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Description found in Archives

Canadian Institutes of Health Research fonds [multiple media] 



Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

ca. 600 m of textual records.
3 cassettes of textual records : 4 mm.
1418 photographs : 481 b&w and 565 col; 343 b&w negatives; 27 b&w and 2 col. contact sheets.
138 audiocassettes.
36 videocassettes (210h 39mn) : 1/2" VHS
47 postal stationary items.
1 map : 106.5 cm x 65 cm.
5 pins.
3 medallions.
1 CD of textual records.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created or maintained by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that not all unprocessed records are reflected in this description. Records in the CIHR fonds are arranged into six series according to how the records were maintained and by whom. The majority of textual records are in the Central registry files and database series. Records in this series were maintained centrally by the NRC, the MRC and CIHR in grants and awards registry systems, central registry systems, or electronic database systems. These records document many of the activities of CIHR and its precursors, including but not limited to: grant and award programs, special projects, research surveys, co-operation and liaison, committees and meetings, and partnership programs. The series contains processed and unprocessed textual records dating from 1960 through the 2000s. Records in the series Office of the President of the Medical Research Council of Canada include textual, cartographic, philatelic, graphic, and other material maintained by president Dr. G. Malcom Brown and executive assistant Dorothy Wright; the material dates from 1929 to 1978. A miscellaneous executive-level series contains audio-visual records from the planning and dissemination of the Medical Research Council's Strategic Plan, 1991 to 1995. The final three series in the CIHR fonds consist of record groups maintained outside formalized central file registry systems. Early records (ca. 1933-1983) pertaining to the federal funding of medical research in Canada are included in the series Records of the Associate Committee on Medical Research and the Division of Medical Research, National Research Council of Canada. Early MRC Council and Executive Committee records from 1968-1981 form another series. A final series groups miscellaneous records maintained by the Medical Research Council for commemorative or historical purposes. In addition to a range of graphic material, that series contains a history of the researches leading to the Discovery of Insulin from 1922.

Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
Graphic (photo)
96: Restrictions vary
Moving images (video)
90: Open
Sound recordings
90: Open
Cartographic material
32: Restricted by law
Access restrictions may vary. Please con
sult the Access list.
32: Restricted by law
Access restrictions may vary. Please con
sult the Access list.
Philatelic records
32: Restricted by law
Access restrictions may vary. Please con
sult the Access list.
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Terms of use vary.

Biography / Administrative history

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) traces its roots back to the first concrete steps taken by the federal government to provide financial support for medical researchers. In 1936 the President of the National Research Council (NRC), General A.G.L. McNaughton, joined with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to establish an Associate Committee on Medical Research within the NRC. Chaired by Sir Frederick Banting, membership of the Committee was composed almost exclusively of representatives of medical school faculties, and much of its first budget was distributed for research grants.

On 1 June 1946, the National Research Council replaced the Associate Committee on Medical Research with the Division of Medical Research under the leadership of Dr. John B. Collip and Dr. Harold B. Ettinger. Following lobbying by the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges in 1957, and a recommendation in February 1958 from the Committee of the Privy Council on Scientific and Industrial Research to create a special committee on medical research, the government established the Medical Research Council (MRC) as an autonomous subsidiary of the NRC, effective 4 July 1960. With royal assent of the Medical Research Council Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. M-4), the MRC became an autonomous departmental corporation, reporting to Parliament through the Minister of National Health and Welfare and later the Minister of Health.

The MRC promoted and supported health sciences research in Canada. It was the federal government's major medical research funding source, providing a series of grants and awards to researchers located in universities (primarily faculties of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy), health care institutions (such as teaching hospitals) and research institutes. In addition to funding medical research, the MRC acted as advisors to the Minister of Health with respect to all health science/biomedical research issues and provided liaison between the federal government and the private sector in these areas.

The full Council was composed of a President and twenty-one member representatives of the scientific and lay communities, who were appointed by the Governor-in-Council and serve without remuneration. In addition, three Associate Members represented the other two federal granting agencies (National Science and Engineering Research Council [NSERC] and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council [SSHRC]), and Health Canada. An Executive Committee of seven Council members including the President and the Vice-president exercised executive powers delegated by the full Council.

The MRC Secretariat provided administrative support for operations of the Council itself, the Executive Committee and the various committees involved in the grants and awards programs. It also coordinated the activities of standing committees and provided liaison between the MRC, the Minister of Health and other government and private sector agencies with regard to health science research. Located in Ottawa, the Secretariat was composed of operational areas for Programs, Innovation Teams, Finance and Administration, Communications and Information, Health Research, Business Development and the MRC/PMAC Health Program.

In addition to the Secretariat, four standing committees (Business Development, Ethics, Planning and Evaluation and Science and Research) were responsible for a wide variety of tasks: providing advice and assistance to the Executive Committee on the development of various financial alliances for MRC programs, developing policies and monitoring activities relating to research ethics, overseeing internal MRC evaluation programs and monitoring external developments, implementing the MRC Strategic Plan and monitoring national and international trends in health research in order to administer and advise Council on the peer review process.

The MRC was also supported by Regional Directors, who were not public servants but individuals (usually established medical scientists) appointed by the President following appropriate consultation. Regional Directors market and promoted the MRC and health sciences research throughout Canada, assisted and supported Council members in their region, offered scientific advice and judgement to the Council and President as required and facilitated the development of research projects and technology transfer between industry and academic researchers.

In addition to its main functions, the MRC provided secretarial, administrative and technical support without charge to the Queen Elizabeth II Canadian Fund in Aid of Research on the Diseases of Children. Established by the Queen Elizabeth II Canadian Research Fund Act of 1959 to provide assistance to organizations or individuals to carry out research into the causes, prevention and treatment of disease which affect children, the Fund was abolished in 1995.

On 29 May 2000 (P.C. 2000-0842), MRC was replaced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which incorporates the operations of MRC and is governed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act (48-49 Elizabeth II, 1999-2000). CIHR reports to Parliament through the Minister of Health.

Additional information

Please see lower-level descriptions for finding aids.

Source of title
Title based on the act creating CIHR.

Further accruals are expected.


Other system control no.