Over three decades ago, CIFAR's visionary founders recognized the value of creating networks of outstanding researchers from across Canada and the world to focus on important questions and challenges. Their vision was to create a virtual institute that would connect some of the world’s best investigators across disciplines and geography to work together on questions of importance to the world.
The world has changed profoundly since CIFAR's founders conceived of this unique organization. Yet the CIFAR model is more relevant today than it was over 30 years ago.
Exciting research questions and challenges facing humanity transcend disciplinary boundaries and require the attention of leading thinkers from all corners of the world. At CIFAR, our experience has shown that linking the world's best minds leads to transformative progress.
Today, CIFAR brings together almost 350 researchers and senior advisors from more than 100 research institutions in 17 countries. Our 14 programs are clustered into four broad themes: improving human health, transforming technology, building strong societies and sustaining the Earth.
Since I joined CIFAR, we have been developing a refreshed vision for CIFAR — CIFAR 2.0 — that builds on our legacy, while responding to the needs and opportunities of today's world, as well as the changing context in which research is now carried out.
CIFAR 2.0 has six pillars: a focus on outcomes and impact, broadening our global reach, engaging in partnerships, nurturing the world’s brightest emerging new researchers, turning research into action and developing an outward-looking and risk-taking culture.
In 2013 we launched CIFAR's very first Global Call for Ideas. We wanted to reach out to new investigators, extend our global reach and solicit exciting new ideas that have the potential to address questions of importance to the world. Leading researchers from across Canada and around the world were invited to submit proposals to create research networks that would tackle complex questions of global significance. CIFAR's Board of Directors approved four programs that launched in 2015.
I am excited about CIFAR 2.0 and its potential to continue the great traditions of leadership and excellence of my predecessors. Our objective is to build on the legacy of the past 30 years and to ensure that CIFAR continues its enviable track record of advancing knowledge, forging new ways of thinking, and addressing questions of importance to the world.