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CIHR University Delegates' Report
Following are brief highlights from the June CIHR University Delegates teleconference:
Project Grant Update
The results from the Fall 2016 competition have now been posted. Included here is a breakdown by region (you’ll note that Nova Scotia had 2.6% of the applications but only 1.9% of the awards), as well as by CIHR Pillar and career stage. Recall that equalization was in place for early career folks. I did ask if individual cluster success rates were similar and, though not posted, I was told that these rates were comparable (~16.5%) with some possible minor skewing due to the sizes of grants awarded within a cluster. As per CIHR policy, reviewers will be identified (by cluster) 60 days following the competition (so mid-July). It appears that CIHR may now be willing as well to actually release the “names” of the clusters (currently, they are identified by number only).
As noted earlier, CIHR is opting to delay the next competition until August /September. Results from this competition would be expected in January, in time for March 2018 resubmission. (If you’re sensing that we are headed back to the September/March cycle of old, you’d be right.) Some changes with respect to peer review for this next competition have already been announced, including the clustering of reviewers, having Competition Chairs involved earlier in the review assignments, and ranking of applications only within each cluster. However, expect further modifications to the process as it comes under further scrutiny at the upcoming University Delegates face-to-face meeting later this month. CIHR did mention on the call that the clusters (or panels, if you prefer) for this competition will be named prior to registration, with applicants being able to suggest a panel for their reviews. How to define and periodically review these panels will be discussed at the face-to-face meeting.
Foundation Grant Update
Notices have now gone out to applicants indicating whether they are advancing to the final assessment stage (Stage 3). As with the Project competition, reviewer comments for unsuccessful applications are being withheld until the final notice of decision on August 3. In total, 121 applications will be considered in this final round, with those deliberations taking place July 10-11. It is not clear at this point how many applications will be funded, but based on past models (and considering the $25M that has been pulled from this competition), you can likely expect something in the range of 75 to 85 awards. We were reminded that registration deadline for the next competition is August 8th, though there is some question (at least among the UDs) whether there will in fact definitely be another round this year. Again, we expect this to be discussed at the UD face-to-face on June 23rd.
College of Reviewers
“Wave 1” enrollment is commencing June 15th, with potential reviewers meeting this criteria to be contacted directly by CIHR (see their website here). VPR offices will also be provided with the list and will be asked to provide additional nominations to CIHR for consideration in the next wave of recruitment (“Wave 2”) later this summer; self-nominations will be considered at this time as well. I pressed CIHR on the need to monitor the demographics of this recruitment and to address notable deficiencies early on. There was a fair bit of discussion about the (still) poor quality of reviews that cropped up in the recently completed Project competition and whether CIHR will actively seek to exclude the authors of said reviews from the College. Not surprisingly, the College will be another prominent agenda item at what is looking to be a very busy UD meeting later this month.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
CIHR University Delegate
Associate Vice-President Research
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