Update on the Fall 2022 Project Grant competition
Message from Christian Baron and Adrian Mota
As it's been a while since CIHR last reached out to you all regarding the Project Grant competition, we want to take this opportunity to bring you up to speed on a few developments. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone, be they peer reviewers, committee Chairs and Scientific Officers, members of advisory bodies, or members of the broader health research community, who provide CIHR with such strong support and guidance.
At the outset, we want to acknowledge that stability is important to you, and so we are not making any substantive changes to policies or processes for the Fall 2022 Project Grant competition.
Peer review meeting format for future competitions
As public health authorities brace for a resurgence of COVID-19 in late summer and early fall, we have taken the decision to continue the use of virtual peer review committee meetings for the Fall 2022 Project Grant competition, which launched on July 5.
We are currently considering possible models for what peer review committee meetings will look like in the future. This includes some mix of in-person and virtual committee meetings. This could take the form of alternating seasonal meetings where, for example, peer review for the fall competition is held fully virtually and meetings for the spring competition are held fully in person in Ottawa.
This is not a decision we are going to make without consulting you. You may recall that in spring 2021, we surveyed the community on this very topic, and what came through was a clear preference for in-person meetings complemented by a virtual option. As individual circumstances and opinions may have changed since then, and as technology continues to advance and present new options for virtual and hybrid meetings, we recently sent out another survey to those who participated in peer review for the Spring 2022 Project Grant competition to hear their perspectives on the matter. The results from both surveys will inform future directions for peer review at CIHR, as will considerations around the benefits of both models, impact on the environment, costs, etc. We will share the results of the most recent surveys with you soon.
Changes to peer review committee mandates
To ensure Project Grant peer review committee mandates remain relevant in the current research environment, and in consultation with the reviewer community during the Spring 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022 Project Grant competitions, we have made some minor updates to the mandates of thirty-eight peer review committees and permanently dissolved two others. Please be sure to read in detail the committee mandates of relevance to your proposed work. Should you have questions about which panel mandate is the best fit for your research, please reach out to your institution or to CIHR directly. Here, we would like to highlight the more significant changes:
- We have permanently dissolved the Development Biology (DEV) and Endocrinology (E) committees due to consistently low application numbers; their focus areas can now be found in other committees' mandates, for example, Cell and Developmental Physiology (CBC) and Clinical Investigation A: Reproduction, Maternal, Child and Youth Health (CIA)
- We have replaced the Immunology & Transplantation (IT) committee with the Immunology (IMN) committee
- We have renamed the Systems & Clinical Neurosciences (NSA) committee as the Systems & Circuits Neurosciences committee
- We have renamed the Cell Biology – Physiology (CBC) committee as the Cell and Developmental Physiology committee
"Pausing the clock" for early career researchers
As you likely know, CIHR had extended the time period in which individuals are considered early career researchers (ECRs). This was to account for the impact of the pandemic on this group of individuals and saw the time window increase from 0-60 months to 0-84 months. This has an impact in the Project Grant competition on eligibility for the ECR equalization process and the Reviewer in Training (RIT) program. However, as research activities start to return to normal, at least to some extent, CIHR will not further extend this time window. Those ECRs who are outside of the 84-month window as of the application deadline will no longer be considered ECRs.
Update on the across-the-board cut and modular budgets
As you may recall from an earlier message, CIHR has begun the process of looking at removing the across-the-board cut in tandem with implementing modular budgets. We are continuing to assess these changes and model their impacts, and discussions are far from final. Rest assured that we will consult the community on these and any other changes and we look forward to sharing more information with you as our work progresses.
Revised Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Self-Identification Questionnaire
Finally, those applying to the Fall 2022 Project Grant competition may notice that we have updated the Tri-agency Self-Identification Questionnaire. In response to feedback from the community and an assessment of our legal options we have revised and expanded the questionnaire to include new, more granular questions about sexual orientation and different racialized groups, and revised questions about Indigenous identity, and disability. The revised questionnaire provides CIHR with more complete self-identification data and enhances our ability to examine our competitions through an intersectional lens.
We wish you all good health and thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Christian Baron
Vice-President, Research – Programs
Associate Vice-President, Research Programs – Operations
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