Advisory Council on Research (ACOR)

The CCS purpose is to unite and inspire all Canadians to take control of cancer

ACOR role

Funding excellent research that improves cancer control is critical to the mission of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). Key to this is excellence in peer-review and leadership in the cancer research community. The Advisory Council on Research (ACOR) plays a pivotal role in the stewardship of CCS research by providing advice on all CCS research grants and awards programs. In addition, ACOR has an important role to play in the recommendation of research programs and priorities, research and science policies, ongoing research strategic planning and the identification of appropriate indicators for the ongoing evaluation of all the CCS’s research programs. ACOR performs this critical role as a management committee reporting and making recommendations through the Vice-President (VP), Research to the Executive Vice-President (EVP), Research, Mission & Advocacy of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Size and composition

• Up to 20 members, including:
         • 14-16 scientific members
        • 3-5 people affected by cancer (patients, survivors, caregivers (PSC) members

• Chair, appointed from the membership
• A co-Chair or Vice-chair may be appointed from the membership
• Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Cancer Research is a non-voting ex-officio member of the council
• EVP, Mission, Research & Advocacy, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
    Canadian Cancer Society are ex-officio members of the council
• CCS strives for diverse representation in members where no single individual is representative of a group


Scientific members must be national or international experts in their fields, have credibility in the Canadian health arena, have a superior understanding of cancer research and cancer science and its relevance to cancer control, and must be broadly representative of the entire spectrum of cancer research and cancer control. PSC members bring their lived experience and expertise of cancer and cancer care. While not representing all people affected by cancer, they are tasked with drawing on their lived experience to speak to the relevance and significance to people affected by cancer more generally. Collectively, Council composition will strive to reflect the diversity of Canada’s population. Membership will be sought from diverse backgrounds, career stages, geography, age, gender, race, cancer experience, and other factors.



1. Provide advice on scientific and administrative policies of CCS Research
2. Provide specific advice to CCS senior staff, including the VP Research, and the EVP Mission, Research & Advocacy regarding the ongoing development and evolution of the CCS’s research strategy, and on policies, programs and funding mechanisms to successfully implement the elements of that strategy
3. Serve on specific working groups or sub-committees as required, which may be supplemented with additional expertise from the scientific, policy, program and PSC communities
4. Provide advice on key directions, gaps and opportunities in cancer research, in- formed in part through CCS staff-convened relevant groups as needed, such as national and international cancer research experts, patient and community groups, end users, decision- and policy-makers
5. Provide advice to senior CCS staff, where needed, in the selection of Panel Chairs and members of Peer Review Panels
6. From time to time, based upon advice from Panel or Review Committee Chairs, recommend levels of support for applications for CCS grants, awards and major programs and make funding recommendations to senior CCS staff


7. Advance the CCS’s mission through the stewardship of a broad portfolio of excellent, peer-reviewed cancer research
8. Act as ambassadors for the CCS and for research through interactions with their respective communities, and with CCS staff, donors and the public, as required


9. Evaluate the peer review process(es) used to assess all CCS applications for re- search funding and make recommendations for improvement, as required
10. Directly evaluate some requests for funding (e.g. Letters of Intent, Travel Awards or other such programs) and make recommendations regarding the suitability of applications and levels of support
11. Participate in the adjudication of, and make recommendations to senior CCS staff regarding, nominations for the annual Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research
12. Advise on and participate in the ongoing evaluation of all CCS research programs and advise on recommendations based on the outcomes

Terms and appointments

Members will be appointed by the CEO. Each term of appointment is 2 years in duration, renewable for one further 2-year term.

The Chair will be appointed from the membership by the EVP, Research, Mission & Advocacy for a term of 2 years, with a maximum extension of 1 further year.

The outgoing Chair is invited to remain as a full member of the council for one additional year as the Past Chair.

Members who miss more than 2 meetings in a year without advising CCS in advance, or who do not participate in meetings or discussion will be approached to understand how their participation could be accommodated.

Operating mode

  • 3-4 meetings per year, up to 1-2 days in duration. Meetings may be virtual or in- person, as appropriate. Costs for travel and accommodation are provided by CCS where meetings are in person.
  • A simple majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Once a quorum has been established, a simple majority of those members present shall be required to carry any motion. Voting may be done in person, by virtual meeting, by telephone, or by e-mail. Final decision-making rests with EVP Mission, Research & Advocacy and the CEO.
  • All members must review and sign CCS’s Agreement on Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest
  • As appropriate, members of the Board of Directors may be invited to participate as guests in ACOR meetings. Other guests may be invited to any meeting at the discretion of the Chair and senior staff.
  • Virtual meetings or calls between the members of the Board of Directors, the CEO, the ACOR Chair, the EVP Mission, Research & Advocacy and the VP, Re- search may be convened as needed to discuss research issues for the organization
  • Chair may be required to attend Board of Directors meetings in order to provide a report on ACOR activities and/or to contribute to Board discussions about re- search and other issues
  • To support equitable participation, CCS will work with members as needed to ad- dress accessibility and individual needs and provide technical, language and other support to the maximum extent possible
  • ACOR members will periodically be asked to provide their feedback on how the Council functions and how operations could be improved

Current membership

Deborah Anderson, Saskatoon

Rebecca Auer, Ottawa

Kelvin Chan, Toronto

Melissa Coombs, St John’s

Michael Cox, Vancouver

Stuart Edmonds (Ex-officio), Toronto

Christine Friedenreich (Chair), Calgary

Géraldine Jippé, Montreal

Ian Graham, Ottawa

Jennifer Jones, Toronto

Fei-Fei Liu (Ex-officio), Toronto

Aisha Lofters, Toronto

Alli Murugesan, Saint John

Hermann Nabi, Quebec

Pamela Ohashi, Toronto

Geoff Porter, Halifax

Angus Pratt, Surrey

Andrea Seale (Ex-officio), Vancouver

Marc Therrien, Montreal

Robin Urquhart, Halifax

Katherine Zukotynski, Hamilton

Last modified on: May 24, 2023