Reviewer in Training – Roles and responsibilities


The CIHR RiT program offers ECRs a learning opportunity to gain a better understanding of the elements of high-quality review and the peer review process. RiT participants can do this by selecting either the role of a Mentee or ECR reviewer in their initial application.

Mentees will participate in the Project Grant competition with the support of a Mentor. They will conduct practice reviews on up to three applications, attend the peer review meeting, present one review, and participate in the committee discussions.

Applicants who have at least one recent federally funded (or equivalent) peer reviewed grant as a Principal Investigator may choose to apply as an ECR reviewer. In this role, they will participate in the same capacity as all reviewers and will have access to all of the supportive resources that CIHR provides to committee members. They will attend the peer review meeting, present their reviews, and participate in the committee meeting discussions including final consensus ratings, individual voting, and budget assessment. ECR reviewers will have a reduced number of applications to review (up to five) and be able to present their assigned applications later in the meeting.

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.


To provide ECRs with exposure to the peer review process and the opportunity to develop their capacity to conduct high quality reviews.

Participating as a Mentee

Roles and Responsibilities of a Mentee

The RiT Program can accommodate two Mentees per Project committee.

Before the meeting, the Mentee will:

Important: While a Mentee can ask their Mentor questions about the review process and review quality as it pertains to their practice review, scientific opinions and/or merit of an application should not be the focus.

During the meeting, the Mentee will:

  • be prepared to present any one of their reviews, noting that not all applications are discussed at a committee meeting
  • present their review and preliminary score as scheduled in the meeting agenda and sequence of steps
  • be able to compare their practice score with the consensus score
  • follow meeting participation parameters outlined by the Chair at the start of the meeting
  • not ask their Mentor questions during the meeting as they will be occupied with other tasks (CIHR staff remain available at all times)
  • not participate in the consensus discussion or final scoring of any application
  • not participate in the budget discussion of any application

After the meeting, the Mentee will:

  • note that Chairs and Scientific Officers provide feedback on Mentees using CIHR's standardized Review Quality Feedback form.
  • receive feedback from CIHR's College of Reviewers
  • note that their reviews are for learning purposes and as a non-scoring reviewer, their reviews are not shared with applicants.
  • be promoted to peer review processes at CIHR and participate when available
  • be invited to become an Associate Member if they meet the program's eligibility criteria

Roles and responsibilities of a Mentor

Before the meeting, the Mentor will:

  • be assigned a Mentee by CIHR staff in collaboration with committee executives
  • be introduced to the Mentee and will be asked to make themselves available to answer questions through MS Teams
  • read and assess the review quality of the practice reviews prior to the meeting
  • provide Mentee with constructive feedback on review quality

Important: While you can answer questions about the review process, review quality, and provide feedback on the practice reviews, scientific opinions and/or merit of an application should not be the focus.

During the meeting, formal mentorship stops however, the Chair and Scientific Officer will:

  • explain Mentee’s participation parameters at the start of the meeting during the sequence of steps presentation
  • encourage and make space in the meeting for the Mentee to actively participate
  • observe the Mentee’s participation throughout the committee meeting
  • record the Mentee’s comments during the discussion as anything they say will have an influence on the final consensus

After the meeting, the Mentor will:

  • consider meeting with their Mentee to debrief on their experience

Roles and responsibilities of CIHR

CIHR staff will be available to answer questions and support both the Mentees and Mentors throughout the RiT program.

Before the meeting, CIHR staff will:

  • introduce the Mentee and Mentor, providing them with an environment to collaborate (MS Teams)
  • assign Mentees up to three Project Grant applications for review
  • provide access to appropriate learning materials and webinars
  • provide Mentee instructions that outline meeting participation parameters

During the meeting, CIHR staff will:

  • ensure that the Mentee presents their review as scheduled in the agenda and sequence of steps
  • ensure that the Mentee follows meeting participation parameters

After the meeting, CIHR staff will:

  • collect Review Quality Feedback forms from Chairs and Scientific Officers, and provide feedback to Mentees
  • collect feedback from all participants about their experience with the program

Participating as an ECR reviewer

ECR reviewers will follow the same roles and responsibilities as all reviewers as outlined in the Project Grant manual except for the following differences:

  • be assigned up to five applications to review based on their self-declared ability to review
  • be able to present their assigned applications later in the meeting
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