CIHR Project: Internal Review Training Program

[This page was last updated for the Fall 2019 Project Grant competition]

In line with CIHR's Postdoctoral Peer Review Training Pilot Program to train and support PDFs as reviewers, a pilot program has been co-developed with the PDFO to integrate emerging scholars into SPARC’s Internal Review process in order to enrich the PDF training experience and strengthen the competitiveness UBC grant proposals.

Internal Reviewers

The following postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) were admitted into the voluntary training program and will contribute their scientific expertise as subject matter experts in SPARC’s Internal Review process.

Dr. Christopher Turner, PhD
Dr. David Granville
Dept: Pathology &
Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Jenna van Draanen, PhD
Dr. Lindsey Richardson
Dept: Sociology

Dr. Nicholas Weilinger, PhD
Dr. Brian MacVicar
Dept: Psychiatry

Dr. Kellie Woll, PhD
Dr. Filip Van Petegem
Dept: Biochemistry &
Molecular Biology

Dr. Tamara Bodnar, PhD
Dr. Joanne Weinberg
Dept: Cellular &
Physiological Sciences

Dr. Esther Maas, PhD
Drs. Mieke Koehoorn &
Christopher McLeod
Unit: Partnership for Work,
Health and Safety


Alumni Network

Participants who have successfully completed the program will have the opportunity to join the virtual community of internal reviewers and will be invited to lead a session of the training program. By participating in the training sessions, alumni will have the opportunity to share their insights and personal experience in the program, and mentor the next cohort of reviewers. It is expected that participating alumni will further develop leadership and mentorship skills, and that the new program participants will have the opportunity to interact and learn from their peers.


Training Program

Session 1: PDFs will be introduced to the CIHR Project Grant program and to the principles and policies guiding CIHR Peer Review:

Session 2: PDFs will undertake a mock review of a previously reviewed Project Grant proposal following SPARC’s ‘Applicant Feedback’ worksheet and will study the evolution of the proposal from an early draft to a successful submission.

Session 3: At the conclusion of the training sessions, PDFs will participate in a CIHR-structured, peer review committee meeting to discuss the proposals submitted to SPARC's Internal Review program. SPARC will facilitate the review meeting with the assistance of a Chair selected from the Alumni Network. The Chair will facilitate the group discussion and seek consensus from the reviewers on the overall strengths of each proposal and the key areas for improvement.

Session 4: A designated PDF spokesperson will participate in the subsequent applicant discussion groups to share key points from the PDF review meeting.

Session 5: At the conclusion of the training program, the PDFO and SPARC will co-host a luncheon for PDFs to network and share their learning experience. A gift card and a letter of acknowledgement from the Office of the VP-Research and Innovation will be provided in recognition of the effort and successful completion of the training program. It is expected that PDFs who complete the program will gain valuable grantsmanship skills, grant review experience, and networking opportunities.


Program Evaluation

In line with the assessment of CIHR’s pilot PDF peer review training programs, similar evaluation surveys were developed to determine the effectiveness of the training program and assess the quality and relevance of the feedback provided by the PDF reviewers. The results of the surveys are available by request.