CIHR Guidelines on Determining Eligibility of Nominated Principal Applicant Individuals on Grants
The following are general guidelines to support the vetting of eligible individuals in the nominated principal applicant role on CIHR grant applications.
These guidelines are intended to be read in conjunction with the CIHR Application Administration Guide, particularly Part 3: CIHR Applicant Eligibility, section 3.1, Nominated Principal Applicant.
Part 3: CIHR Applicant Eligibility defines eligibility of the nominated principal applicant in general terms, according to specific types of individuals (i.e. researchers, scholars, and health professionals) with acceptable institutional affiliations (e.g. Canadian post-secondary institutions or affiliates), as a means to ensure the funds will be used appropriately. However, funding opportunities may narrow these eligibility requirements in order to achieve their objectives. In most cases, this means that nominated principal applicants are required to meet the CIHR definition of independent researcher or knowledge user. In certain cases, eligibility may be restricted even further to specific groups within the independent researcher or knowledge user categories.
3. Eligibility Considerations
3.1. CIHR's Independent Researcher Definition
Administering institutions are to consider the following guidance during their vetting process to affirm the eligibility of nominated principal applicants in the context of CIHR's independent researcher definition:
- Traditionally recognized academic positions are sufficient evidence of independence (i.e. professor, associate professor, assistant professor and professor emeritus).
- Individuals who do not hold traditional academic appointments should be asked to substantiate that their research activities are not under the approval, direction or supervision of another individual.
- Adjunct professors may contribute to research and teaching at the administering institution, but the types of activities and level of engagement can vary according to institutional policies and collective agreements. Endorsement of adjunct professors in the nominated principal applicant role should take into consideration the individual's access to the necessary resources, experience and collaborations, in the context of the proposed research/activities, as these aspects are subject to peer review evaluation. Note: Adjunct professors employed by the federal government are not eligible in the nominated principal applicant role.
- Individuals who are paid salary through someone else's research grant (CIHR or otherwise) do not meet the criterion of independence, regardless of any contract they may have signed. Such individuals should not be endorsed in the role of nominated principal applicant.
- Unless the objectives of the funding opportunity specify otherwise, individuals in positions that are contingent on, or will be promoted subsequent to, successfully competing for research funding do not meet the criterion of independence and should not be endorsed in the nominated principal applicant role.
- Individuals who do not meet the criterion of independence at the time of application may still be endorsed in the nominated principal applicant role, provided an official letter from the administering institution is included in the application confirming that the individual's independent appointment/position will commence by the funding start date. Refer to the relevant funding opportunity for possible restrictions.
3.2 Interpretation of Substantive Role
A key eligibility criterion to apply for grant funding as a nominated principal applicant is having a substantive role in Canada. As agency funds are an investment by Canadians, the rationale behind this requirement is to ensure the funds remain based in Canada and primarily benefit Canadians without hindering international collaborations and those who conduct their research/activities abroad.
In this context, "substantive role" refers to the applicant's primary place of employment or primary appointment. As such, applicants who hold their primary place of employment/primary appointment outside of Canada are not eligible to apply for CIHR grant funds as a nominated principal applicant, unless otherwise stated in the funding opportunity.
Note that CIHR is not prescriptive regarding the duration of time that a nominated principal applicant must physically reside in Canada, as this falls under the purview of applicable policies of the administering institution, employment terms and conditions, and/or collective agreements.
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