College Chairs Update – December 2019

December 2, 2019

On September 30th we were graciously welcomed into Kahnawake community, just south of Montreal, for the first day of our fall College Chairs meeting. It has long been a priority for us to further our understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing, and the challenges faced by Indigenous persons and researchers. Dr. Michael Strong joined us for the day and had the opportunity to hear about the innovative work to improve health outcomes across Indigenous communities. We greatly appreciate the generosity of our hosts in sharing their deep knowledge with us and thank those that shared their lived experiences. We would also like to thank Judi Jacobs and Dr. Alex McComber of the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project for their help in planning and organizing such a successful day.

The following day, the College Chairs met in Montreal to discuss our role in advising CIHR and the College of Reviewers. Since the appointment of the Chairs in 2016, the College of Reviewers has grown to over 4,500 individuals who support a large share of CIHR’s peer reviewing needs. We felt it appropriate to discuss the future mandate and structure of the College Chairs. Moving forward, we will introduce changes in the composition of the College Chairs to better reflect the diversity of the Canadian research community and focus on building outreach capacity to expand expert perspectives.

We agreed that our future work to strengthen and evaluate peer review practices at CIHR requires focused dedication to enhancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the process. We discussed the ongoing review and updating of the review committee mandates for the Project Grant competition. We support piloting approaches to promote the evolution of review committee mandates to ensure that the diverse content and methodologies employed by the Canadian research community are reflected in CIHR’s peer review panels.

The group thanked Dr. Paul Kubes and Dr. Jane Rylett for their leadership as co-Executive Chairs and service to the Canadian health research community.

We reflected on how the time with our Indigenous colleagues greatly enhanced our learning and understanding of their challenges in conducting research. We agreed to organize more interactive meetings to hear directly from multiple groups within the research communities throughout Canada, and to convey their messages to CIHR. We greatly look forward to bringing new membership to the College Chairs and to providing continued support for best practices in peer review in Canada.


Jayne Danska, PhD
Executive Chair
College of Reviewers

Philippe Gros, PhD
Executive Vice-Chair
College of Reviewers

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