretionary funding is essentially fixed (see Fig. 3: Non-Discretionary Funding).

Non-discretionary Funding

The non-discretionary funding category of CIHR’s G&A budget can be further divided into Government of Canada Priorities (also known as Ring-Fenced Funds) and a funding envelope for Tri-Agency Programs (also known as Separately Listed Grants). CIHR’s investments through the non-discretionary funding portion of its G&A budget are prescribed by the Government of Canada. As a result, CIHR has very limited authority to use the funding for any purpose other than the one(s) prescribed.

Figure 3: Non-discretionary Funding Investments

Figure 3 long description
Non-discretionary $326,700,000
Tri-Agency Program
Separately-listed grants
$210,800,000
Government of Canada Priorities
Ring-fenced
$115,900,000

The Government of Canada Priorities funding envelope (nearly 36% of non-discretionary funding, and approximately 11% of the total CIHR G&A budget) supports strategic initiatives that have been announced in Federal Budgets, including long-standing initiatives, such as the HIV/AIDS Research Initiative, as well as newer initiatives, such as Antimicrobial Resistance and the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.

As the name suggests, the Tri-Agency Programs funding envelope (approximately 64% of non-discretionary funding, and approximately 20% of the total CIHR G&A budget) supports tri-agency programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, and Canada First Research Excellence Fund – among many others. These programs are designed to support all areas of research through collaborations between the tri-agencies—the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and CIHR—with each agency administering the funding for projects relevant to their specific mandate. For example, funding for a Canada Research Chair awarded to a researcher working in an area of health research would be managed and disbursed by CIHR.

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