Priority Announcements and the Project Grant: Spring 2018 competition – Frequently Asked Questions

CIHR is pleased to support a number of Priority Announcements as part of the Project Grant: Spring 2018 competition. The complete listing of Priority Announcements is now available.

1. What is a Priority Announcement?

Priority Announcements (PAs) are additional sources of potential funding for highly ranked applications that were not funded through the Project Grant competition. The PAs outline specific research areas relevant to CIHR Institutes and Initiatives, and applications that align with those areas may be selected for funding—without having to re-apply.

2. How does it work?

  • Applicants submit their applications to the Project Grant competition, following all application instructions as they normally would. The only difference in the application process is that the applicant can also identify up to three PAs for consideration.
  • Each PA will include a description of the target research area that it will support. Applicants are encouraged to read the description of all PAs to identify those that are relevant to their work. Some PAs will require the applicant to complete a relevance form by entering approximately one half-page of free form text to describe how and why their application is relevant to the areas described in the PA. For PAs that do not require a relevance form, the application’s relevance to a given PA will be assessed using the summary of your research proposal (from the application).
  • The application is assessed through the Project Grant peer review process, as usual.
  • The relevance form provided by the applicant will be considered by the CIHR Institute or Initiative supporting the PA. Applications deemed relevant to (or in alignment with) the research areas described in the PA will be considered for PA funding.
  • When the peer review process for the Project Grant competition is complete, funding decisions will be made. CIHR funds applications in rank order until the competition funds are exhausted. This is often described as the “funding cut-off.”
  • Inevitably, highly ranked and meritorious applications fall below the funding cut-off for the competition. It is these applications—the ones that are highly ranked but ultimately not funded through the budget available for the Project Grant competition—that may be supported through PAs. Note: Applications rated below 3.5 are not eligible for PA funding.
  • Each PA will have a list of relevant applications, as described above. These applications will be funded top-down until the PA funds are exhausted.

3. How much funding does a Priority Announcement provide?

Each PA is different. The funds available for a given PA will be noted in the PA description on ResearchNet.

4. What happens if my application is not deemed relevant to the Priority Announcement I choose?

If your application is not deemed relevant to the PA, then your application will remain in the Project Grant competition (as per usual) but will not be considered for PA funding.

5. What happens if my application is deemed relevant AND I am successful in the Project Grant competition? Am I eligible for additional funds that way?

If your application is funded through the Project Grant peer review process, then your full application will only be funded through the Project Grant competition budget and not the PA. In this case, the PA funds would be used to support the next highly ranked application on the list that falls below the funding cut-off.

6. Why would CIHR add Priority Announcements to the process instead of just putting more money in the Project Grant competition?

PAs are a great way to build capacity in different research areas while still encouraging applicants to submit their best and brightest ideas to the Project Grant competition. Through the PA mechanism, CIHR is able to meet its obligation as a federal funder to support investigator-initiated research as well as research into targeted areas addressing some of Canada’s most pressing health concerns.

PAs also reduce applicant and reviewer burden, as applicants do not need to submit a separate application to become eligible for PA funds and reviewers do not need to volunteer their time for a separate competition.

Finally, PAs also offer CIHR’s Institutes an efficient and cost-effective opportunity to support their goals and strategic plans. Some Institutes may wish to dedicate funds to underserved areas of their mandate, while others may use PAs to catalyze important work in emerging research fields.

7. Will the grants funded through Priority Announcements be counted in the Project Grant competition success rate?

No. It is not CIHR’s practice to count PA grant funding as part of the competition’s success rate, as the numbers could easily be misunderstood or perceived as inflated. That said, PA grants are important sources of funding and support excellent research across the country.

8. What if my application is relevant and successful in more than one Priority Announcement?

If your application is the top-ranked application below the cut-off on two PA lists, then you will be awarded one (not both).

9. Is the relevance of my application peer reviewed?

No. The “relevance review” process for a PA is separate from the peer review process for the Project Grant competition. The peer reviewers for the Project Grant competition will not assess your application’s relevance to a given PA, nor will your application’s relevance (or lack thereof) have any impact on the peer review deliberations.

10. When will I find out if my application was deemed relevant to my Priority Announcement of choice?

The Notice of Decision documentation issued to all applicants at the end of the competition process will include the relevance assessment from the applicant’s PA choice(s).

11. What happens if I disagree with the relevance assessment of my application?

Representatives from the Institute or Initiative funding the PA will complete the relevance review based on relevance forms and/or the summary of your research proposal. Their decisions are final and are not open to appeal. Therefore, it is imperative that the applicant provide a compelling and factual case regarding the application’s relevance to the stated priority areas in the relevance form or demonstrate it clearly in the summary.

12. Where can I go for additional information?

The CIHR Contact Centre is available to answer any questions or provide support.

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