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Mock Review Toolkit: Planning the Simulation

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3.1 Logistics Planning

Long description


  • Draft High-Level Timelines
  • Select Location

Week 1: Light Simulation

Week 1: Full Simulation

Week 1: Internal Simulation

Draft High-Level Timelines

  • Establish a promotion and invitation period, including a registration deadline, for potential participants.
  • For the Internal Simulation, establish a call for internal applications, including a deadline for their submission.
  • Establish deadlines for tasks that should be completed prior to the Committee meeting, which include Reviewer's declaring their conflict of interest, ability to review, and submitting their reviews.
  • Identify the date and time for the Committee meeting and the Pre-Simulation Training Session (optional).

Select Location

Select the location for the Committee meeting and the Pre-Simulation Training Session (optional).

  • If the Committee meeting and/or Pre-Simulation Training Session is in-person, select a location based on the number of Reviewers in the simulation.
  • If the Committee meeting and/or Pre-Simulation Training Session is virtual, identify the conference platform to use (MS Teams, Zoom, etc.).


Master Planner (Please contact the College of Reviewers for this resource)

This document contains multiple worksheets to help Facilitators plan and run their simulation, including: example timelines, worksheets to track participants, conflicts of interest, and ability to review responses, as well as worksheets to help organize and assign applications.

3.2 Invite Facilitator and Committee Executives

Long description


  • (Optional) Identify and invite Facilitator(s)
  • Identify and Invite Committee Executives

Week 2: Light Simulation

Week 2: Full Simulation

Week 2: Internal Simulation

(Optional) Identify and Invite Facilitator(s)

  • Identify and invite the lead Facilitator for the simulation if it is someone other than yourself.
  • If the Committee meeting is virtual, or you plan on having multiple Committees, consider inviting a second or third Facilitator.

Identify and Invite Committee Executives

  • Select the Chair(s) and Scientific Officer(s) based on their previous CIHR review experience.
    • The Chair should be an experienced reviewer who has participated in review for the Project Grant Competition at CIHR.
    • Scientific Officers can either be an experienced reviewer, or you can have Facilitators and/or Reviewer participants rotate through the role.
  • Assign the Chair and Scientific Officer(s) to the Committee(s)
    • 1 experienced Chair, and 1-2 Scientific Officers, per Committee is suggested.

3.3 Promote Mock Review Simulation

Long description


  • Prepare Promotional Materials
  • Send Promotional Materials

Week 3-5: Light Simulation

Week 3-5: Full Simulation

Week 3-5: Internal Simulation

Prepare Promotional Materials

  • Use the Promotional Materials for Simulation sample email to help prepare your own promotional materials to advertise the mock review simulation.
    • The promotion period should include a registration and selection process for potential Reviewers and clearly list any eligibility criteria or restrictions on participation, particularly if specific expertise is required or limited spots are available.
    • Ask potential Reviewers to indicate their expertise as part of the registration process. This will assist Facilitators in selecting applications to use in the simulation.
  • For Internal Simulations, use the Call for Internal Applications sample email to prepare a call for internal applications.
    • Identify how internal applications will be solicited. Who will be contacted? What are the selection criteria? What is the submission deadline? What are the constraints, if any, on Theme(s) and/or Area(s) of Science? Are there any individuals applicants would prefer not review their applications?

Send Promotional Materials

  • Send promotional materials to potential mock Reviewers by email and/or advertise the simulation through a web posting.
  • For Internal Simulations, send a call for internal applications to upcoming Project Grant applicants within your institution.
  • (Optional) Identify and invite guest speakers for the Pre-Simulation Training Session – see Pre-Simulation Training for more information.


Sample Email: Promotional Materials for Simulation
You may also promote your simulation through other mediums, such as web and social media.

Sample Email: Call for Internal Applications

3.4 Select Applications

Long description


  • Identify Where Applications Will be Sourced
  • Select Applications

Week 3-5: Light Simulation

Week 3-5: Full Simulation

Week 5-6: Internal Simulation

Identify Where Applications Will Be Sourced

  • For Light and Full Simulations, applications can be provided by the facilitator or can be chosen from a list of mock applications provided in the resources section.
  • For Internal Simulations, applications should have been solicited during the promotional period from upcoming Project Grant applicants within your institution – see Promote Mock Review Simulation section.

A list of mock applications is provided below under resources. Contact College of Reviewers for access to full mock applications. You will be required to sign a Confidentiality agreement prior to their release

Select Applications

Select applications in consideration of the type and scope of the simulation.

  • For the Light Simulation, it is suggested that the same 1-2 applications are assigned to each Reviewer.
  • For the Full and Internal Simulations, it is suggested that each Reviewer is assigned 2-4 applications, with up to 3 Reviewers reviewing the same application.
  • Note that these are suggestions. Please take into consideration the number of participants and their scope of expertise and modify the application pool, number of committees and their scope as necessary. Please see Select a Simulation section for more details.


Master Planner (Please contact the College of Reviewers for this resource)
This resource is also listed in the Logistics Planning section. It is indicated here again as it contains worksheets used to organize, track and assign applications.

  • List of Mock Applications

    We have provided a list of anonymized Mock Applications for use in the Light and Full simulations. These represent previously funded applications from the Project and Open Grant competitions across all four Pillars of Research (Biomedical, Clinical, Health Systems and Services, and Social, Cultural, Environmental and Population Health) in both French and English.

    Every application includes:

    • the 10-12 page anonymized grant proposal and a section on sex and gender

    Most applications include:

    • the Committee (PRC) to which it was originally assigned.
    • the Official Reviews and SO Notes from the original assessment as an additional resource.

    The PRC denotation is meant to help Facilitators better assign applications, as well as give participants a better perspective of how an application matches to a Project Committee Mandate. The Official Reviews and SO Notes can be used as additional educational tools to provide participants with real examples of these items in practice.

3.5 Select and Invite Reviewers

Long description


  • Identify and Select Reviewers
  • Invite Reviewers

Week 4-5: Light Simulation

Week 5-6: Full Simulation

Week 6-7: Internal Simulation

Select Reviewers

Identify and select Reviewers who have applied or registered for the simulation. Take into account any eligibility criteria and/or space limitations.

  • Be sure all potential Reviewers have provided you with their expertise. This will be particularly helpful if you do not plan on having Reviewers complete an Ability to Review task – see Assigning Applications section for more details.

Invite Reviewers

Mandatory: As part of the welcome email, include the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Peer Reviewers and Peer Review Observers form for Reviewers to complete.

  • Send the welcome email to selected and/or registered Reviewers, which will include relevant information, such as the date, time, and location for the Committee meeting.
  • For Internal Simulations, we recommend using this time to identify any possible conflicts between the Reviewers and the owners of the applications, both from the Reviewer and applicant’s perspectives.


Sample Email: Welcome to Reviewers
Includes important information on the Committee meeting

Mandatory: Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Peer Reviewers and Peer Review Observers Form
Must be attached to the Welcome Email to Reviewers. Facilitators must not distribute any CIHR Mock Applications to a Reviewer until said Reviewer has completed and returned a signed copy of the agreement form.

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