Inuit Institute for Research and Planning, 2008-present

The Institute is a unique multi-year program designed by CIET to support autonomous Inuit research and planning. Inaugurated in 2008, the Institute is developing a cohort of Inuit researchers capable of designing and leading research projects on Inuit priorities, combining traditional Inuit knowledge and modern science, and using data from research for health planning across Inuit Nunaat.

The Institute is also setting the stage for an Inuit-oriented masters and doctoral program in health research. This is the first such initiative in Canada, at a time of heightened interest in the social, economic and educational situation of Inuit Nunaat.

Institute participants discuss contemporary Inuit issues while learning the basics of modern epidemiology and how to link them with traditional Inuit knowledge. The combination of hands-on research and theoretical training gives special attention to research methods for working with small dispersed populations in Northern Canada and to the communication of research evidence for planning.

Many of the Institute participants have been engaged in research projects at the community level. These projects include Aboriginal Community Resilience in relation to HIV/AIDS, Domestic Violence Reduction, and Environmental Assessments and Influences on Reproductive Health. Participants are also developing an online community of practice where they can connect with Inuit specific research groups, other participants and communities across Inuit Nunaat.

The Inuit Institute for Research and Planning was started by CIET, in partnership with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatmi and the Nassivik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environment, with partial funding from the government of Canada.

As of the end of 2009 the Institute had held two sessions, a winter institute in February 2008 and a summer institute in June 2009.

Winter Institute, 2008

CIETcanada’s first Inuit Winter Institute (IWI) was held in Ottawa from January 28 to February 9, 2008, focused on practical skills to articulate Inuit traditional knowledge with modern epidemiology and community participation in research and planning.

Participants laid out an Inuit view of health and reviewed historical and contemporary Inuit health issues. They chose to work on key research concerns, such as youth suicide, parenting, housing, and environmental contamination. For many of the participants this was their first approach to research methods which in this case emphasized tools for working with small, dispersed populations in Northern Canada. They also studied the use and communication of research evidence for planning –a strongly felt need within the group.


The 21 participants who graduated from the course came from across the four Northern Inuit regions and from the Ottawa Inuit community. Many of them are working with Inuit organizations at federal, regional and community levels; others are involved in community health care and local government. Their breadth of experience and enthusiasm shaped discussions and course content, making it relevant to Inuit needs and circumstances.

CIETcanada hosted this first IWI, together with Anisnabe Kekendazone — the Ottawa Aboriginal Capacity and Development Research Environment (ACADRE) — and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.  Funding for the initiative came from CIETcanada, Nasivvik Centre for Inuit Health and Changing Environments at Laval University, and Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. Other Inuit organizations and ACADREs contributed by providing trainers and participants from across Canada.


The 2008 IWI was a first step in a partnership among these institutions to improve access to graduate studies in health research and planning among Northern Inuit, and to build on research and planning capacity across Inuit communities.
Click here to see some initial activities of institute graduates.

Summer 2009

CIETcanada hosted the second session of the Inuit Institute for Research and Planning at the University of Ottawa from June 1-12, 2009. The event brought together 20 emerging Inuit health researchers from communities across Inuit Nunaat (the Inuit territories in Canada’s North) and the Ottawa Inuit community, where they are working in community health care, local government, and Inuit organizations.

For more on the 2009 summer Institute, click here.