Update on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Peer Review Recruitment and Final Peer Review Working Group

From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research & Innovation
Date: September 14, 2016
Re: Update on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Peer Review Recruitment and Final Peer Review Working Group

With the recent announcement of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fall 2016 Project and Foundation grant competitions and CIHR’s current focus on strengthening its peer review practices through its Peer Review Working Group, it is now more important than ever that our researchers invest their time and expertise in the peer review process. The CIHR Working Group’s final updates have just been announced, and now clarify the review process details for the Project Grant competition. This final update also stresses the importance of the peer review process, stating that the “…the success of the overall system depends on the participation of experts such as yourselves.” Peer review activities enhance individual grant development and research skills and are essential to maintaining the effectiveness and fairness of the research funding system. Also, peer review activity is to be recognized in annual activity/promotion reviews.

CIHR has begun the first stage of peer reviewer recruitment for the fall 2016 competitions. They are contacting all potential reviewers in their database with an availability survey and a request to fill out a reviewer profile. After the Project and Foundation proposals are submitted, CIHR will match them with the reviewer profile data and assign a match score. These match scores will help inform Competition Chairs in assigning reviewers to applications. Once matched, CIHR will issue formal invitations to reviewers, with specific dates for participation.

Academic Peer Reviewers for the Project and Foundation competitions must meet the following criteria:

  1. Research Experience
    Independent investigator and at least 1 federally funded (or equivalent) peer reviewed grant as a Principal Investigator.
  2. Review Experience
    At least 2 peer review roles at CIHR or other recognized organization.
  3. Knowledge, Expertise, and Lived Experience
    Expertise within CIHR’s mandate.

Researchers can nominate themselves or be nominated, via support@cihr-irsc.gc.ca. If submitting a nomination, CIHR strongly encourages that the nomination also includes the information as to how the nominee meets the above criteria to facilitate the pre-screening process.

CIHR is also currently recruiting for Competition Chair positions. The criteria for these positions is:

  1. Significant Peer Review Experience
    Previous experience as a grant program committee Chair or Scientific Officer; or significant previous experience as a peer review committee member for a grant program; and past peer review performance was acceptable (followed appropriate policies, fulfilled their mandate).
  2. Independent Investigator status at a University or Research Institution
  3. Holds or has held Tri-council funding (or equivalent) within the last 5 years

If you are contacted by CIHR to potentially serve as a reviewer/Chair, you must fill out the “Reviewer Profile” module in Research Net. This is a new tool that CIHR will use to match reviewer expertise to applications. CIHR requires this to be filled out before they can issue invitations to participate as a reviewer. We encourage you to consider participating, and to contact CIHR with nominations, as well as any questions or concerns you may have about the review process.