Supporting early career researchers affected by COVID-19: Temporarily “pausing the clock” for ECRs

While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the research enterprise in many ways, CIHR has heard clearly from the research community that the pandemic has disrupted early career researchers (ECRs) particularly acutely.

Following consultations with stakeholdersFootnote 1, CIHR will move forward with a plan to temporarily “pause the clock” for all ECRs. Given the impact of the pandemic has affected most, if not all, of the CIHR community, this measure will be applied automatically to all who qualify and will not need to be requested. All those who held ECR statusFootnote 2 as of March 1, 2020—or who secured their first academic appointment after this date—will have their status extended by one year.

CIHR will continue to monitor closely the impacts of the pandemic on researchers in the months ahead.  CIHR will be ready to take further action as required, and will follow closely the impact of this temporary measure and re-evaluate the duration of the pause as we move forward. CIHR commits to critically assessing more broadly the question of how to best support researchers’ full academic lifespan, including all aspects of equity, diversity and inclusion, as a fundamental component of our Strategic Plan that will be released in early 2021

By temporarily pausing the clock, CIHR will ensure that ECRs can continue to benefit from programs and policies such as the Observer Program and the equalization process in the Project Grant competition.

CIHR recognizes that the impacts caused by COVID are not limited to ECRs. While it is our hope that the actions we have taken to date—such as the provision of extensions and grant supplements and other subsidies from the Government of Canada—are making a difference, we will continue to look for ways to support the community at this difficult time.

Thank you to all those who took the time to consult with CIHR as we considered this decision.

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