Summary of September 2020 CIHR “Ask Me Anything” Webinars

CIHR held three “Ask Me Anything” webinars related to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition on September 8, 9 and 11. These webinars were hosted by Adrian Mota, Associate Vice-President of Research Programs, and members of the health research community were welcome to attend.

The following summary provides key information shared during the discussion and updates that have become available since the webinar dates.

If you have additional questions or need more information, please get in touch with the CIHR Contact Centre.

Area of interest Discussion topics Information available

Fall 2020 Project Grant competition – for applicants

  • Changes
  • Timelines
  • Priority Announcements (PAs)
  • Anticipated success rate
  • Fall 2020 Project Grant Budget
  • Notice of Recommendation (NOR)
  • COVID-19 impacts on research
  • Webinars

On August 11, CIHR released a new message highlighting important changes for the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.

Applicants have the option of completing a COVID Impact Statement (one additional page in their application) to highlight how COVID-19 has affected their work. The COVID Impact Statement can be uploaded in task 2 within ResearchNet.

Applicants have the opportunity to address the COVID-19 feasibility of their application within their research proposal.

The Fall 2020 Project Grant competition does not prioritize COVID-19 research.

The Priority Announcements (PAs) are selected during the application stage of the Project Grant competition. An applicant can select up to three PAs.

Applicants who applied to the COVID-19 rapid research funding can resubmit their application to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.

The Fall 2020 competition deadlines and peer review timeframes have shifted from our typical Fall competition dates to ensure that a gap continues to exist between when applicants receive their results from the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition and the registration and application deadlines for the Fall 2020 competition. The same will apply to the results of the Fall 2020 competition and the application deadline for the Spring 2021 competition.

  • Registration deadline: September 16, 2020
  • Application deadline: October 15, 2020
  • Notice of Recommendation: February 16, 2021
  • Anticipated Notice of Decision Date: March 3, 2021 
  • Funding Start Date: April 1, 2021

On September 14, CIHR extended the Application deadline for the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition on ResearchNet by one day to October 15, 2020, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

There are a number of factors that influence competition success rates, including total budget available, grant size, and application pressure (i.e. number of applications under review). Given this variability, CIHR does not set target success rates for any competition—and avoids making projections until the final data are available.

As CIHR provided $22.7M in financial extensions to 164 Nominated Principal Applicants, the total funding amount available for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition was approximately $253 million.

CIHR’s emergency funding for COVID-19 research was not taken from the Project Grant funding envelope. It was a targeted component of the Government of Canada response to this crisis.

CIHR brought back the Notice of Recommendation (NOR) for the Project Grant competition starting with the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. As such, the NOR will be available for the Fall 2020 and ongoing.

CIHR hosted applicant webinars for the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition in late September.

Fall 2020 Project Grant competition – Application requirements

  • Canadian Common CV (CCV)
  • Panel Selection
  • Budget
  • Funding Length
  • Project Descriptors

Submission of a CCV is dependent on the role held by individuals on a grant. A CCV is required to be completed by the Nominated Principal Investigators NPI), Principal Applicant (PA), Co-Applicant (Co-PA). A Knowledge User is a type of individual that are required to submit a CCV when they are in the NPI, PA or Co-PA role. Collaborators are not required to complete a CCV

A CIHR PIN is required for the Nominated Principal Applicant, Principal Applicants and Co-Applicants. It is important to provide a validated PIN for all Collaborators, however it is not mandatory for Collaborators.

There is no maximum amount for a budget for an application to the Project Grant competition.

There is no minimum or maximum amount of funding length for the Project Grant competition.

Should applicants select duplicate values in the primary entry fields of the of Science, Methods/Approaches and Study Populations/Experimental Systems Descriptors subtask sections, ResearchNet will display an error indicating that duplicate values are not accepted. Despite the displayed error, the selected entries are saved and the submission of the registration or application is not hindered.

Project Grant competition - Modifications between the Registration and the Application stages

  • Peer Review Panels
  • Title of Application
  • Budget
  • Members
  • Research Proposal Summary

An applicant cannot change their preferred peer review committee and the title of their application between the Registration and the Application stage.

An applicant can make modifications to their budget and can add members to their application between the Registration and Application stage. The Nominated Principal Applicant must however remain unchanged between the Registration and Application stage.

An applicant has the opportunity to make modifications to their research proposal summary between the Registration and Applications stage. However, this change is not recommended.

For more information, please consult the Project Grant application instructions.

Fall 2020 Project Grant competition – for  grant officers

  • Test applications

Test applications for grant officers and/or administrators at institutions can be created in the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition by contacting the Contact Centre.

Fall 2020 Project Grant competition –Early career researcher (ECR)

  • Support for ECRs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

On September 9, CIHR released a message indicating that the clock has been temporarily paused for ECRs affected by COVID-19. All those who held ECR status 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.

Fall 2020 Project Grant competition – Responding to reviewer comments

  • Reviewer responsibility
  • How to respond to reviewer comments

Starting in the Fall competition, applicants will be required to append all reviews if they fill out the respond to previous reviews page.

It is mandatory for reviewers to read previous reviews as well as the applicant’s response.

Applicants are not required to explain why they are responding to some reviewer comments and not others in their application. However, additional context is helpful for reviewers.

Applicants can select a different peer review committee when they are re-submitting an application. This will not affect their ability to respond to previous reviews since applicants have the opportunity to rationalize why they selected a specific committee.

As in previous competitions, if an applicant resubmits an unsuccessful application, they may provide a response (up to 2 pages) to previous reviewer comments.  In the past, only responses to previous reviews from Project Grant applications could be included in Project applications. CIHR has decided, however, that for the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition, applicants will be permitted to also include a response to previous reviewer comments from their application to the COVID-19 strategic competitions and any other CIHR strategic competitions. This decision will be re-evaluated prior to the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition. For more information on how to include previous reviews in your application, please consult the Project Grant application instructions.

Spring 2021 Project Grant competition

  • Timeline
  • Registration deadline: March 4, 2021
  • Application deadline: April 1, 2021
  • Anticipated Notice of Decision Date: July 22, 2021
  • Funding Start Date: October 1, 2021

Eligible grant expenses

  • Sanitation Costs
  • Conference and Travel Fees

CIHR will defer to administering institutions to determine if incremental costs are consistent with the principles and directives set out in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.

Purchase of sanitation products and personal protective equipment (PPE) may be an appropriate use of grant funds, should the expenditures meet all requirements as assessed by the administering institution.

Grant expenditures must meet the following four basic principles:

Conference and travel fees remain an eligible grant expense.

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