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Aboriginal-health researchers rebel over CIHR changes

Researchers who study aboriginal health are up in arms about planned changes to the way research is organised at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, according to APTN news.

Over the past few months, details of the funding agency’s “modernisation” of its 13 virtual institutes have been quietly released. The number of scientific advisory boards will be reduced, with groups of institutes sharing a single board. And half of each institute’s budget will be stripped away and placed into a common pot, which the institutes must now compete for—and winning that money will require industry co-funding.

Now those who rely on the funding are speaking out against the plans, saying they will be particularly harmful for research on aboriginal health. The requirement for industry co-funding is intensely worrying, as few companies are interested in aboriginal issues, researchers say. And seeking funding from the deep pockets of oil and gas companies could be a conflict of interest, as research may focus on the effects of resource extraction on the health of aboriginal populations.

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