College Chairs Update – Recent Enrolment Efforts, Project Chair Consultations, and Government Support for Fundamental Science

May 7, 2018

On behalf of all of the College Chairs, we are pleased to announce that following the third wave of enrolment, we now have approximately 4,500 full members enrolled in the College. The most recent wave of College enrolment took place at the end of February, with a focus on inviting those who meet the Membership Selection Criteria that were not in the first two waves of enrolment, and Knowledge Users who have an existing relationship with CIHR. We are also pleased to be welcoming the first cohort of Associate Members who have joined the College through the Member Progression Program. This pathway is key to ensuring that those with less peer review experience have an opportunity to become eligible for full College Membership through supported development of their reviewing skills and direct hands-on peer review experiences.

Last month the College Chairs met in Ottawa for two days of in-depth discussion. The future evolution of peer review in the Project and Foundation Grant competitions were items discussed in some detail as part of the meeting agenda. 

With respect to the Project Grant competition, we discussed the recent consultations that we had with Project Competition Chairs from the Fall 2017 competition to gain insight of what worked well in the competition and what changes are still needed to further strengthen the peer review process. The conversation focused on peer review committee selection, the appropriateness of current committee mandates, and the process of application assignment to committees. We heard that most committee mandates (previously established during the Open Operating Grant Competitions and last reviewed in 2015) need updating, and we have recommended to CIHR that changes be made following consultations with Science Council, Competition Chairs, and the community. The College Chairs also discussed strategies to strengthen the bilingualism of review committees to ensure that all applications are reviewed and discussed with the same amount of rigour.

Dr. Terry Snutch, Chair of the Foundation Grant Program Review Committee, presented the committee recommendations for the future evolution of the Foundation competitions, and a great discussion ensued. The final recommendations will be presented to CIHR at a later date and further details will be shared with the research community by CIHR throughout the summer months.

Finally, the College Chairs would like to formally acknowledge the federal Government's increase in funding for fundamental science to the tri-councils in its recent budget, and would like to sincerely express our appreciation for this important increase. Please encourage your research institutions and faculties to extend your appreciation to Members of Parliament that have made this historic commitment after many years of advocacy on behalf of the scientific community.


Paul Kubes, PhD
Executive Chair
College of Reviewers

Jane Rylett, PhD
Vice Executive Chair
College of Reviewers

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