CIHR Project Grants

CIHR Project: SPARC Review

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SPARC (Editorial) Review is performed by experienced grant writers to increase the competitiveness of UBC submissions by providing expert feedback on the readability and reviewability of the proposal. SPARC offers two services, Registration Review and Full Review:

  • Full Review: targeted feedback on the Research Proposal to ensure that the adjudication criteria are clearly addressed, the layout and formatting adheres to SPARC's best practices, and that impact statements are strong and compelling.

SPARC is pleased to offer this service to all applicants who intend to submit an application to the Project Grant competition. SPARC Reviews will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis* until time and/ or capacity runs out. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal as soon as possible since SPARC may not be able to guarantee feedback if the majority of applications are received in the later stages of the review period. The average turnaround time for feedback is 2-3 days, depending on the application queue.

Please notify via email to register your intent to participate.


Registration Review

Summaries will be accepted for review two weeks prior to the Registration Deadline

January 21 - February 4


Please forward the following materials for review when ready:

Review Materials (.doc)
      •  Research Summary* (1 page)
      •  Optional: Primary/ Secondary Peer Review Committee Justification (750 characters)

Available Resource: See SPARC's Best Practice Guidelines (.pdf)

*SPARC may be able to review up to two Research Summary documents per applicant; please submit your review materials as early as possible.


Full Review

Proposals will be accepted for review three weeks prior to the Application Deadline

February 11 - March 1


Please forward the following materials for review when ready:

Review Materials (.doc)
      •  Research Summary (1 page)
      •  Proposal* (10 pages includes figures)
      •  References (no limit)
      •  Optional: Sex and Gender Considerations (2,000 characters)
      •  Optional: Response to Previous Reviews (1-2 pages)
      •  Optional: Most Significant Contributions (1 page)

Available Resources: See SPARC's Best Practice Guidelines, Reviewer Checklist, CIHR Sex & Gender Checklists, Response to Reviews Guidelines and Most Significant Contributions tips

*To allow us to plan and prioritize our workload, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit New Proposals to SPARC as early as possible to allow sufficient time for review and to incorporate feedback. SPARC will not review proposals that grossly exceed CIHR’s page limits or accept updated versions of the proposal once submitted to SPARC.

To ensure capacity and to maximize SPARC's resources, we encourage researchers who have access to strategic grant development services such as those offered by the Research & Technology Development Office (RTDO) at the BCCHR to utilize these existing support services.


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CIHR Workshop: Sex and Gender Considerations

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Should your study include sex and gender considerations?

All applicants to CIHR are expected to integrate sex and gender considerations into their research design, where appropriate, to maximize the relevance and applicability of health research findings to both men and women.

As part of the grant application process, CIHR requires applicants to indicate and elaborate on whether sex and/or gender will be factored into research design, analyses, and reporting of research results. Applications that do not adequately account for sex and gender considerations may be penalized by peer reviewers.

Workshop and 1:1 Consultation Sessions

SPARC is coordinating two workshops facilitated by Dr. Tamara Bodnar, SPARC’s sex and gender specialist, including a series of 1:1 consultation sessions for CIHR Project Grant applicants to familiarize themselves with CIHR’s Peer Reviewer guidelines and to discuss sex and gender considerations relevant to the study design.

The workshops will be held at the UBC Point Grey campus on Thursday, January 17th (11am-12pm) and at the Diamond Health Care Centre (Vancouver General Hospital) on Wednesday, January 30th (8am-9am).

The 1-hour interactive workshop will detail CIHR's sex and gender directives to peer reviewers (.pdf) and will include an open Q&A to discuss study design considerations and/or peer reviewer feedback. Participants are also strongly encouraged to schedule a 30-minute, 1:1 meeting with Dr. Bodnar to further discuss their specific study design and/or peer review feedback. Please register your intent to participate to one of the sessions below.


Discussion topics

Understanding sex and gender dimensions • considerations for sex as a biological variable (SABV) • acceptable cases/justification for single-sex studies • considerations for sex and gender in primary data collection • sex and gender equity in research (SAGER) guidelines • sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) • reporting sex and gender in research • integrating sex and gender into knowledge translation plans

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If you wish to receive feedback, please enter the description/ justification for ‘sex and gender considerations’ of your grant proposal as per the textbox requirement in ResearchNet under the 'Proposal Information' task (limit of 2,000 characters).


CIHR Project: Response to Reviews

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CIHR’s Project Grant program allows applicants to append an optional, two-page response to previous reviews to outline improvements to a previously unsuccessful grant application (i.e. Resubmissions). To maximize the impact of your revisions, SPARC will provide individualized resources to applicants to effectively structure their response and showcase the strengths of the revised proposal.

Participants are encouraged to register their intent to participate via email with Elizabeth Cheu (Manager, Research Grant Development). Participants will be required to submit a copy of the Notice of Decision, Application and Reviewer Comments in order to receive a draft response document based on SPARC's best practice guidelines (.pdf). A final review of the document can also be coordinated through SPARC Review.

For the Spring 2019 Project Grant competition, this service will be available following the (Fall 2018) Januray 23 Notice of Decision until the Application deadline.

SPARC Contact: Stephane Dragon and Elizabeth Cheu

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CIHR Project: Internal Review

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The next intake of proposals for Internal Review will take place in July/August in support of the Fall Project Grant competition


SPARC Internal Review aims to strengthen and accelerate the development of new and/ or revised grant proposals by inviting peer feedback on the project concept and study design elements. Applicants seeking input on a proposal’s unique value proposition or insight on the feasibility, originality and/or urgency of the proposed research study are encouraged to register. 

The next intake of proposals will take place in July/August in support of the Fall Project Grant competition. To participate, applicants must complete the registration form and submit a 10-page draft Research Proposal including the 1-page Research Summary one week prior to the scheduled meeting date (TBD, August, 2019). 


Peer-to-Peer Discussion Groups

Applicants (i.e. faculty members) will be assigned to a discussion group (3-4 individuals) based on their area of research (CIHR Theme and/ or Institute). Each discussion group participant must read the 1-page Research Summaries and attend a 2-hour in-person/ Skype meeting to discuss the proposals (20 minutes per proposal). No written feedback is required from the participants.

In order to provide flexibility and accommodate the short lead-time to the application deadline, SPARC will coordinate multiple Internal Review meetings at the UBC Point Grey campus in early August.


Reviewer Feedback & Internal Review

In partnership with UBC’s Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO), SPARC has introduced a pilot training program to integrate emerging scholars into the Internal Review process in order to enrich the PDF training experience and strengthen the competitiveness UBC grant proposals. This pilot program is designed to leverage the scientific expertise of PDFs, foster the development of critical thinking skills and supplement the applicant discussion groups with feedback from subject matter experts.

Participants admitted into the training program must successfully complete a series of intensive workshops and work assignments designed to develop proficiency in the CIHR Project Grant program and for conducting quality reviews. Proposals are then assigned to 2 PDFs for review using SPARC’s ‘Applicant Feedback’ worksheet and the reviews discussed for quality control at a mock, CIHR Peer Review Committee meeting. A spokesperson for the committee then participates in the subsequent, in-person applicant meeting to discuss the proposals. In all, each proposal receives 2 sets of written feedback, discusison notes and faculty participants have the opportunity to discuss the feedback for 20 minutes at the peer-to-peer discussion group meeting.

Training Program Description


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CIHR Project: Workshop - Project Bootcamp

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Are you a new and/ or a first-time applicant? Do you have questions about the Project Grant competition or about SPARC’s support programs?

Group sessions or 1:1 meetings organized for faculty and support staff can be requested to review the overall competition process and discuss the registration and application requirements, adjudication criteria, peer review process and the latest changes to the Project Grant competition.

The 1-hour session is facilitated by SPARC and covers relevant competition statistics, introduces SPARC’s resources and support programs, and encourages discussion on the application and peer review process.

If you wish to book a 1:1 appointment to discuss specific aspects of the Project Grant program, please contact Stephane Dragon.

SPARC Contact: Stephane Dragon

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