Message from the President: Decision to sunset the Foundation Grant program

June 20, 2019

Dear colleagues,

I would like to acknowledge that I, along with CIHR's senior management and members of the Governing Council, received a collective letter on June 18th from Dr. B. Blencowe (and signatories) regarding our decision to sunset the Foundation Grant program.

I thank those individuals who signed the submission for taking the time to discuss their concerns and send us their suggestions for a new Foundation-type program.  It is now clear that several individuals whose names were included as signatories were not aware of their signatures being applied to this documentFootnote 1. Amongst scientists who value the absolute integrity of data, it is an unfortunate turn of events.

Regardless, we do appreciate that the authors recognized that the decision to sunset the Foundation Program was not taken lightly and that any new program would at minimum need to ensure that the problems inherent in the program could not recur.  Indeed, this is an overarching concern as we review all of our existing programs and look to the implementation of new programs.  Recognizing that the decision to sunset the Foundation Grant Program will not be reversed, I would strongly encourage those who did sign to engage with the current strategic planning process where we are genuinely seeking input and advice.

At this early stage of the strategic planning process, we have had over 4,500 individuals visit the website, with over 825 register and complete a variety of the modules.  The site will remain open until June 28th and I invite everyone in the research community, including those individuals who signed this letter, to use this vehicle to share their views, program and policy recommendations, and relevant data or literature.  All of this will help to shape the strategic plan, including addressing critical issues of supporting health researchers throughout their career.

Yours very sincerely,

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

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