CIHR’s Changes for the Fall 2017 Project Grant Competition

For the Fall 2017 Project Grant competition, the following changes have been made:

  1. The grant applications will be reviewed by face-to-face panels, with no online or other prior evaluations
    • Altogether, the panels will cover the full spectrum of health research. As with the historical CIHR grants panels, each will have a name, mandate, and a face-to-face meeting.
    • Fifty-three panels will be struck. Depending on the scientific expertise required, these panels may be larger in size than they have been historically, to ensure that the reviewer expertise is sufficient to cover the breadth of applications received.
    • The panel mandates from the Spring 2015 Open Operating Grant Program (OOGP) competition will serve as the starting point for the development of the Fall 2017 panels.
    • Substantial changes to the OOGP-based panel mandates were not possible in the time CIHR has had to deliver this Fall 2017 competition, but we will seek input from the College Chairs, University Delegates, Panel Chairs, Scientific Officers, reviewers, and applicants to evaluate and adjust the roster of panels for the Spring 2018 competition. There is a clear desire from the community, and a firm commitment from CIHR, to update the panels to best address the breadth of CIHR’s mandate, the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of research, and the challenge of reviewing highly innovative grants. The evolution of the panel mandates will be a priority for CIHR for the Spring 2018 competition and the process to provide input will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.
    • The iterative review process that has been used for applications related to Indigenous Health Research will be retained.
  2. Applicants will be asked to choose the panel most relevant to their research
    • Each applicant must identify the panels (1st and 2nd choices) that they think best fits their application. This choice must be made at the registration stage. Please read the full mandates of each panel because the mandates have changed slightly from the OOGP.
    • In addition to indicating their choices, applicants must write a strong, clear research Summary of the Research Proposal. A good summary is essential to guiding the decision of the Chairs and Scientific Officers as to whether a specific panel has the required expertise to fairly and knowledgeably review an application. If an application does not fit, then the Summary will help the Chairs and Scientific Officers identify which panel is best suited to review it, or to decide whether their panel should be expanded to provide the necessary expertise.
    • Changes to the Summary of the Research Proposal will be allowed at the application stage, but the overall thrust of the application must remain the same so that reassignment of an application to a different panel will not be required.
  3. Reviewers will be recruited for a single panel
    • Each panel will include an experienced Chair and two Scientific Officers, who will help CIHR staff identify reviewers with the necessary expertise.
    • The Chairs and Scientific Officers will participate in the selection of reviewers as well as the assignment of applications to the panel members.
    • Once the panel has been recruited and confirmed, each member will be asked to complete the Conflict and Ability to Review exercise for every application in their panel. The results of this exercise—which will use the High/Med/Low/Not Enough Expertise assessment—will allow Chairs, Scientific Officers, and CIHR staff to generate the final peer review assignments.
    • Each reviewer will receive an average of 10 applications to review, and each application will have three reviewers assigned to it, a primary and two secondary reviewers, each of whom will write a review.
    • Reviewers will score the applications using the 0-4.9 scale.
    • If you receive an invitation to review for the fall competition, please accept it. The quality of peer review depends entirely on the community’s participation in the process. The invitations to review will begin going out the week of July 10th, 2017.
  4. The Project Grant application form has changed only slightly
    • The full request for applications, registration instructions, and application instructions will be available on July 11, 2017 in the CIHR Funding Opportunities database.
    • The research proposal can be a maximum of 10 pages (including figures and tables). The structure of the proposal will be entirely at the discretion of the applicant. Applicants can therefore write this section of the application in the way that they deem most appropriate to address the adjudication criteria.
    • The adjudication criteria and weighting will be as follows:
      • Criterion 1. Concept (25%)
        • Significance and Impact of the Research (25%)
      • Criterion 2. Feasibility (75%)
        • Approaches and Methods (50%)
        • Expertise, Experience, and Resources (25%)
    • Applicants are now invited to include unlimited attachments, but reviewers are not required to read those attachments.
    • Applicants now also have the option of including a response to previous reviews (maximum two pages).
  5. All health-related applications, including multidisciplinary applications, are welcome
    • The Chairs and Scientific Officers will work with CIHR to ensure that the appropriate expertise is available to evaluate a multidisciplinary application in any given panel.

More information…

photo credit: iren.ray red and yellow apples in the basket via photopin (license)

About the Author

Kueneman, Karen
Staff, 2015 Fall

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