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CIHR‑UD Report

Posted by Jaq-Lin Larder on February 19, 2019 in Announcements

Hello everyone,

The February CIHR-UD meeting was held by webcast on February 7, 2019. I was not able to participate in the call this month. However, here are the highlights taken from the CIHR staff minutes.

CIHR Update

Pierre Côté reported on three items:

  1. The University Delegates Executive Committee (UDEC) membership is expanding. CIHR is looking to increase interaction with the UDEC, and is seeking 3 new members including a new Chair for the group. Nominations, including self-nominations are being accepted, and CIHR wants to generate a diverse group including region, gender, career stage, etc. Specifically, there are gaps for early- or mid-career researchers, those with indigenous experience, and those in the Atlantic region and Prairie provinces, smaller universities and French language. There will be a March 20-21 meeting of UDEC in Ottawa. A full CIHR-UD group meeting is anticipated but not yet planned.
  2. Update on the CCV – There is a meeting about this next week, and an update is anticipated in March. There is a new centralized CCV helpdesk which should be helpful. They are currently discussing the usability of the interface and working on a common tri-agency template and fixing the most common issues.
  3. Position with CIHR Institute of Human Development Child and Youth Health – Scientific Director position is being recruited. To apply, see the following link. Closing date for applications is March 6, 2019.

Project Grant Update

Kelly Taylor provided an update. Registration just closed for the Spring 2019 competition, so nothing yet to report. Closing date for full application submission is March 6, 2019.

Fall 2018 Project competition results showed a $275M investment in research. There were 371 grants funded, 18 Bridge funding awards and 14 Priority Announcement Bridge funding awards. The average grant was $736K, 4.4 years. CIHR thanked the 1213 reviewers plus Chairs and SOs who made this happen.

CIHR staff discussed extending the gap between Fall decision announcements and Spring competition. Factors that impact this include the blackout period, no deadlines on Friday or Monday, 6 weeks between launch and deadline if possible, statutory holidays, or specifics to a competition (eg. number of applications or committees, time for CIHR staff to review the reviewers’ comments. There is not a lot of flexibility in the timing or it will cut into the time to review, which impacts the quality of reviews. The short timing is a consequence of having two competitions per year.

Some delegates commented that budgets in this program have become increasingly large and there is speculation that this is in response to the anticipated cut of 25% to all successful grants. It was suggested that capping budgets could help to increase the number of proposals funded. CIHR provided no comment on this idea.

The observer program is seen as a success by delegates, and the suggestion that they could play a more active role as a fourth reviewer. This is being considered at the tri-council level.

Some delegates have reported concerns about the adequacy of reviews received by unsuccessful applicants in the Fall 2018 competition. CIHR staff recommend reporting these on an individual basis through the contact center for assessment by staff and committee chairs. Delegates also suggested more objective measures be used for assessment of investigator expertise. CIHR reports that these are being considered at the level of committee chairs.

Concerns were expressed regarding clinical trials being reviewed in the Project competition. This is being discussed at CIHR. Other issues regarding changing distribution of funds in grants that are unequal on an annual basis (so-called re-allocation). CIHR requests specific examples to examine more closely. Several delegates have suggested that this should not impact the researcher when it does happen, but others have suggested that it does have an effect on the ability to manage research programs. CIHR staff will look into this.

New Frontiers Research Fund Update

Kim Douglas and Dominique Berube reported that the first round of applications for ECI are due next week for this scheme. Potential success rates – will fund up to 75 grants minimum, and the aim is to fund as many as possible. The review process has very short timelines, driven by fiscal year end of March 31. Internal assessment will be done after the reviews are received. Focus is on high risk, high reward; the idea rather than detailed methodology.

The other streams of NFRF are still under discussion and there will be information this spring on the next competition. It is anticipated there will be one competition per year, and ECI may not have a separate competition in the future.

Delegates suggested that it was not a wise decision to launch a new competition and a new portal at the same time. CIHR recognizes that there are challenges and are exploring options. They are directing resources towards support for this.

In response to questions, CIHR indicated that no applications were triaged, NOIs were only used to solicit reviewer expertise requirements. Reviewers will receive applications, they will provide scores, and the top one-third (300-400) will be reviewed for EDI (by senior management of CIHR) and interdisciplinary relative to what each council normally funds. The smaller pool will then be reviewed at a meeting in Ottawa. A peer review manual for this program is being assembled. In future, there will be one NFRF competition per year.

Scholarships and Awards Competitions Update

Fellowship: KRESCENT / CIHR Post-Doctoral Fellowship – Deadline 2019-02-01

KRESCENT / CIHR New Investigator Salary Award – Deadline 2019-02-01

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (2018-2019) – Deadline 2019-02-04

IHSPR Article of the Year Award – Deadline 2019-02-21

IHSPR Rising Star Award – Deadline 2019-02-21

Strategic Competitions Update

Cancer Research Society Operating Grants – Deadline 2019-02-13

Operating Grant: Transitions in Care – Evaluation Grants – Deadline 2019-02-05

Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program (2019) – Deadline 2019-02-26

Planning & Dissemination Grants – ICS – Deadline 2019-03-05

Team Grant: E-Rare-3 Joint Transnational Call (2019) – Deadline 2019-02-15

Team Grant: ERA-Net PerMed – Deadline 2019-03-07

Team Grant: Mental Wellness in Public Safety Team Grants – Deadline 2019-03-19

Strategic Competition Results

Operating Grant: Understanding the Health Impact of Inactivity (201808UHI) – 4/23 applications funded - $ 799,809 invested over 2 years

Operating Grant: ECI grants in Maternal, Reproductive, Child & Youth Health (201805MRC) – 10/63 applications funded - $ 957,754 invested over 3 years

Team Grant: Human Immunology Initiative: Research Teams -LOI (201810HUU) – 3/12 applications funded - $ 60,000 for 1 year

INMD Early Career Investigator Partnership Prize (201811NEC) – 3/3 applications funded - $ 7,500

IPPH Building Healthy Cities -Dragon’s Den (201811HCD) – 3/15 applications funded - $ 300,000 invested for 1 year

Operating Grant: Joint Programmeon Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)(201806ENG) – 3/5 applications funded - $ 878,651 invested over 3 years

Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2: Research Core (201809IMC) – 1/2 applications funded - $ 3,000,000 invested over 5 years

CIHR Clinical Trials Network in HIV/AIDS (201809HCN) – 1/1 application funded - $ 22,850,000 invested over 5 years

Network for Global Governance Research on Infectious Diseases -LOI (201809NGG) – 4/6 applications funded - $ 99,368 for 1 year

Prize -IHDCYH Talks (201810IHT) – 6/27 applications funded - $ 7,000

Team Grant: ERA-Net PerMed (201807ENP) – 10/13 applications funded - $ 3,819,626 invested over 3 years

Team Grant: E-Rare-3 Joint Transnational Call (201806ERT) – 5/11 applications funded - $ 1,051,551 invested over 3 years

Team Grant: GenderNetPlus (201807GNP) – 6/9 applications funded - $ 1,707,391 invested over 3 years

Team Grant: NEURON (201806NDD) – 8/23 applications funded - $ 1,125,000 invested over 3 years

Next CIHR-UD meeting is on March 7, 2019. Bye for now!!

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