End-of-year message from the Scientific Director

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a busy six months since III transitioned to McMaster University, Hamilton on July 1st, 2018. We were very fortunate to be able to hire highly qualified and professional staff members within the first three months. They have come together as an outstanding and highly functional team. Thanks to their efforts, the transition has been relatively smooth, deadlines related to all the files were met, and we successfully participated in a series of national and international consultation and engagement activities -- without missing a beat.

Funding announcements and calls have been keeping our hands full since July. III funding results were announced for Human Immunology Research Core, Research Network on Lyme Disease, JPIAMR Virtual Research Institute Foundation Building call, Health System Impact Fellowships and Priority Announcements attached to the Project Grant competition. We are also busy managing ongoing strategic competitions (Human Immunology Teams, Microbiome Research Teams, Sepsis, Global Governance for Research on Infectious Diseases, and others), while also preparing new ones. My congratulations to the successful teams and individuals and good luck to all who are applying for the upcoming competitions. You will be hearing more details about strengthening workshops over the next few months. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to CIHR through the contact centre if you have any questions regarding competitions/applications. I can assure you that every inquiry is taken seriously and addressed to the best of our ability.

Some of the outreach activities that III staff from McMaster and our Ottawa support team participated in during the last six months include the International AIDS Society (IAS) meeting in Amsterdam, the HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) meeting in Madrid, the Canadian Transplant Summit and Canadian Immunization Conference in Ottawa. The Institute is also involved in a number of consultation activities involving Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), HIV and Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Diseases (STBBI), Transplant and Flu Vaccine. Emerging threats and pandemic preparedness are also key activities for III. We were very proud that III, in partnership with the CIHR-Institute of Population and Public Health, led the effort at CIHR to release emergency funding following the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in May. The $500K CIHR funds were matched by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), leading to the launch and funding of four grants focused on social science aspects of managing the Ebola outbreak. This rapid response was initiated and funded in less than six months.

In November, III hosted a joint meeting for the CIHR HIV AIDS Research Advisory Committee (CHARAC) and the III Institute Advisory Board (IAB) at McMaster University. We welcomed almost 30 experts in areas covering III’s mandate and had very productive discussions over three days. Members provided great feedback on III’s current strategic initiatives and recommendations on potential priorities moving forward. There was unanimous support for bringing back the New Investigators Funding initiative and we are exploring ways of launching this as soon as possible.

As CIHR works over the next year to outline its strategic plan under the new leadership, we at III will be working on our own strategic plan in consultation with the IAB and our stakeholders. Our goal is to have a 5-year strategic plan that aligns with the overall goals and objectives of CIHR by mid-2020. We are also preparing to launch our new communication strategy, a recommendation from the external review and a top priority for us. You can expect to see updated and expanded website and digital media outreach efforts following a survey which will invite your feedback and suggestions.

As always, III staff and I welcome feedback and comments from all of you, so we can work to improve how we work for and with you. Warm wishes to all of you for a very happy and joyous holiday season.

Charu Kaushic & III Team

Date modified: