Information for sponsors

Committee members consider sponsor assessments as part of their overall review and to corroborate their evaluation of the application. Sponsor assessments therefore play a critical role in the review process. Because the selection committees are generally multidisciplinary in nature, providing evidence and examples to support the assessment in comparison to normal expectations for trainees in the research area(s) is very useful.

When asked to provide a sponsor assessment

The following best practices and considerations should be taken into account when providing a sponsor assessment:

  • Be accurate, fair, clear and balanced.
  • Avoid being unduly personal.
  • Support your points by providing specific examples of accomplishments where possible.
  • Use superlative descriptors (e.g., excellent, outstanding) judiciously and support them with evidence.
  • Do not include information related to ethnicity, age, hobbies, marital status, religion, etc.
  • Avoid sharing personal information about the applicant. Such information may be helpful only in explaining academic delays or interruptions and should be addressed with caution.

Limiting bias

The use of inclusive language is encouraged (e.g. “the applicant” or “they” instead of “he/she”). Sponsor assessments should be free from words or sentences that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory language of particular people or groups, or their institution.

Use of inclusive language has been shown to decrease unconscious bias during the evaluation process. For more information, refer to the Canada Research Chairs guidelines for letter writers on Limiting Unconscious Bias.

Sponsor assessment writers should also refer to the tri-agency Bias in Peer Review training module as a guide for preventing unconscious bias in merit/peer review.

Request for an assessment

Sponsors will receive a request via email from ResearchNet (application submission platform used for CIHR) with instructions on how to link to the assessment form. This email is automatically generated by ResearchNet, so be sure to check your spam/junk folder.

The email sent by ResearchNet will include a unique URL that allows you access to the sponsor form. You will not receive access to the application package; speak to the applicant to receive the information that you will need to complete this task.

If the email requesting assessment is misplaced, the applicant may generate another unique URL by re-sending the invitation. If the applicant resends the invitation, or deletes and re-invites you as a sponsor, this action will render all URLs contained in previously sent emails inactive.

Deadline for the assessment

The sponsor assessment should be submitted via ResearchNet no later than the assessment required deadline date displayed on the online sponsor assessment page. Please contact the applicant if you have any questions about the deadline. Applicants will not be able to submit their applications if the assessments are not received by their submission deadline.

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