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CIHR University Delegate Report: September 2018

Posted by Danielle Andres on September 10, 2018 in Announcements

CIHR UD Meeting (Webcast) September 6, 2018

Hello everyone,

The September CIHR-UD meeting was held by webcast on September 6, 2018. Here are the highlights.

CIHR Update

CIHR staff chaired the meeting as a group and reported on the changes in leadership at CIHR. The Chief Scientific Officer recruitment process is underway, and interviews were completed at the end of August. An announcement of the successful candidate is expected soon, with interim leadership extended until that time. New CIHR president Dr. Michael Strong will take office effective October 1.

Staff also reported that equity and diversity questionnaires have been completed by 9000 applicants and co-applicants so far. All applicants are reminded to complete the questionnaire in advance of applications.

The grant management discussion that has reported on previously is still at the stage of defining a plan whether or not to move forward. This will be brought to the tri-council president(s) in late September.

The tri-council Research Coordinating Committee has conducted consultation sessions around the country over the summer and will be completed next week. There is a new fund to promote cross-disciplinary research. The consultation will be used to prepare a submission to the treasury for consideration. If you have not already, please submit your suggestions as soon as possible.

Project Grant Update

Martine Lafrance reviewed the current Project grant competition. The number of registrations for the September competition is similar to the May competition. It is anticipated that 10-13% of the registrants will not submit a full proposal, based on past experience. Reviewer recruitment is ongoing, and grants will be assigned to reviewers in October. Notice of Decision will be available on January 23, 2019, with start date of April 1, 2019. There was extensive discussion of the decision by CIHR to move the deadline for submission to September 12 (a Wednesday) instead of the usual Monday deadline (September 17) when the 15th falls on a weekend. CIHR indicated that this was done due to concerns expressed by the research community that it is sometimes difficult to contact CIHR staff when the deadline is at the end of the week. Not all participants agreed with this logic. Any requests for an extension of the deadline would be handled on a case by case basis.

Some concerns were also addressed about project grants that are reviewed in the Randomised Clinical Trial (RCT) committee. Some of the submission guidelines for this committee have been modified in response to reviewer feedback and the changes have not been clarified in the peer review manual, or applicants and reviewers were not aware of the changes. CIHR wants applicants and reviewers to be aware that the most up-to-date information is available through links on the website. Furthermore, the mandates of several committees (E, GSH, GMX and MPI) have been updated, but CIHR assures the community that the scope of the committees has not changed. Researchers are urged to use all of the online reference materials that are available, including webinars and videos, for both applicants and reviewers. This is especially important for consideration of sex and gender in your proposals.

Questions regarding the budget available for the Project Competition were not immediately available from CIHR staff, but those interested were directed to the website. Concerns were expressed about the ability of CIHR to meet Equity, Diversity and Inclusion targets on peer review committees. CIHR staff indicated that these targets are not embedded in policy, but staff are making every effort to reach these targets nevertheless. Some questions regarding the ability to transfer indirect costs of research from Canadian institutions to foreign institutional partners. CIHR recognizes this issue and is looking into potential solutions.

University delegates reported that the CCV upload from PubMed function is not working properly and wonder about how this might affect those with applications currently in progress for the project scheme. CIHR staff are aware of the problem and a solution is being worked on. However, the solution is unlikely to be ready for next week’s deadline. There are also mitigation strategies that are being developed and these will be communicated to applicants as they become available. Other functionalities in PubMed, or use of Google Scholar may be useful alternative strategies. Annik Poirier sent an email to UDs on Monday September 10 stating:

“In follow up to Thursday’s UD Network Meeting, this email is to provide an update on the technical issue with the Canadian Common CV affecting the functionality to import publications using the PubMed ID (PMID). However, users can continue to add their publications within the system and save their information using alternative methods.

The following options are recommended to address this issue and can be shared with impacted users:

1.         Add individual publications to the Journal Articles section of the CCV; and/or

2.         Import publications into the CCV by using an XML or BibTex file from a bibliographic database, such as PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Science.

Should you require further information or wish to discuss any CCV related matter, you can contact me directly (annik.poirier@cihr-irsc.gc.ca) or the CCV Support Team at support@ccv-cvc.ca.”

Foundation Grant Update

Registration for Foundation grants reached 237 which is quite low. This low number is going to present problems for the peer review process. Recruitment of reviewers is in progress and should be completed shortly. The report on the Foundation Scheme is expected to be completed soon and will be presented to Governing Council at that time. This will concern the future of the Foundation program.

Strategic Update

CIHR staff summarized the Strategic opportunity results for the past 2 months. The Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) competition is in Stage 2. Competition overview should be available in October. The 2018 Women Heart and Brain Health Chair Awards competition (201804WHB) received 23 applications and awarded 4 (5 years each, total $2.05M); Active and Assisted Living Joint Program (201705AAL) received 7 applications and awarded 2 operating grants (3 years each, total $330k); Team Grant in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Collaborative Project (201806MEF) received 1 application that was not funded.

Next CIHR-UD meeting is on October 4, 2018. Bye for now!!

Roger McLeod
CIHR University Delegate
Associate Dean (Research)
Faculty of Medicine