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Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) University Delegates Update

Posted by Alana Milner on December 12, 2014 in Announcements, Health

Hi everyone,

Following is a brief update from the December teleconference for CIHR University Delegates:

Modernization of Institutes

Dr. Jane Aubin was on the call to provide an update on the changes being planned for the Institute structure at CIHR (a summary is provided here) and to address concerns that have been raised by the Institute of Aboriginal Peoples Health (IAPH) in recent CBC coverage.  Working groups to operationalize the Governing Council recommendations are in place, and Institute Advisory Board Chairs will be meeting with CIHR in January. No timeline has yet been set for a transition to the new structure, and IABs are being told to proceed with “business as usual” until a plan is in place. Dr. Aubin wanted to provide assurance that CIHR will be responding to the concerns being put forward by IAPH and other Institutes, but felt it important to clarify “incorrect” information. She noted, for example, that there is no loss in budget for the Institutes but rather a formalization of what is already happening with respect to pooling of 50% of Institute funds to enhance signature initiatives and promote cross-Institute collaborations ($4.3M would be “Institute specific” initiatives, with $4.3M earmarked for this common pool of funds). She felt as well that the issue regarding requirement of matching funds was portrayed inaccurately, indicating that leveraging for strategic initiatives – while necessary – did not strictly require 1:1 matching nor necessarily financial leveraging at all; the SPOR initiatives are the only ones with this 1:1 matching funds requirement. When asked why the internal and external reviews that formed the basis for the GC recommendations were not publically available, Dr. Aubin indicated that CIHR was not hiding these documents or afraid to release them, but that they would need to be translated before being made available. I suspect we will be hearing more on this issue in the coming weeks.

2014 Foundation Pilot Update
A summary of the results from the Stage 1 review process for this first pilot was provided (Summary here). A total of 1366 applications were reviewed, with an average of 5 reviewers for each application. Overall, 87/559 Early career researchers, 312/537 current CIHR grant holders, and 68/270 researchers who have never held CIHR OOG funds were invited to Stage 2. With respect to the 4 CIHR Pillars, the percentage of applications invited to Stage 2 generally coincided with the percentage of applications submitted (eg., 54% of the applications submitted were “Biomedical”; 55.2% of invited applications were “Biomedical”). CIHR will be looking to break down these results as well with respect to region and possibly by Institute. There was some concern among a few of the University Delegates that had participated in the Stage 1 review process regarding the lack of asynchronous online discussions, and whether the large standard deviations reflected poorly moderated discussions. It was generally felt as well that better criteria for “New Investigators” are needed when the next round of this Foundation pilot takes place in 2015-16. CIHR also clarified that Stage 1 reviews will NOT be used as part of the Stage 2 or Stage 3 adjudication process, and that any reviewers from Stage 1 that are taking part in Stage 2 will not receive the same applications. CIHR has promised to have available soon a Q&A regarding the Stage 1 decisions. Stage 2 application requirements are available on the CIHR website (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/47618.html) and interactive sessions for completing the Stage 2 application can also be viewed at: http://www.cihr.ca/lms/e/fdn_stage2application/. In addition, several webinars have been scheduled; register using the following link: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45096.html

CIHR did confirm that unsuccessful applicants in this first Pilot (either Stage 1 or 2) will be eligible to submit in this next Pilot, with the proviso that applicants should pay close attention to reviews received from this initial round before embarking on this route. Applicants not invited to Stage 2 in this first Pilot are, of course, still eligible to submit an application to the transitional OOGP competition. It is important to note that the registration deadline for this transitional OOGP is one month earlier this time around – January 9th, 2015 – with the application deadline set as March 2, 2015.

Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)
During the UD teleconference, information and the first call came out for the CFREF. You can find the news release here. More information is also available at a newly launched website.
 
Other Tidbits
The CIHR Annual Report 2013–14: A Portfolio for Health Innovation is now available on the CIHR website. The annual report highlights some of CIHR’s major achievements under the recently concluded five-year strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap, and sets the stage for the next phase. Finally, Dalhousie will be hosting CIHR on April 2, 2015 for their next round of consultations with the research community. More details regarding this visit, which will include a “Town Hall” meeting, will follow later in the new year.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Wishing you all a re-energizing holiday!

Regards,

Mark Filiaggi
CIHR University Delegate

Associate Vice-President Research
filiaggi@dal.ca
(902) 494-7102