CIHR criticized for reforms to grant processes, funding allocation

June 17, 2015

While the federal budget increased funding for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), critics say the new money comes with too many strings attached. In addition, some argue that individual research grants have not kept up with inflation. Streamlining of CIHR’s processes to reduce the burden on researchers and peer reviewers is also leading to concerns that the new structure provides insufficient support for new researchers, especially those from abroad. “I have yet to meet anybody who is not worried,” said Jim Woodgett of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. The decision to halve the budgets of the 13 institutes, moving the remainder of the money into a common pot, has also come under fire for its possible impact on Aboriginal health. CIHR President Alain Beaudet disputed the charges that the new funding is narrowly targeted, and said that new reforms will allow researchers to spend less time applying for grants and more time on research. The Lancet