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CIHR University Delegate Report: February 2018
Following are brief (and unfortunately, delayed) highlights from the February CIHR University Delegates teleconference:
CIHR will be launching the 2018 Institute Advisory Boards (IABs) membership renewal. The online web application form for this cycle will be available on February 26, 2018 and the deadline for applying will be April 9, 2018. More information is available on the CIHR website.
Project Grant Update
Results complete with breakdown by geography, career stage and Pillar, have been posted for the Fall 2017 competition. In total, 512 grants (123 Early Career Investigators – ECI) were awarded along with an additional 33 bridge grants. Overall success rates were 15%, with Dalhousie and its affiliated health centres posting a 13% success rate. University Delegates (UDs) questioned the logic of the 25% across-the-board budget cuts that have become the norm for these competitions, and the small number of bridge grants (there have been >100 in previous competitions). As you can imagine, the cuts were deemed essential to boost success rates (only 400 or so grants would have been funded without the cuts). The logic for the small number of bridge grants was less apparent, though it’s worth noting that each funded project grant is effectively equal to 7 bridge grants. CIHR was doing a bit of a balancing act here, but even still several panels were not able to offer a bridge grant. UDs also asked about the apparent variability seen in success rates by panels. CIHR noted that any variability that might occur is the result not only of the variable number of grant applications per panel (“the denominator”), but also because of the equalization applied to ECI grants (24% of applications were from ECIs, so success rates were adjusted to 24%) and the number of large grants funded (higher ranked grants may have gotten skipped when the allocation for large grants ran out). For those who feel they are a victim of an unfair or incomplete review, please send an email with sufficient details to the Contact Centre to initiate the appeal process.
Registration for the Spring 2018 competition is now closed, with applications due March 6th. Please take advantage of scheduled webinars for this completion. CIHR is looking at 64 Panels for this competition; thus far, 88% of the Panel Chairs and Scientific Officers have been recruited. Note that, new for this competition, applicants will be asked to justify the Panel being requested. Also new for this competition:
• Peer reviewers will be looking more intently at how you have accounted for sex and gender, and will provide appropriate written comments back
• Comments to previous reviews will still be allowed, but applicant must upload the previous reviews received.
• Streamlining (“triaging”) of applications will increase from a maximum of 35% to a maximum of 50% (ECIs are included in the planned streamlining).
Please pay attention as well to the priority announcements; a total of 9 have been posted, ranging from Aging to Microbial Resistance to Indigenous Health.
Foundation Grant Update
Not much to report here. The deadline for Stage 2 applications was February 6th (A total of 187 applicants had been invited to Stage 2). CIHR will be utilizing 20 Competition Chairs, who will be overseeing adjudication from early March to mid-April. No word yet on any planned changes to the Foundation program resulting from working group discussions. UDs did ask if/when 2015 ECI Foundation grant holders might be eligible to apply for Project grants. CIHR is reviewing this situation, as some ECIs are coming closer to the end of their Foundation grants and might be better served through the Project route.
College of Reviewers
CIHR has delayed its Wave 3 enrollment due to other administrative priorities and will now be providing universities with a list of folks to be tapped from their institutions in late February, about one week prior to these invitations being sent out.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
CIHR University Delegate
Associate Vice-President Research