College of Reviewers will start enrolling members this summer

April 7, 2017

On behalf of the College Chairs, we are pleased to announce that membership enrolment will start in June 2017.

Based on the recent experiences of the first Project Grant competition, which were echoed in the Peer Review Expert Panel report, the College Chairs believe it is essential to open the College of Reviewers to ensure that all of CIHR’s competitions have the appropriate expertise base to draw upon to consistently provide high quality reviews.

This initial cohort of College members will be in a unique position to build the College of Reviewers into a peer reviewing resource that will ensure fair, transparent, and high quality peer review. College members will be supported through predictable workloads, meaningful recognition programs, and learning and mentoring opportunities.

The first rounds of invitations will be sent to individuals who meet our membership criteria and who have recently served as CIHR peer reviewers. College Chairs will be directly involved in overseeing the enrolment process while continuing to shape the direction of the College.

We are also pleased to provide a summary of our decisions and immediate next steps resulting from our March 21-22, 2017 meeting. In addition to our work in establishing the College, we are also advising CIHR on peer review practises, with a strong focus on the second and third Project competitions, to help ensure fair review processes for every application, for the benefit of research excellence. Our plan is to invite CIHR Competition Chairs to our spring meeting to hear from them directly about what worked well and what needs to be strengthened with an emphasis on approaches to matching, review quality and capacity building.

On behalf of all of the College Chairs, we strongly encourage you to seize this opportunity to work as a community to build the College with us and to strengthen peer review quality. We need to work together to create a strong College with active and engaged members who collectively represent a broad range of health research expertise and experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress of building the College of Reviewers and will notify the community shortly before enrolment begins.

Finally, we welcome Dr. Roderick McInnes as acting CIHR President and look forward to working together to ensure that things keep getting better.  


Paul Kubes, PhD
Executive Chair
College of Reviewers

Jane Rylett, PhD
Vice Executive Chair
College of Reviewers

Decisions and next steps

Area of Focus Decisions Immediate Next Steps

Ensure review quality through robust quality assurance approaches

Feedback from the current Project Grant Competition Chairs on the interim review quality process will be a key objective of the upcoming joint Competition Chairs and College Chairs meeting

Evaluate the impact of this interim process to inform the development of approaches and tools across all competitions

Update expertise descriptors to strengthen the matching of reviewers to applications

Endorsed the process to update the Areas of Science descriptors for use in the third Project Grant competition

Provide oversight to the update process for the methodologies and populations descriptors

Define membership criteria and enrolment approaches

Approved the membership criteria and the enrolment process for Spring 2017

Start enrolment of current and recently-active reviewers

Formalize self-nomination process for College membership

Develop targeted recruitment to address expertise gaps, including international recruitment

Continue to work with the Reference Group on Appropriate Review of Indigenous Health Research to develop an enrolment approach for Elders/Knowledge Keepers

Develop an approach to meaningfully include patients in the College

Define roles, responsibilities and expectations of College members that will incentivize and recognize contributions

Approved the College Member Roles and Responsibilities and Membership Agreement

Agreed on a workload threshold for members (maximum expectation of two competitions per year for academically based members)

Define a membership progression plan to build capacity within the College membership base

Monitor member workload

Work with stakeholders (research institutions, other funders) to promote the formal recognition of the value of peer review

Develop a mentorship program for early career investigators

Evaluate the impact of the Project Grant competition pilot observer process to inform the development of a training program as part of a broader mentorship program

Develop a broader mentorship program to support College members

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