Message from the President: Strategic Planning Update

Dr. Michael Strong
President, CIHR

September 26, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may know, CIHR has been busy these past many months developing a new strategic plan, and I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on our progress to date.

This new strategic plan will guide our operations and investments from 2020 to 2025 – but it will not stop there. My goal is to use this plan to lay the foundation for a shared vision for what the health of Canadians could look like in the next 30 years.

The Process

As you can imagine, developing a strategic plan is no mean feat. And it is not something we should do in isolation. That is why, as part of the development of our new strategic plan, CIHR undertook the most comprehensive engagement process in the history of the organization. There have been multiple inputs to the process:

  • We conducted a robust environmental scan of provincial health and territorial health priorities;
  • We opened an online engagement portal to hear directly from the community;
  • We conducted a national survey of Canadians’ health research priorities;
  • We held roundtables and meetings with national and international stakeholders;
  • We engaged with Indigenous communities through the CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health; and
  • We held targeted meetings with CIHR staff, CIHR’s Institute Advisory Boards, the CIHR University Delegates Network, and CIHR’s College of Reviewers.

I thank all of those who have generously volunteered their time to provide their ideas and feedback to CIHR.

The Consensus-Building Workshop

On September 10 and 11, 2019, CIHR held a consensus-building workshop with approximately 150 representatives of the health research community, provincial and territorial health research funders, health charities, Indigenous communities, and the general public.

This workshop was another key input in the process of developing the new strategic plan. At the workshop, participants deliberated, refined, and grappled with the ideas that had emerged through our engagements to date. They were aided in their work by a report that summarized the input CIHR had received from the community during Phase I (April to June 2019) of the strategic planning process.

It is a great credit to this group that, from a sea of divergent and sometimes conflicting ideas, they were able to refine and elevate a series of fundamental ideas for strengthening CIHR and the health research ecosystem as a whole. This group has my utmost gratitude.

Next Steps

So, where do we go from here? CIHR is currently analyzing the feedback received at the workshop. From there, we will develop a draft list of potential priorities, which we will bring back to the community for validation at a Health Research Summit on December 13, 2019. It is only then, once we have further discussed our future directions with the research community, that we will put pen to paper and begin to write the next CIHR strategic plan. We are on track to publish the new strategic plan in June 2020, just in time for CIHR’s 20th anniversary.

I would like to thank all those who have been involved – and will continue to be involved – in this group effort, including the members of our Citizen Advisory Committee and Funding Partners Advisory Committee.

I have no doubt that, with your input and guidance, we will be able to develop a new strategic plan around which we can all rally.

Thank you, and best wishes.

Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCP, FCAHS, FAAN
President, CIHR

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