The number, scope and geographic distribution of clinical researchers in Canada

Raghavan, Malathi; Sandham, J. Dean
October 2008
Clinical & Investigative Medicine;Oct2008, Vol. 31 Issue 5, pE222
Academic Journal
Purpose: Despite international concerns about declining numbers of clinical researchers, the number of clinical researchers in Canada remains undocumented. Methods: The number and geographic distribution of clinical researchers in Canada and the scope of their research activities were estimated using, as an indicator, the data on clinical research projects funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Results: Between fiscal years 1999-00 and 2006-07, 1,041 individual researchers-approximately 130 per year-were principal investigators (PIs) on clinical research grants. One hundred and 26 researchers received salary awards; 449 supervisors oversaw the clinical research activities of 230 fellows and 223 students with trainee awards. An additional 2,305 individuals served only as co-investigators on grants. Most (863 [83%]) PIs received funding for operating grants; 196 (19%) PIs received funding for randomized controlled trials. The institute of neurosciences, mental health and addiction funded the highest number of researchers (187 [18%] PIs, 40 [17%] fellows, and 73 [33%] students). Among provinces, Quebec led the nation with the highest number (45) of PIs per million population. Ontario had the highest number of clinical research fellows (10 per million population) while Quebec and Saskatchewan each hosted more students (11 per million). Conclusion: The number of Canadian investigators with funding for clinical research from CIHR was low. Although the ideal ratio of clinical to basic research capacity is not known, the possibility that the gap between laboratory-based research and clinical research is larger in Canada than in the United States is discussed.


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