Canada Names Heads of New Health Institutes

OTTAWA--Canada's newly minted Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will be led by 13 directors with glittering academic credentials, CIHR president Alan Bernstein announced yesterday. The directors will oversee virtual institutes that fund and coordinate research in 13 target areas.

The CIHR is Canada's major federal funding agency for health research (Science, 8 September, p. 1675). Open for business since June as the successor to the Medical Research Council, the $330 million agency will focus on fostering brilliant ideas rather than maintaining lush grounds and shiny new buildings. Toward that goal, each director will receive $670,000 for administrative and electronic costs (such as salaries and Web sites) to establish a virtual institute at his or her home university and to develop a strategic plan.

On 1 April, each newly named director will get $2 million for targeted research initiatives emerging from those strategic plans, drawn up in consultation with institute advisory boards and the larger scientific community. That pot will grow to an annual $3.5 million.

The University of Toronto is home to four of the 13 directors, while McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, each captured two spots. The scientific directors will remain on their home campuses and will be linked electronically to both CIHR headquarters in Ottawa and the labs they are funding.

By institute, the newly appointed scientific directors (and university affiliation) are:

  • Aboriginal Peoples' Health Jeff Reading (Toronto)
  • Cancer Philip Branton (McGill)
  • Circulatory and Respiratory Health Bruce McManus (British Columbia)
  • Genetics Roderick McInnes (Toronto)
  • Gender and Health Miriam Stewart (University of Alberta)
  • Healthy Aging Réjean Hébert (University of Sherbrooke)
  • Health Services and Policy Research Morris Barer (British Columbia)
  • Human Development, Child and Youth Health John Challis (Toronto)
  • Infection and Immunity Bhagirath Singh (University of Western Ontario)
  • Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis Cyril Frank (University of Calgary)
  • Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes Diane Finegood (Simon Fraser University)
  • Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction Rémi Quirion (Douglas Hospital of McGill)
  • Population and Public Health John Frank (Toronto)