Postdoctoral Fellow Peer Review Pilot

CIHR is committed to supporting the development of the next generation of health researchers by accelerating their research independence and leadership. Developing peer review skills through hands-on experience is important for the career development of emerging researchers. To aid in developing these skills, CIHR invited postdoctoral awardees to participate as reviewers for the Doctoral Research Award (DRA) competitions.

The objectives of these pilots were:

  1. To give Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) an opportunity to develop their peer review skills; and
  2. To assess the feasibility of integrating hands-on peer review experience as a training opportunity for all CIHR-supported PDFs.

The first pilot provided data on Banting postdoctoral awardees serving as reviewers for 2016/17 DRA competition. Overall, the results of the pilot indicated that through our peer reviewer training approach, PDFs served as appropriate reviewers. The follow-up survey indicated that PDFs found the peer review experience to be useful for their future. Detailed results can be accessed below.

The second pilot, currently being run through the 2017/18 DRA competition, aims to validate the results of the first pilot, and to further assess and validate the feasibility of broader integration of peer review experiences for PDFs. Pilot # 2 includes an expanded group of postdoctoral fellows (Banting and CIHR PDFs).

Postdoctoral Peer Review Pilot #1


A total of 47 Banting PDFs were recruited and trained to serve as reviewers. Each application was reviewed by two reviewers as per the DRA competition review process. There were two reviewer groups: a Regular-Regular group that only included regular reviewer pairs; and a PDF-Regular group that included PDF and regular reviewer pairs. Each application was assigned a maximum of one PDF reviewer in the PDF-Regular reviewer group. Both Regular and PDF reviewers were assigned an average of 10 applications each.

A survey was conducted at the end of the pilot, inviting both reviewer types to assess overall experience.


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