Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aging

Representative to ERA-AGE

Dr. Yves Joanette (Scientific Director, CIHR-Institute of Aging)

Other Contact

Dr. Michelle Peel (Assistant Director, CIHR Institute of Aging, Ottawa, Ontario)


The Institute of Aging (IA) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) was established in 2001 as one of thirteen national research institutes responsible for funding health research in strategic theme areas.  

The IA has an annual research budget of just under $10 million dollars (CAD) for Institute specific initiatives. Overall an estimated 14% of CIHR's annual grants and awards budget of $974 M (CAD) funds research on aging.

The Scientific Director of the Institute for the period of March 2004-July 2011 is Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews of the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. 

The fundamental goal of the Institute of Aging (IA) is the advancement of knowledge in the field of aging to improve the quality of life and health of older Canadians by understanding and addressing or preventing the consequences of a wide range of factors associated with aging.

The Institute has identified five priority areas for health research on aging including: healthy and successful aging; biological mechanisms of aging; cognitive impairment in aging; aging and the maintenance of functional autonomy; and health services relating to older people.

Current strategic initiatives and priorities include:

  • 1) Cognitive Impairment in Aging;
  • 2) Mobility in Aging;
  • 3) The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

To date, the Cognitive Impairment in Aging Partnership has invested over $26 million dollars (CAD) in research on biological aspects of cognitive impairment; vascular dementia; care practice and Knowledge Translation.   The Mobility in Aging initiative will invest $13 million (CAD) between 2005 and 2013 in funding emerging teams, demonstration projects and synthesis research. 

The CLSA, developed as an initiative of the Institute, launched in 2009 after a decade of development with $25 million dollars (CAD) of operational funding from CIHR and $26 million dollars (CAD) in infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.  Over a 20-year period, the CLSA will track 50,000 Canadians between the ages of 45-85 to assess changing biological, medical, psychological, social, and economic aspects of people's lives in order to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in developing disease and disability as people age.

CIHR-IA provides funding support for researchers through operating grants, pilot projects, meeting-planning and dissemination grants, travel awards, a Summer Program in Aging for students, annual awards for trainees and new investigators, and  investments in international partnership research projects on aging including China, Japan, France and the UK- the latter through partnership with the New Dynamics of Ageing program.

CIHR-IA has made substantial investments in innovative, multidisciplinary programs of research through its Teams in Aging grants, support to emerging scholars, and awards to recognize Canada's brightest rising stars in aging research.

The Institute's activities in public engagement include five Regional Seniors' Workshops on Research (RSWR) held across Canada with a new Cafe Scientifique knowledge translation program offered by CIHR- IA and being launched in 2010. This program will be planned and organized by seniors' organizations and community groups.

In its short history, the Institute of Aging has become a national leader in addressing health research priorities related to aging and elderly persons in Canada. IA initiatives not only link and support researchers located in universities and hospitals across the country, but also bring together different levels of government, practitioners, voluntary health organizations and seniors themselves.