What is a Notice of Recommendation?

CIHR is bringing back the Notice of Recommendation (NOR), which was last used in the Open Operating Grant program in 2015. The NOR gets key information to applicants earlier in the process, which is important so that they can receive and consider their results and make a decision about whether or not to re-submit their application to the following Project Grant competition. For this reason, many researchers and research administrators have requested that CIHR reintroduce the NOR into the competition process. Although many applicants will remember the NOR from past competitions, it will be new for some. For those researchers, here is a quick primer on the NOR.

The NOR is an additional document that CIHR provides to applicants following peer review committee meetings. The NOR is uploaded to ResearchNet before the decisions are finalized and contains key information about the application’s standing within the competition, including the rating, rank within the panel, reviews, and SO notes (if the application has been discussed). The NOR is provided in advance of the Notice of Decision (NOD), which provides applicants approximately an extra two weeks to decide whether to resubmit an unsuccessful application to the following competition. The NOR contains the same information as the NOD, minus the funding decision.

The majority of applicants can determine with reasonable accuracy if their application will be funded with the information provided in the NOR. It is possible to do so by looking at the application’s percent rank within the panelFootnote 1:

  • Applications with a value between 0-12 will likely be funded;
  • Applications with a value between 18-100 will likely not be funded; and
  • Applications that fall between 12-18 are within the uncertain range of funding based on a number of factors, e.g., number of applications in the panel, if it is an application from an Early Career Researcher (ECR) and therefore subject to the ECR equalization exercise, or if it is a large grant.

In addition to the factors listed above, the most important are the number of applications reviewed, the total budget available and the average grant size. These variables have been relatively consistent across the last four Project Grant competitions and therefore can be used to reasonably estimate where the funding cutoff will fall across the competition.

The range for applications that are focused on Indigenous Health Research (IHR) and go through the iterative review process will be different.

Further details on how funding decisions are made within the Project Grant Program can be found on the CIHR website.

Using the NOR to infer if the application will be successful or not is a reasonable approach to determine if the applicant should register for the next competition.  However, it is possible that applications with a percent rank within the ranges noted above will not receive the decision applicants are expecting. Please do not hesitate to contact your institution or CIHR with any questions you may have related to the NOR and how to interpret it.

The Notice of Decision,  including  the final recommended budget in the case of funded grants, will be uploaded to ResearchNet at the end of the peer review process, following approval by CIHR’s President.

If you have any questions about the peer review process, please reach out to CIHR’s Contact Centre at support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

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