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CIHR University Delegate Report: June 2018
Following are brief highlights from the June CIHR University Delegates teleconference:
As has been the case for several months, still no word on who the next CIHR President will be. CIHR did announce six new appointees to Governing Council.
Update: Sex and Gender Peer Review in the Project Grant Competition
Delegates were provided an update on efforts to fully integrate sex and gender considerations into grant adjudications. That full presentation can be found here. You will recall that these efforts began back in 2009, when the government mandated that federally supported research must benefit all. These efforts have started paying dividends, as CIHR has seen a substantial increase in the proportion of successful investigator-initiated applications with integration of sex and/or gender (2010 vs 2016 data). Still, there have been inconsistencies in the feedback applicants have received in this regard. Beginning with the Spring 2018 competition, peer reviewers were given directives to improve this feedback, and were provided a YouTube video (“Sex and Gender in Peer Review”) that is accessible to all CIHR researchers. All Chairs and Scientific Officers also completed one IGH training module, and at least one individual with sex and/or gender expertise within the field of study was represented on each Panel. Note that resources are also available on the CIHR website. In addition, CIHR is designating “Sex and Gender Champions” who can provide training and mentorship to interested institutions. For future competitions, institutions are being encouraged to include sex and gender integration criteria in their respective internal peer review sessions.
Finally, delegates were alerted to an initiative underway to promote indigenous students and researchers (particularly those 18 to 30 year-olds), providing, for example, travel awards to encourage their participation in discussions of “Indigenous Gender and Wellness”.
Delegates were provided a quick review and update of CIHR’s SPOR initiative. That full presentation can be found here. The core elements of this initiative continue to be the Support Units, Networks, Capacity Development (much of which is taken up by the other elements), Clinical Trials, Patient Engagement and “Enabling Functions”. This latter component in particular is focused on developing a national data platform to improve access to cross-jurisdictional health data. SPOR initiatives continue to require 1:1 partner funding (“buy-in”), a requirement that some regions continue to struggle with despite the ability now to include some in-kind costs to achieve this leveraging. It will be interesting to see if this requirement is reconsidered in the next iteration of this program. And while this initiative remains “patient” focused, it has become increasingly acknowledged that we are considering more generally “people’ and the “public” in an overall effort to improve healthcare systems and practices.
Project Grant Update
Panel discussions for the Spring 2018 competition continue, with ~ 15 more panel meetings to be completed by June 15th. The Notice of Decision (NOD) date remains July 10th, with an October 1st funding start date. More information regarding the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 competitions will be posted by mid-July; the registration and application deadlines for the next competition are expected to be August 15th and September 12th, respectively. CIHR indicated that we can expect to see some changes to the Peer Review Committee (Panel) mandates.
Foundation Grant Update
Very little to report here. Final Assessments (Stage 3) for the remaining 58 applications will be taking place June 12th and 13th, with a NOD of July 17th. No word yet on what the Fall competition will look like as we await a response from Governing Council to the recommendations put forth by the Working Group.
There are not many summer opportunities to report on. A call for projects to “Understand the Health Impact of Inactivity” has a July 24th registration (application due August 21st); a Phase 2 call for Point of Care Diagnostics in Human Health also has an August 21st application deadline.
This will be my last University Delegate update as I pass the torch to Dr. Roger McLeod, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Medicine. It has truly been a pleasure to serve the health research community. I remain hopeful that Dalhousie researchers will continue to come back strong from the dark days of CIHR “Reforms”, and want to wish all those with applications in the Spring 2018 competition the best of luck (as there is always just a modicum of luck when the difference between funded and unfunded is razor thin!). I encourage you to continue to participate as much as possible in internal peer review opportunities, either as an applicant or reviewer. Strong applications can only add to Dalhousie’s reputation as a leading health research institution.
CIHR University Delegate
Associate Vice-President Research
- New Frontiers in Research Fund ‑ Exploration
- Innovative Therapies Program
- Cures Within Reach
- Canadian Blood Services Intramural Research Grant Program
- Mitacs: Canadian Science Policy Fellowship
- AGE‑WELL Core Research Program 2020
- Atlantic PATH
- China‑Canada Scholar Exchange Program (CCSEP) 2019‑20