Cancelling the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition
A message from CIHR President Dr. Michael Strong

April 2, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to you today to announce that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CIHR has cancelled the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition.

CIHR made the decision to cancel the spring competition following consultations with Governing Council, Science Council, partners at the U-15, Universities Canada, HealthCareCAN, and the University Delegates Network, among others. While the decision to cancel the competition was a difficult one, our priority right now is to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of our staff and the research community.

After considering all available options, the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition was cancelled for the following key reasons:

Given the extraordinary circumstances, CIHR did consider virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. However, such a move would not have resolved many of the challenges mentioned above. Furthermore, with the situation continuing to evolve, we could not be certain about the reliability of the critical infrastructure required to deliver a high-quality competition. For these reasons, we are not pursuing virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. Delaying the competition until this summer was also not a viable option, as there is a possibility that CIHR’s normal business operations will not resume in time to successfully deliver a Project Grant competition this summer. That said, CIHR remains on track to deliver the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.

We acknowledge that cancelling the competition will have significant impacts on those who applied as well as on future competitions. CIHR will implement the following measures to help mitigate these impacts:

More broadly, CIHR is considering measures to help the health research community weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures will be implemented immediately

CIHR will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves, and stands ready to take more action as needed to help mitigate any impacts and delays caused by COVID-19.

I know that you likely have many questions. CIHR will follow up with all applicants and peer reviewers for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition through targeted communications in order to assist you as you navigate next steps and consider your options. We will also be holding webinars in the lead up to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition to answer your questions. In the meantime, please visit CIHR’s COVID-19 webpage, which will be updated regularly, and continue to email your questions to

Rest assured that we will continue to do everything in our power to minimize disruption to the research community. These are extraordinary times and these are extraordinary measures, but we will get through them together.


Michael J. Strong, MD, FRCP, FCAHS, FAAN
President, CIHR

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