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CIHR University Delegates' Report
Following are brief highlights from the November CIHR University Delegates teleconference:
CIHR has released a clarification regarding the budget for investigator-initiated programs (Project & Foundation). Of note is a somewhat higher budget for the Fall Project competition ($340M compared to the $225M that had been originally allocated per competition). $125M remains earmarked for the 2017 Foundation competition. In this release, CIHR also noted that success rates are not “pre-determined” and do not include any bridge funding that may be allocated.
With respect to staffing, two new Scientific Directors (Genetics; Infection and Immunity) are currently being recruited; the application submission deadline is November 14th. There were no new updates concerning the President search other than that interviews will be taking place this month. CIHR still anticipates that the position will be filled by the end of March 2018.
A survey directed at recent applicants is underway regarding peer review, with a focus in particular on making sure that the composition and mandates of the review committees meet the needs for those engaged in interdisciplinary work. This survey is now available to the community at large; note that the deadline to complete the survey is November 7th.
Finally, CIHR has created a Health Research Training webpage to serve as a “one-stop shop” for training opportunities and career resources that may be of interest to your trainees.
Project Grant Update
Reviews are ongoing for the Fall competition, with assignments to review being made in stages based on when the Committee meetings are to take place (these are scheduled from November 14th to December 14th). On average there are 53 applications per Committee (65 Committees in total), with a range of 22 (for the more social science oriented applications) to 80 (those involving clinical investigations), with an average of 23 reviewers per Committee (considering that reviewers will be assigned 8 to 10 applications, reviewers per application: [53x4]/9 = 23).
CIHR has indicated that the Spring/Fall competition dates are apparently now stabilized, with March/September submissions to be the (new old?) norm.
Foundation Grant Update
Not much to report here. Peer review is underway, with November 21-23 scheduled for online discussions; just over 100 reviewers are involved in Stage 1. Webinars for Competition Chairs have been set for November 5th and 8th. The Notice of Decision for Stage 1 remains December 7th, 2017. At this point, CIHR is anticipating that between 140 and 160 applications (of the 303 total) will be moving forward to Stage 2.
Two meetings of a working group to discuss the future of the Foundation program have taken place thus far. CIHR plans to post the Terms of Reference for this group as well as the membership list soon.
College of Reviewers
No new updates to report.
Odds and Sods
There was some discussion instigated by UDs regarding changes to the Institute Advisory Board (IAB) structure. You’ll recall that as part of the Reforms, individual IABs were done away with in favor of 5 “super” IABs (lets call this IAB 2.0). CIHR is now reverting back to the older structure (one IAB per Institute). Those folks who had been recruited for IAB 2.0 are now being given the opportunity to “select” one of the individual IABs; the exception here is the IAB overseeing Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, which will remain intact to service that Institute. There will be a future call to populate the remaining vacancies on these new-old IABs (sensing a theme here?).
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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