CIHR – Message to SSHRC Health Researchers

This message is from Pierre Chartrand, CIHR:

SSHRC Health Researchers: You can find acceptance, challenge and $$$ at CIHR

As you know, with Budget 2009, the Government of Canada announced changes to eliminate overlap between different research investment agencies. As such, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) stated that it would reduce the amount of funding it provided for health research that was eligible under the mandate of CIHR. In my previous message, CIHR encouraged health researchers previously supported by SSHRC to submit funding applications to CIHR.

Six months later, we have received very few applications by researchers from the social sciences and humanities community despite the fact that the CIHR Act provides CIHR with a wide-ranging mandate which includes research on social determinants of health.

CIHR is deeply interested and invested in supporting the continued intellectual growth and increased breadth of scope of Canada’s research community. We firmly believe that that broad intellectual curiosity is critical for improving the well-being of Canadians, improving our understanding of the social determinants of wellness and disease, and increasing our capacity to provide optimal health care.

Already we have started building capacity in cross-cutting research domains that include the interface between health and society.  CIHR-funded multidisciplinary teams have shown tremendous promise in addressing key questions surrounding issues such as palliative care, cancer survivorship, obesity, neighborhood influences on health, mental health and health care delivery. These are just a few examples of a long list of research areas that require the insight and acumen of researchers from the social sciences and humanities community.

CIHR is in the process of planning important reforms to its peer review system to ensure that we are investing in the highest quality research and that applications from all four pillars of health research are reviewed with the same degree of equity. One of the objectives of these changes is to help identify and support ongoing and comprehensive research programs as opposed to applications for one-off research projects. I strongly encourage all health researchers previously supported by SSHRC to think about their work in these terms and, above all, to submit funding applications to CIHR for review.  I can ensure that these applications will be handled by top reviewers with the appropriate expertise in the field.

Pierre Chartrand, PhD
Vice-President, Research Portfolio
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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