PROVINCIAL HEALTH RESEARCH STRATEGY
The MHRC was established by the provincial government in 1982 to promote the growth and co-ordination of the health research enterprise in Manitoba. Over the years, the Council has largely fulfilled its mandate by providing funding to researchers and trainees through its capacity building programs. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows received awards to fund their training, encouraging a number to stay and establish their careers in Manitoba. Independent scientists early in their careers or new to Manitoba were funded to help establish their research programs enabling them to win national and international funding for their research.
But the Council’s funding levels remained stagnant or declined over its 25 year history and various attempts at strategic planning were made to encourage a greater funding commitment from the Government of Manitoba. It wasn’t until 2005 that we began to see Manitoba’s relatively high position in health research funding put at risk by competition from researchers in province’s whose governments had made deliberate and strategic investments into their health research community.
During the fall of 2005, to help rectify the challenges and bring clarity to health research in Manitoba, the Government of Manitoba requested that the MHRC lead the community in the development of a provincial strategy for health research. A province-wide planning process was conducted beginning with the Creating our Future summit, a conference held in May 2006 that was attended by 140 people representing the five estates of health research – academe, business, not for profit organizations, health care deliver sector and government.
The Envisioning the Future provincial health research strategy was released with the following strategic actions at its core:
1. Establish the Manitoba Health Research Council as a coordinating body for health research in Manitoba.
2. Recruit, retain and support the best research faculty.
3. Facilitate research networks, linkages and communication.
4. Move research evidence into practice.
The strategy also identified two essential conditions which would have to be met in order to successfully implement the recommended actions:
1. Increased funding – A two staged approach with an immediate increase in MHRC’s budget to $6 million and a second increase, incumbent on partner contributions, to the total annual funding of $20 million.
2. Collaboration – MHRC must provide leadership for effective partnerships among the stakeholders.
The Envisioning the Future strategy was presented to the Government of Manitoba in the fall of 2006 and since then we have made significant progress and continue to support the health research community with these actions and goals in mind - Leadership in Action.
We also continue to speak to our stakeholders about our priorities; click here to read what was discussed in 2011.