College Chairs Update – May College Chairs Meeting

June 27, 2019

The most recent College Chairs meeting was held in Ottawa on May 13 & 14. We would like to provide you with an update on the work of the College Chairs and the outcomes of the recent meeting. The meeting opened with a discussion on the best approaches for the optimal review of applications submitted in French. The Chairs provided CIHR feedback and considerations on how to enhance capacity and CIHR is looking into implementing some of those recommendations.

Following up on feedback from the Observer Program and the desire to provide more meaningful engagement through an expanded process, the College team presented a proposed Reviewer Pathway. The Reviewer Pathway will be a comprehensive suite of programs that will support the development of peer review skills across career stages and roles (e.g. Knowledge User) as well as progress towards membership in the College of Reviewers. Included in this will be a Mock Review Toolkit, a National Peer Review Conference and a Reviewer in Training Program. The Reviewer in Training program will be an expanded version of the Observer Program that will include the opportunity for participants to complete practice reviews under the guidance of a mentor and to participate in the review discussion at the face-to-face peer review meeting. We are excited about these opportunities for new reviewers and believe that it will support excellent review quality as well as improve success in preparing funding applications. We invite you to sign up to CIHR’s ACCESS newsletter for news and opportunities arising from this new initiative over the coming months.

We also discussed the Review Quality Assurance framework that is being piloted in the Project Grant Competitions. The pilots have shown that the review quality indicators are effective at identifying low quality reviews. The College is now developing a formal process of measuring and monitoring review quality and reviewer’s overall peer review contributions, in an effort to ensure high quality reviews. Discussions included strategies to support reviewers, promote continuous improvement, as well as a recognition platform to identify outstanding reviewers.

On May 7th, CIHR launched their public engagement on the new strategic plan. The College Chairs meeting was a well-timed occasion to discuss and share input on the plan. As a reminder, the entire health research community is invited to participate and we encourage you to do so. Please visit to take the survey, join the discussion forum, or ask a question. The online survey will be open until June 28, 2019. If you have the time, we invite you to share the link to the online engagement with your networks and on your social media channels.

Finally, we would like to thank Dr. Max Cynader, Dr. Patrick McGrath and Dr. Steven Narod for their service as College Chairs, as they rotate off; we wish them the best in their future endeavors. We would also like to thank Dr. Jane Rylett for her dedication to the role of Vice Executive Chair. Jane is rotating off the College Chairs to assume the position of Scientific Director to the CIHR Institute of Aging.

As we look forward to the months to come, we would like to thank each of you for your continued dedication and service, which is essential to ensuring that CIHR’s peer review is of the highest quality. We hope you enjoy the summer!


Paul Kubes, PhD
Executive Chair, College of Reviewers

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