Peer review: Overview

The integrity of the review process for Priority-driven initiatives relies on well-established principles and policies that:

  • ensure fair and effective evaluation; and,
  • support CIHR’s objectives and strategic funding targets.

Principles of review

CIHR’s principles of review are:

Peer review refers to the process used by CIHR to review applications submitted for funding. Applications are assigned to reviewers who possess the required experience and/or expertise (individual or collective) to properly assess the quality of the applications based on the objectives of the funding opportunity and its evaluation criteria. CIHR’s peer review process involves the evaluation of applications by a group of reviewers, who have (individually or collectively) the required experience and/or expertise to assess the quality of the applications within the context of the funding opportunity objectives and evaluation criteria. CIHR’s peer review process is supported by academic reviewers, as well as non-academic reviewers, including industry, government and community-based representatives.

Types of review processes

CIHR invites experts with various perspectives from the health research community (e.g., health researchers, health related professionals, policy makers, community leaders, patients and citizens, etc.) to become members of review committees to:

  • evaluate applications submitted for a particular funding opportunity;
  • rate them on their merit using a defined set of evaluation criteria so they can be ranked by CIHR in order of priority for funding; and,
  • make recommendations on the budget needed to support the application.

Review committees make recommendations for funding to CIHR and partners, who in turn make the final funding decisions. Review for priority-driven initiatives is typically conducted using two fundamental types of review processes: committee meeting (in person or teleconference) and virtual review. Additional design elements may be used based on the needs of the competition.

Committee members

A CIHR review committee typically consists of reviewers and usually a Chair, Scientific Officer and readers, depending on the needs of the adjudication model. Individual committee members are selected for their knowledge, expertise and/or experience.
Committee membership as a whole considers one or more of the following aspects:

  • the need to cover the full range of research areas, relevant methodologies, key populations and experience for which the committee is responsible;
  • the necessity for reviewing capability in both English and French so that applications in either official language can be evaluated by the committee; and,
  • the need for regional representation and representation by gender proportionate to membership in the Canadian health research community.

Roles and responsibilities

For more information on the review processes for CIHR’s Priority-driven initiatives, including committee member roles and responsibilities, please refer to the Review guidelines – Priority-driven initiatives.

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