In mid-June, Canada’s medical community was shocked to learn that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal agency for health-research funding, has unexpectedly cancelled its support of funding for students in combined MD/PhD programs.
CIHR acted without consultation and contrary to a 2013 report of its own advisory committee on training that recommended enhancing these studentships. In cutting this funding, the agency has dealt a mortal blow to training programs that faculties of medicine across Canada recognize are critical to research and innovation in Canadian health care.
The annual budget of CIHR is $1.2-billion. Cancelling the MD/PhD studentships will save $1.8-million, effectively representing a paltry 0.15 per cent of its expenditures. Ceasing to fund this program can hardly be justified on grounds of “fiscal constraints.”
This decision is shortsighted. If not reversed, it will have a long-term negative impact on Canadian medical education and research.
Please sign the petition to help maintaining the Canadian MD-PhD program.