Updates for the Spring 2024 Project Grant competition
Message from the Vice-President and Associate Vice-President, Research Programs (Operations)

Dear colleagues,

As you start to turn your attention to the Spring 2024 Project Grant competition, which opens on January 10, 2024, we want to share some information on what will be new for this competition.

Virtual peer review for Spring 2024 competition

We can confirm that peer review committee meetings for the Spring 2024 competition will once again be held virtually. We acknowledge that there are differences of opinion about the optimal format for peer review and that there are benefits and drawbacks to both face-to-face and virtual meetings.

Our promise to you is that we will continue to prioritize and monitor peer review qualityFootnote 1 and take action as needed when quality does not meet the high standards the community rightfully expects.

Limiting the types of attachments that are allowed

New for the Spring 2024 Project Grant competition, CIHR will be limiting the types of materials that researchers can attach to their applications. We understand the desire to round out applications with supporting materials and additional preliminary data, but we wish to underscore that all research proposals should be written in such a way that they stand alone. That means that they should contain all the information required to support the assessment of the research plan and contain a complete description of the project.

At the moment, there is inequality in the process and among peer review committees, with some applicants attaching many supplementary documents to their applications while others do not, and some reviewers reading all attachments while others do not consult them. We realize that CIHR’s current policy—that attachments are allowed but that reviewers are not required to read them as part of their review of applications—contributes to this situation.

We recognize the enormous time commitment researchers make to preparing and reviewing applications. To ensure the equitable evaluation of proposals and based on feedback from the community, we are changing our approach to these supporting documents. Our new policy is designed to level the playing field.

Starting with the Spring 2024 Project Grant competition, the following attachments will no longer be accepted and if included, will be removed from the application:

  • Questionnaires, surveys, and consent forms
  • Supplementary tables, charts, figures, and photographs
  • Patient Information Sheets (for Randomized Controlled Trial applications)
  • Publications

Some attachments will continue to be mandatory, such as certificates of completion for sex- and gender-based analysis training modules and letters of community support from Indigenous partners as applicable.

Others will be optional, such as letters of collaboration that outline a specific service that will be provided such as access to equipment, provision of specific reagents, training in a specialized technique, statistical analysis, access to a patient population, etc., and additional CV information to account for any leaves, absences, illnesses, caregiving roles, etc.

Please consult the Project Grant application instructions for more information.

As always, if you have any questions or wish to speak with us on these or any other topics, please reach out to us, email the CIHR Contact Centre at support-soutien@cihr-irsc.gc.ca, or get in touch with your CIHR University Delegate, who can bring your question forward to us.


Dr. Christian Baron
Vice-President, Research – Programs

Adrian Mota
Associate Vice-President, Research – Programs (Operations)

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