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University Delegates (UD) Meeting Minutes

Posted by Jaq-Lin Larder on September 19, 2022 in Announcements

Meeting minutes prepared by Eileen Denovan-Wright, Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Medicine

1. CIHR Updates

The Implementation of multifactor authentication within ResearchNet was presented for discussion. Several suggestions were provided by UD members regarding methods of authentication, along with feedback regarding how researchers will be impacted by the system change. CIHR is considering the points raised.

2. Project Grant Competition Update

Fall 2022 Project Grant Competition - Important Dates:

Application Deadline September 14, 2022
Release Notice of Recommendation (NOR) January 18, 2023
Anticipated Notice of Decision (NOD) February 1, 2023
Funding Start Date April 1, 2023

The Chair provided an update on the upcoming Fall competition deadlines and explained that peer review will continue to remain virtual for the Fall competition. There are nearly 2300 registrations, which is consistent with the past two competitions.

3. Early Career Researcher (ECR)- Pause the Clock

The Chair shared a recent update regarding the status of ECR extensions that had been brought in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As research activities start to return to normal, at least to some extent, CIHR will not further extend the time window. This means that CIHR is returning to the tri-agency’s standard definition of an ECR: “A researcher within five years of the date of their first independent research-related appointment.”

ECR Cohorts Status

Progressed out of ECR status before Mar. 1, 2020 N/A for extension – 60-month window

Held ECR status during extension window March 1, 2020-present). Extended ECR status of 84-month window

New ECRs entering system (Summer 2022) - ECR status for 60 month-window; however, CIHR will continue to assess if extensions or adjustments are required

Applicants are encouraged to contact CIHR’s Contact Centre ( to request an extension to their ECR status if they have concerns; requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Q. What does a case-by-case definition mean?

In evaluating applicants’ requests for an extension to their ECR status, CIHR will consider individual circumstances, including disruptions to researchers’ productivity due to illness, leave, and COVID-19.

Q. What counts as a leave?

We know that there are many reasons why a researcher’s productivity may be disrupted. CIHR will follow our standard definition of leave, including which types of leave are considered eligible career breaks. CIHR encourages applicants whose situations fall outside the standard definition, who believe their circumstance necessitate an exception, to contact CIHR’s Contact Centre to request an extension. For more information regarding eligible leaves, please visit the Tri-agency Guide on Financial Administration.

4. Questions & Answers from Delegates:

Q. Are we going back to face-to-face peer review in Spring?

Discussions are ongoing and no decision has been made yet.

Q. Should there be work done to make the RCT committee more inclusive?

CIHR has formed a temporary working group to review the RCT committee and identify opportunities to make it more inclusive. It is expected that the working group will have recommendations to bring forth in the near future for CIHR’s consideration.

Q: Increasing CIHR awards to trainees doesn't help those paid from grants.

Grants need to go up to give trainees a bare living stipend. One delegate stated “Our dept recently decided on $60,000 for starting PDF salary (plus benefits)”. CIHR is aware of this challenge and discussions are taking place to address grant amounts relating to trainee stipends. This is a high priority for Christian Baron, Vice President of Research Programs. The University Delegates support team will be issuing a survey in the coming weeks to query internal practices within the institutions participating in the UD network.

Q. In the last 2 Project competitions, CIHR instituted a policy that the Chair and SOs could NOT 'rescue' a streamlined application for discussion. This is worrisome when it could be due to one low rating (by a new reviewer). Can this be revisited?

There could be other reasons that the committee Exec could also want to have an application discussed. The Chair and SO can choose to pull an application from the streamlined pool. CIHR is conscious of the appearances around a specific application being ‘rescued,’ particularly around the risk of conflicts of interest.

Reminder: ResearchNet keeps a list of current funding opportunities.  ResearchNet - RechercheNet