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CIHR University Delegate Report: October 2018

Posted by Danielle Andres on October 10, 2018 in Announcements

CIHR UD Meeting (Webcast) October 4, 2018

Hello everyone,

The October CIHR-UD meeting was held by webcast on October 4, 2018. Here are the highlights.

CIHR Update

Pierre Côté updated the group on CIHR governance. President Michael Strong started in the office this week. He announced his vision for the future in developing a strategy to move health research forward. CIHR-UD Executive Committee will meet with him October 15 to discuss the role of the UD group in his vision.

Pierre also announced the appointment of Dr. Tammy J Clifford to the position of Vice-President, Research Programs, effective October 29, 2018. Dr. Clifford will replace Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews, who has been serving as Acting Vice-President since May 2017. The announcement from Dr. Strong on this appointment is available on the CIHR website.  

The group was reminded of the upcoming deadline (October 10) for CIHR Gold Leaf Awards, and of opportunities to serve on CIHR Governing Council with deadlines of October 5 and 15.

Pierre also informed the group about the progress on the new Tri-Council Fund, the $275M high risk, interdisciplinary research fund. The CRCC (Canadian Research Coordinating

Committee) advisory group will control the fund. Consultations with the community concluded in September and the CRCC has proposed a funding design with two streams; one for smaller scale proof of concept proposals (3 year, $1M) and another for larger projects (up to 5 year, $20M). A Treasury Board submission has been made and a decision is expected on November 29, 2018 with rollout of the program to follow shortly thereafter. The design of the program can only be announced at that time, but it is expected to reward high risk, international and interdisciplinary programs but the consultations impressed on the CRCC that clear definitions and priorities be established. The community expects a different type of peer review, perhaps blinded and with international membership. It is anticipated that there may be targeted and investigator-driven competition streams. The UD group questioned whether we need the two streams, or whether the fund should be used to fund more of the smaller grants. The fund should also focus on teams with early career participants and diverse composition. There was also some question about whether the agency should select the priorities in special calls. Timelines for inaugural competition will be short.

There are scheduled system outages for maintenance on October 6-7, affecting Banting and Vanier websites. Also, ResearchNet will be shut down for maintenance on October 13.

Pierre indicated that minutes for the CIHR-UD meetings will be available in English within 3 working days of the meeting and in French within 7 working days.

Project Grant Update

Martine Lafrance presented the report on the September 2018 Project Grant competition.

Only 2498 proposals were received in the current competition, which is 5% lower than in the Spring 2018 competition and 27% lower than last Fall. Some concerns were expressed about the decline in numbers by some of the UDs. Peer review invitations have gone out to 2150 individuals and committees are being assembled; almost half of the requests to review were declined and more than 10% did not respond. Questions regarding equity/diversity/inclusion balance of committees are being addressed by CIHR, as new committee members are recruited. Reviewer assignments will begin on October 11, phased to allow 4-5 weeks for review before the committee meetings begin. Chairs/SOs aim for maximum of 8-10 applications per reviewer. As in the previous Project Grant competition, the bottom 50% of applications will be streamlined. Meetings will take place from November 19 to December 12. There are invitation-only webinars in English and French to prepare the reviewers. Decisions for this round of grants will be released on January 23, 2019. Concerns were expressed about Chair and SO attrition, leaving out experienced individuals to meet gender and language balance in these positions.

Research Data Management

Alison Bourgon reported that input received from stakeholder groups over the past 6 months is being used to revise the draft policy on Research Data Management (RDM). A phased implementation scheme is expected to begin in April 2019. This has been developed by Portage, with assistance of the Canadian Association of University Librarians (CAUL).

Strategic Update

New opportunities with deadlines in November and December include: Catalyst Grant: SPOR Innovative Clinical Trials (The Strategy for Patient Oriented Research) Application deadline: November 14, 2018

Centres for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other STBBIs Research (The HIV/AIDS Research Initiative with strategic leadership from the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity, the Institute of Indigenous Peoples' Health, the Institute of Population and Public Health and the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research) Application deadline: December 11, 2018

Indigenous Gender and Wellness: Idea Fair and Learning Circle (CIHR’s Institute of Gender and Health, Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Institute of Population and Public Health) Application deadline: November 8, 2018

Team Grant: Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2: Research Teams (The CIHR Roadmap Accelerator Fund (RAF) under the scientific leadership of the Institute of Genetics, Institute of Infection and Immunity, Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes and Institute of Gender and Health in collaboration with the Institute of Aging, Institute of Cancer Research, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, and Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, in partnership with Mitacs and JDRF Canada)

Application deadline: November 20, 2018

Results of recent Strategic Competitions:

Operating Grant: Canadian Cancer Society Innovation Grants (201803CCP) 236 applications received, 19 funded by CIHR ($1.665M invested over 2 years)

Operating Grant: Cancer Research Society Operating Grants (201802CRP) 167 applications received, 16 funded by CIHR ($0.96M invested over 3 years)

Team Grant: Canada-EU Data Flagship Collaboration (201804CDF) 18 applications, 6 funded ($4.284M invested over 4 years)

Grants Management System

Pierre Côté indicated that the decision on this has been made to move forward with a common research portal for tri-council grants. A new executive committee will be nominated and report to the three presidents. This was approved by the presidents in the last week. More details will be provided at a later date and the official announcement is expected shortly.

Foundation Grant Update

Aaron Jackson informed the group that Stage 1 peer review is beginning. The number of submitted applications is low, received 216 applications from 237 registrations. Reviewers have been secured for both stages; stage 1 conflict of interest/ability to review was sent yesterday. Options regarding 2019 competition are being explored, based on low application pressure. On November 4 a report will be presented to Governing Council. The distribution of funds between the Foundation and Project Scheme was requested by UDs but not available from staff.

Next CIHR-UD meeting is on November 1, 2018. Bye for now!!

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