Education & Training
Training funded for health researchers
May 4, 2022
OTTAWA – The federal government has announced an investment of $31.1 million over six years for the Health Research Training Platform (HRTP). The HRTP is comprised of 13 unique training programs that bring together researchers from different hospitals and universities, with a view to increase Canada’s capacity to conduct research on specific disease areas and health challenges.
This will help trainees and early career researchers develop skills that will increase their employability and set them up for success in careers that span academia and beyond.
“In a time when relying on scientific evidence has never been more important, our government recognizes the need to invest in the next generation of qualified health research talent,” said Jean-Yves Duclos (pictured), minister of health. “This new platform will help fill a gap in the career development opportunities available to trainees and early career researchers and will allow Canada to create the scientific knowledge we will need to build a more resilient future.”
Participants will have access to diverse, high-quality mentors and training that builds their academic and professional development skills, such as in grant writing, project management, science communication, interdisciplinary research, open science, and knowledge mobilization.
These interdisciplinary training programs will help advance scientific knowledge on topics ranging from dementia, kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, seniors’ health, girls’ and women’s health, and the mental health of 2SLGBTQ+ populations, among others.
Participants will be trained in the science of conducting diverse and inclusive research, such as respecting Indigenous Ways of Knowing, incorporating sex- and gender-based considerations in research, and recognizing unconscious bias.
The Government of Canada is supporting this initiative through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada in partnership with the B.C. Women’s Health Foundation, Egale Canada, and Mitacs.
Partners in this investment include CIHR, the B.C. Women’s Health Foundation, Egale Canada, Mitacs, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Through HRTP, participants will conduct research while receiving extensive mentorship and training that goes beyond what standard research training programs usually offer, covering academic, science policy, and professional development skills, such as grant writing, project management, science communication, interdisciplinary research, open science, and knowledge mobilization, among other areas. Participants will also be trained in the science of conducting diverse and inclusive research, such as respecting Indigenous Ways of Knowing, incorporating sex- and gender-based considerations in research and recognizing unconscious bias.
This investment helps fill a gap in the career development opportunities available to trainees and early career researchers. Participants will develop skills that will increase their employability and set them up for success in careers that span academia and beyond. As a pilot program, CIHR plans to take the lessons learned into consideration for future enhancements to its capacity development activities.
Details about the HRTP awardees can be found at: Health Research Training Platforms – Canada.ca.
One program that’s being funded, with an award of $2.4 million, is a new national research training platform for acute and critical illness. The initiative, called The Life-Threatening Illness National Group (LifTING) Research Training Platform, is co-led by principal investigator Dr. Dominique Piquette, critical care physician and affiliate scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in Toronto, alongside a group of 20 partner organizations.
“In the last 20 years, we’ve made significant progress in understanding how to better care for critically ill patients,” said Dr. Piquette, who is also an assistant professor in the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto. “Yet, the Canadian critical care community continues to face important knowledge-to-practice gaps and health inequities comparable to other research sectors. Our goal is to address these gaps through an innovative research training platform that will invest in the next generation of researchers.”
The platform is supported by the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, Sepsis Canada and a list of 20 partners that include national or international, interdisciplinary, and inter-professional research networks, professional associations, and nonprofit organizations.
The LifTING Research Training Platform will focus on the who, where and how – by building research capacity and career opportunities in locations where care is most frequently delivered, recruiting research trainees who adequately represent the Canadian population, and broadening the curriculum to include competencies required to conduct high-impact research such as interdisciplinary collaboration, EDI, patient-oriented outcomes and implementation sciences.
The program aims to recruit 30 trainees per year for the first two years, with a plan to increase to 40 trainees per year.
“Our goal is to better represent and engage all Canadians in research into life-threatening illnesses going forward and to improve the translation of scientific knowledge so our discoveries can benefit Canadians sooner,” said Dr. Piquette.