Summary of July 2021 CIHR "Ask Me Anything" Webinars about the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition
CIHR held four "Ask Me Anything" webinars related to the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition on July 20, 22, 26, and 28, hosted by Adrian Mota, Associate Vice-President of Research Programs.
The following summary provides key information shared during the discussion. More information about what you should know for the Fall 2021 Project Grant Competition can be found on CIHR's website.
If you have additional questions or need more information, please get in touch with the CIHR Contact Centre.
The Project Grant competition returns to its regular, pre-pandemic schedule for the Fall 2021 competition.
The competition deadlines for the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition are:
- Registration deadline: August 18, 2021
- Application deadline: September 15, 2021
- Peer Review Committee Meetings: November 16 to December 16, 2021
- Notice of Recommendation: January 19, 2022
- Notice of Decision: February 2, 2022
- Funding start date: April 1, 2022
Changes for the Fall 2021 Project Grant Competition
The following changes implemented in the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition will continue for the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition:
- Summary of Progress
- Removal of weighted scores
- Applicant Profile CV
- Ensuring equitable access to research funds
For more information about the changes implemented in the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition, please see the Summary of the February 2021 CIHR "Ask Me Anything" Webinars.
Extension to the Authority-to-Use-Funds date
CIHR is providing an extension to the authority-to-use funds date for any grant at the request of a researcher.
These requests, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, must be submitted to the CIHR Contact Centre by the administering institution following the guidelines outlined in the Tri-Agency Guide on Financial Administration.
Extension to Early Career Researcher (ECR) status
CIHR is extending the pause for all ECRs for one additional year (to 0-84 months from 0-72 months) unless an individual submits a request to opt out of the pause.
Any ECRs who wish to opt out can register their choice to do so by submitting a request to the CIHR Contact Centre no later than the application deadline. Individuals should copy their institution on the request to keep them informed.
Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee
The tri-agencies launched a one-year pilot of an Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee. This committee is a response to recommendations made in the Fundamental Science Review to ensure the agencies have robust mechanisms to review and support interdisciplinary research.
Individuals or teams applying for the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition (and SSHRC Insight Grants and NSERC Discovery Horizons Grants) are eligible to apply to the interdisciplinary peer review committee. Applications considered relevant for review by this committee must represent research across disciplines and subject areas pertaining to two or more of the (1) social sciences and humanities, (2) natural sciences and engineering, and (3) health and wellness, and clearly articulate interdisciplinary approaches.
Applicants should submit their application to Project as they normally would and can direct their application to the tri-agency interdisciplinary peer review committee (TIR) at the time they apply (similar to any other peer review committee). If deemed not relevant to the committee, the application will go to the second selected committee on the application. Applications reviewed within the TIR committee will undergo a peer review process which is distinct from that of the regular Project Grant competition, and will be evaluated against specific evaluation criteria.
While applications from the three funding agencies will be reviewed by the shared interdisciplinary committee, they are competing only against applications submitted to the same agency. The funding will be provided and grants will be administered by the agency to which the application was submitted.
For more information, consult the Tri-Agency Interdisciplinary Peer Review Committee webpage.
Please note that applicants (or applicant teams) cannot submit an identical project to more than one agency.
Summary of Progress
We received positive feedback on the Summary of Progress following the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition. The Summary of Progress supports an applicant's research proposal by allowing them to describe how the application fits into their overarching research program and to contextualize progress and productivity.
The Summary of Progress should:
- Contextualize any results from your research activities that support the current application;
- Outline the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your research, in terms of feasibility;
- Contextualize the application and proposed budget in relation to overall relevant funding pending, held currently or previously.
Applicant Profile CV
The Applicant Profile CV can only be used for knowledge users, non-academics, Indigenous organizations, and international applicants. These eligible applicants may choose to submit the CIHR Biosketch CV or the Applicant Profile CV. The Applicant Profile CV was been refined with input from various stakeholders, including Indigenous community members and researchers.
All Canadian academic applicants must submit a CIHR Biosketch CV, using the Canadian Common CV (CCV) interface. Non-academic individuals, including university staff not in the role of an independent researcher, should use the Applicant Profile CV.
For more information, please consult the Project Grant application instructions.
Response to previous reviews
If resubmitting a research proposal, applicants may include a response (max. 2 pages) to the reviews of any previous submissions to a Project Grant competition or any other strategic grant competition. Applicants must include in the Attachments section all reviews and Scientific Officer Notes (if available) received in that round of submission. These reviews do not count toward the 2-page response limit.
Applicants do not have to respond to all comments in the reviews. It is suggested that applicants may consider grouping the points raised by reviewers by then and/or only replying to those that are relevant to the revised application. It was also noted that it is possible to disagree with reviewer comment by providing evidence to support the argument being made.
Reviewers are not required to read all or part of your response if it exceeds the two-page response limit or if the applicant does not include all previous reviews being addressed.
For resubmitted applications, it is possible to change the requested peer review committee by providing sufficient justification for why the change is being requested.
Since 2018, CIHR has funded a median of 370 Project Grants per competition, with a median success rate of 15.3%. CIHR is only able to fund this number of grants because an across-the-board cut of 23.5% is applied to all awarded amounts (in addition to any reduction recommended by the committee). If CIHR had not applied the across-the-board cut in these competitions, the median number of grants funded per competition would have fallen by 87, to 283 grants funded—a success rate of 11.7%. This assumes that no other competition parameters changed (e.g., size of grant requested by the applicant).
While CIHR remains committed to eventually removing the across-the-board cut, we recognize that removing the cut has important implications for our competitions and that the community will require time to adapt. The decision was made to delay implementing this change, to ensure that peer review committee members have the information they need to properly assess budget requests, and that applicants become comfortable using the Summary of Progress to clearly contextualize their budget requests. CIHR will work with researchers, Chairs, and SOs to develop an approach to support the eventual implementation of this change.
For more information, please consult CIHR's website.
Priority Announcements (PAs) are additional sources of potential funding for highly ranked applications submitted to the Project Grant competition. The PAs outline specific research areas relevant to CIHR Institutes and Strategic Initiatives as well as CIHR partners. To be considered for a PA, applicants must specifically identify to which priority areas their application aligns with and ensure they complete the additional steps in their submissions.
There are three types of PAs:
- Bridge Grant / Multi-year Grant
- Supplemental funding
- Prizes / Awards
For the Project Grant competition, applicants can apply to up to three PAs. PAs offer funding for highly ranked and meritorious applications that fall below the funding cut-off of the competition and that are relevant to specific CIHR research priority areas or mandates.
Details on how to apply are available in the Project Grant Application Instructions. For more information, please consult the Priority Announcements Frequently Asked Questions.
Remote Peer Review
As signaled in Adrian Mota's July 2021 message to the community, peer review committee meetings for the Fall 2021 Project Grant competition will continue to be conducted virtually using MS Teams. CIHR has heard from the community that face-to-face and virtual meetings both have their strengths and weaknesses. The decision to continue with virtual peer-review directly aligns with Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it is important to reiterate that this virtual approach is not permanent. CIHR is surveying all those who participated in the Spring 2021 competition for their thoughts, and has also lauched a survey to the wider community.
The program launched for the first time alongside the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition (replacing the Observer program), with 122 Early Career Researchers (2 per committee) participating in the new Reviewer in Training (RiT) Program. 97% of the participants noted that they would recommend the program to their peers.
The program is being offered again as part of the Fall 2021 Project Grant Competition.
Quality of Reviews
Assuring the quality of reviews remains a priority for CIHR. The Review Quality Assurance (RQA) Process measures and monitors reviewers' participation and performance in peer review. The process is designed to encourage and support high quality reviews as well as recognize good performance by reviewers.
The CIHR Standards of Practice for Peer Review (SPPR) were created to promote transparency and support review quality excellence by clearly outlining peer reviewer responsibilities.
CIHR staff, Chairs and Scientific Officers will use the Reviewer Quality Feedback Form to provide information on the performance of reviewers throughout the peer review process and highlight reviewers that are outstanding or need support. Participants were also encouraged to provide CIHR with low quality reviews when they were received so that they could be assessed and investigated as appropriate.
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