Opportunity for Early Career Researchers: Call for expressions of interest to the Spring 2021 Reviewer in Training program

The Reviewer in Training Program

The CIHR Reviewer in Training (RiT) program expands on and replaces the Observer program, based on evaluations of the Observer program as well as feedback from the community.

The RiT program offers Early Career Researchers (ECRs) a learning opportunity to gain a better understanding of the elements of high quality review and the peer review process through direct participation in the Project Grant competition with the support of a Mentor. RiT participants will be assigned three applications to conduct practice reviews, attend the peer review meeting, present one of their reviews, and participate in the committee discussion of their assigned applications.

Following completion of the RiT program, participants will be promoted within CIHR's Reviewer Pathway and are expected to participate in peer review when requested and available to do so.

Approximately 120 applicants will be selected, by lottery, which represents two opportunities per Project Grant Program committee. CIHR is committed to equitable and inclusive participation and may implement strategies in the lottery process to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Note: The peer review process for the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition will be delivered via video conferencing that best mimics the in-person face-to face process.

Program Parameters

RiT participants will be required to complete three learning modules: Unconscious Bias in Peer Review, Conducting Quality Reviews, and Assessing Sex and Gender Integration in Peer Review (approximately 30 minutes total). Additional supporting materials for conducting reviews, such as the peer review guide, committee's mandate, reviewer webinars, and the funding opportunity details will be provided.

Each participant will be assigned three applications to review based on their self-declared ability to review. Participants will also be assigned a Mentor (Committee Chair or Scientific Officer) that will be available to provide advice and support throughout the review process. Participants must submit their reviews to their Mentor before the meeting with sufficient time for the Mentor to provide feedback on review quality.

At the meeting, participants will have an opportunity to discuss their assigned applications and present one of their three reviews. Please note that only the most competitive applications will be discussed.

Note: The meeting participation parameters may vary to fit the committee context while still achieving the principles of the program.

Note: To learn more, refer to the RiT program Roles and Responsibilities information sheet for Mentors and Mentees (ECR participants).

Important dates

Virtual meetings will be held from June 1 to 30, 2021 on MS Teams. Exact dates will be confirmed with each successful applicant once they are assigned to a committee.


To be eligible to participate in the RiT program, individuals must meet CIHR's definition of an ECR and be working at a Canadian institution as of the application deadline of the Project Grant competition, April 1, 2021. Please note that CIHR has temporarily "paused the clock" regarding ECR status and this will apply within the RiT program.

ECRs who have submitted applications to or participated in past CIHR Observer programs are required to re-submit an application to be considered for this opportunity.

Candidates who are submitting applications as a Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) or Principal Applicant (PA) in the current Project Grant competition are eligible for this opportunity but will not be selected for a committee to which they have submitted an application as NPA and/or a PA.

ECRs who have previously reviewed for the Project Grant competition or are full members of the College of Reviewers are not eligible to apply.

Please note that participation in this program is not a prerequisite to becoming a CIHR reviewer in the future and an ECR may be solicited to review provided that they meet the expertise requirements and selection criteria associated to a CIHR program. This gained peer review experience will help towards an ECRs progression in the Reviewer Pathway. Further, ECRs who hold grant funding, will be invited to join the College of Reviewers as an Associate Member. Also note that a survey will be issued to all participants at the end of this process to inform refinements to the program.

How to apply

Note: Compensation for dependent care and phone and internet costs are available to successful applicants. Please consult the Frequently Asked Questions for the latest updates.

To express your interest in participating in this RiT program, please click on the button, “Apply Online” to fill out an application by February 26, 2021.

Step 1: Note, before completing the application you will need the following:

  • your CIHR PIN
  • a PDF of your biosketch Common CV (draft CCVs are not accepted)
  • a letter from your institution attesting that you meet the criteria to be considered as an Early Career Researcher
  • the names of two peer review committees – in order of preference – that you would like to participate on for which you have the appropriate expertise to review

All submissions will receive an acknowledgement email within five business days of receipt of the application.

Step 2: ECRs expressing interest will be required to complete CIHR's Equity and Diversity Questionnaire and their Reviewer Profile within two weeks of receiving their acknowledgement email.

It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that their application is complete – applications that are incomplete will not be considered.

All individuals who express their interest will be informed of the results by April 8, 2021.

Application information submitted for this opportunity may be shared with other areas of CIHR for consideration in similar opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca.

Apply Online

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