RQA Checklist
Mock Review Toolkit – Project Grant Competition: Running the Simulation

For Facilitators: If the meeting is in-person, this resource is printed and distributed to participants during the meeting. If the meeting is virtual, send this resource as an attachment with the Confirmation of Committee Meeting email prior to the meeting. Please remove this instructional text before sending to participants.

The integrity of the peer review system relies on the ability of reviewers to exercise fair and rigorous judgement. The following checklist was developed as a practical tool to assist reviewers to apply the review quality criteria, which helps ensure consistent and fair reviews. Please refer to this checklist as you are writing your reviews.

Criterion Interpretation


Review comments are fair, understandable, confidential and respectful.

  • Review respects the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy
  • Absence of comments that suggest bias against the applicant(s) due to sex, ethnicity, age, language, career stage, institutional affiliation, or geographic location
  • Review is original, and written in clear and understandable language
  • Absence of comments that can be construed as sarcastic, flippant or arrogant


Review is thorough, complete and credible

  • Review contains a detailed justification of each rating, including meaningful and clearly expressed descriptions of both the application strengths and weaknesses
  • Comments align with the given rating
  • Review addresses all applicable adjudication criteria and does not include information that is not relevant to the adjudication criteria
  • All comments on grant content are factually correct
  • Absence of statements which could put into question the reviewer’s scientific knowledge or expertise


Review provides feedback that addresses the needs of reviewers, applicants and funders.

  • Review comments are constructive and may help applicants to improve their future submissions and/or advance their research
  • Review contains information that allows other reviewers to understand the reviewer’s rating(s)
  • Review is detailed enough to be used by CIHR to evaluate and refine review process elements
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