Environments and Health Signature Initiative Québec Partner Forum

March 27, 2015

Executive Summary

Purpose of this document

This document summarizes the conversations which took place at the Québec Partnership Forum on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Environments and Health Signature Initiative (EHSI). This forum was held on March 27th, 2015 at the Château Frontenac in the city of Québec.

Objectives of the meeting

This forum was organized by CIHR in partnership with the Québec’s funding agency for health research, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). The purpose of the forum was to bring together Québec ministries, representatives of industry, of non-government, and of not-for-profit organizations, as well as experts from the scientific community to discuss and better understand the CIHR Environments and Health Signature Initiative with a view to maintain its momentum.

Targeted participants

Individuals attending the forum were invited because of their organisation’s mandate which included priority research areas for the EHSI (resource development, the urban model, agrifood production).

There were three types of stakeholders in attendance:

  1. stakeholders who were looking to discuss/find more strategic methods of defining priorities so that they could address multi/intersectoral issues (i.e. high-level direction);
  2. stakeholders who represent priority environmental interests where their membership/participation could address/benefit from the upcoming funding opportunities;
  3. stakeholders wishing to identify areas for alignment of their existing priorities with the EHSI for potential leveraging of funding/resources (i.e., other funding bodies).

Key discussion points

After the opening speeches, the participants held three consecutive breakout sessions, the topics of which are presented below.

For each session, three separate conversations took place – one for each priority research area: resource development, the urban model, or agri-food production. Participants chose one of the three conversations for each session.

Session 1.

Major issues facing organizations in Québec and possible benefits of an integrated approach to environments and health

Challenges identified in this discussion included funding, intersectoral partnership, management and data sharing, as well as research priorities determination. The benefits of an integrated approach in environments and health would help in: catalyzing interactions among stakeholders; working more efficiently; creating synergies between different areas of expertise; allowing creation and invention in partnership with other researchers; as well as, in finding solutions which have a greater impact on population health; among others.

Session 2.

A vision of ideal collaboration in the research areas common to Québec and to the EHSI, and how to reduce the gap between the vision and the current reality

A vision of ideal collaboration involves different themes discussed at the forum. Those themes are favourable conditions facilitating an intersectoral approach in environments and health. Those conditions may be summarized by better communication, research initiatives open on innovation, an integrated research process, and an expanded multidisciplinarity.

Session 3.

Concrete steps that can be taken and activities that can be carried out collaboratively, in terms of integrated research projects to make the vision a reality

Activities and concrete steps suggested to reach a vision of collaboration include the encouragement and development of partnerships, improvement of research programs, implementation of performance measurement, and improving communication related to research (public outreach, communication between the researchers, research results dissemination).

A brief plenary discussion followed the comments of:

  • Dr. Denis A. Roy, Vice-President for Scientific Affairs at INSPQ (Québec’s public health institute);
  • Dr. Renaldo Battista, Scientific Director, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS);
  • Dr. Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director, CIHR – Institute of Infection and Immunity (III).


Dr. Marc Ouellette and Dr. Renaldo Battista concluded the forum by reminding the participants that in times of limited resources, more collaboration is necessary. The EHSI and the Future Earth initiative are great opportunities to augment collaboration and there is an opportunity to expand this outside of Québec and even outside of Canada, and learn from international policy changes in other countries. The EHSI and its Intersectoral Prevention Research Funding Opportunity is also a great opportunity for Québec.


Many people contributed their time and expertise to make this forum a success. We want to thank the members of the planning committee: Marc-Étienne Joseph, Katherine Cole, Caroline Wong, Jennifer Raven and Suzete Dos Santos from CIHR, as well as Annabel Seyller from the FRQ and Frank Byrnes from the consulting firm Conseillers en potentiel humain inc. (CPHI), who served as moderator for the forum. The employees of the CIHR-III also contributed to the success of this forum; thanks to Serge Desnoyers, Sylvie Masse, and Isabelle Létourneau for their support.

Date modified: