Foundation Grant: Review process

Did you know that peer reviewers now have to complete a training module on unconscious bias in peer review? Learn more about all the learning material available for peer reviewers.

The Foundation Grant program is supported by a three-stage competition and review process. Stage 1 and 2 review is conducted remotely by expert reviewers and will include online discussions amongst reviewers. Stage 1 reviewers assess the caliber of the applicant(s) and vision and program direction, while stage 2 reviewers assess the quality of the program and quality of the expertise, experience and resources. Competition Chairs are responsible for overseeing and supporting the stage 1 and stage 2 remote review process.

In tandem with stage 2 of the peer review process, reviewers are asked to review the budget requested and justification for each of their assigned applications to determine if the budget is appropriate to support the core proposed program of research and if it is realistic and well justified, given the researcher's calculated budget baseline. Reviewers will be asked to assess the appropriateness of the justification for requests that are higher than the applicant's funding baseline amount, and will recommend that the budget remain as requested or recommend a lesser amount.

CIHR is committed to ensuring gender equity is observed as part of the Foundation Grant Stage 1 decisions. CIHR will therefore ensure that the proportion of female applicants moving forward from Stage 1 to Stage 2 will equal the proportion of female applicants to the competition by taking corrective measures, if necessary.

Stage 3, the final assessment stage, involves a face-to-face discussion of applications by a multidisciplinary committee. This committee focuses on assessing applications that are close to the funding cut-off ("grey zone" applications) and demonstrate a high degree of variability in individual reviewer rankings. It integrates the results of the stage 2 reviews into its deliberations and makes recommendations to CIHR on which of these applications should be funded.

As announced on July 17, 2017, CIHR is implementing changes to the 2017-2018 Foundation Grant competition. It is expected that Stage 1 will continue as described above. The peer review process for stage 2 and 3 are under review and may change. We anticipate that the peer review focus and review criteria for each stage will remain the same for the 2017-2018 competition. For further details, please visit: Update on the Foundation Grant program.

Complete details on the peer review process can be found in the Peer Review Manual - Foundation. Applicants may wish to consult the Peer Review Manual when applying to the Foundation Grant program, in order to focus the information provided in their application.

Additional peer review learning resources such as learning modules are also available on the CIHR Learning Activities and resources web page.

Peer review membership

Peer review membership for the Foundation Grant competitions are posted online approximately 60 days after the funding decisions have been published on the CIHR website. Peer review members participated in accordance with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations.

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