UPDATED Feb. 16: Applicants can prepare now for THREE key changes for the Spring 2024 CIHR Project Grant competition + additional minor changes

February 16, 2024

February 16, 2024 Update: SPARC has been monitoring the Spring 2024 CIHR Project Grant program changes and sharing information via this announcement (see below the line for full details). We have noticed inconsistencies in the information being communicated in different venues so have forwarded this information to CIHR as feedback.

As you draft your proposal, please consider additional detail that CIHR has communicated to SPARC:

  1. Margins (including headers and footers): Given the 2cm/0.79” margins, applicants should avoid using headers or footers. CIHR does not expect the PI’s name or the document title to appear in the header or footer. CIHR has confirmed, however, that page numbers are allowable.
  2. Hyperlinks: These must not be included in the Research Proposal or Summary of Progress, per the Application Instructions. Ideally, hyperlinks should not be used anywhere in the application since reviewers will be instructed not to access them. Having said this, CIHR is aware that some references are hyperlinks. Of note, the CCV still allows for the entry of URLs for publications or other contributions.

Please use your best judgment to ensure alignment with instructions.

In December, we alerted UBC health researchers to three significant changes being made by CIHR to the Project Grant application guidelines for the Spring 2024 competition, which will affect both new and resubmission applications.

These changes are designed to both ensure that the 10-page Research Proposal stands-alone, containing all necessary information for a comprehensive assessment by reviewers, and that key application documents adhere to CIHR’s Acceptable Application Formats and PDF Attachments (be sure you are viewing the page modified on 2023-11-30; the cached page will be dated 2023-08-29).

As of January 10, CIHR has officially launched the Spring 2024 competition by opening the Registration module on ResearchNet. In addition to the three changes previously mentioned, there are a few other minor program changes. Below, we summarize both sets of changes to help you identify those which are relevant to your situation. As always, please refer to CIHR’s Funding Opportunity Details, Registration Instructions and Application Instructions for full details.

To confirm, all of SPARC’s CWL-protected Project Grant template and guidelines resources (scroll to “CIHR RESOURCES” and click “Access”) were updated in December to reflect the three major changes. Importantly, the minor changes identified with the January 10 opening of ResearchNet do not require any further content updates these resources. However, please be advised that you may initially find broken hyperlinks in some of them because CIHR changed the presentation of its Registration Instructions and Application Instructions webpages. SPARC is working hard to update these ASAP.

Three significant changes affecting both new and resubmission applications:

  1. To ensure a fair and consistent evaluation process, CIHR is implementing new guidelines regarding the attachments allowed in applications.

Beginning with the Spring 2024 competition, the following attachments will no longer be accepted:

  • Questionnaires, surveys, and consent forms;
  • Supplementary tables, charts, figures, and photographs;
  • Patient Information Sheets (for Randomized Controlled Trial applications); and
  • Publications.

For those of you anticipating resubmission, consider making time now to conduct a review of your most recent Project Grant(s). Specifically, read through your Research Proposal(s), paying careful attention to any references made to supplementary information. If any of these attachments are listed above (i.e., ineligible), consider the impact of their removal on the ability of your Proposal to stand-alone for assessment by CIHR reviewers, then modify text as necessary.

For those of you working on a new application, be sure that your Research Proposal does not require attachment of any of the above-listed items to support your content.

Of note, some attachments will continue to be allowed. However, some are mandatory (such as the SGBA training module certificate of completion, and letters of community support from Indigenous partners), while others are optional [like letters of collaboration detailing specific services (e.g., equipment access, provision of reagents, specialized training), and additional CV information accounting for leaves, absences, illnesses, caregiving roles, etc.].

For full details of the changes, please see the Project Grant Application Instructions - Task 7: Attach other application material.

  1. CIHR also states, in Task 7: "Remember that your research proposal should stand-alone (i.e., it should contain a complete description of your project and all the information required to support your research plan, without any hyperlinks)."

Again, for resubmissions, please vet your previous submission(s) for hyperlinks, then remove and adjust the corresponding text to provide additional information required for completeness, as necessary.

For new applications, please ensure your content does not include or rely on hyperlinks.

  1. NEW (confirmed as of December 7, 2023): CIHR has updated the page margin instruction in Acceptable Application Formats and PDF Attachments (scroll to “Instructions for preparing and formatting attachment documents” and check for “Date modified: 2023-11-30” at the bottom).

To confirm, the minimum margin all around is 2 cm or the Imperial equivalent of 0.79 inch. [The previous CIHR instruction stated “2 cm (3/4 inch)”, which are not equivalent, so common practice has been to choose the smaller of these margins (i.e., 0.75 inch or 1.9 cm).] These margins must be used for the 10-page Research Proposal, the 2-page Summary of Progress and the 2-page Response to Previous Reviews (optional for resubmission applications).

For resubmissions, please adjust the margins of all three documents as relevant, then revise text as necessary to fit within the reduced space.

For new applications, visit SPARC’s CWL-protected resources (scroll to “CIHR RESOURCES” and click “Access”) for template and guideline resources designed to help you prepare an application aligned with CIHR’s instructions.

Additional Minor Changes to Spring 2024 Competition:

Allowable Costs

Costs related to the translation and preparation of information/material intended for public consumption for the purposes of informing and engaging stakeholders (e.g., website content, information pamphlets, guidelines, promotional and event-related material, etc.).

Conditions of Funding

CIHR reserves the right to terminate or suspend funding if there is a determination of unacceptable national security risk by the Government of Canada. (Updated: 2024-01-10)

Where applicable, information intended for public consumption, for the purposes of informing and engaging stakeholders (e.g., website content, information pamphlets, guidelines, promotional and event-related material, etc.), should be provided in both official languages (English and French) and developed using plain language practices. (Updated: 2024-01-10)

Application (Task: Attach other application material)

There have been significant changes to the documents that are permitted to be attached to applications. For full details, please see the Complete a Project Grant application - Task 7: Attach other application material webpage. (Updated: 2024-01-10)

  • Other attachment:
    • The Nominated Principal Applicant must complete one of the sex- and gender-based analysis training modules available online through the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health and upload with the application the Certificate of Completion in the Attach Other Application Material task. (Updated: 2024-01-10)
  • Letters of Support:
    • If someone on the application is an international researcher who will be paid from the grant, a letter from their employer is required attesting that that individual is not being compensated for time spent on the grant-funded research activities. (Updated: 2024-01-10)
    • If your proposal relates to Indigenous health research, letters of community support from Indigenous partners are required. (Updated: 2024-01-10)
  • Letters of Collaboration:
    • Letters of collaboration to the NPA which outline a specific service to be provided such as access to equipment, provision of specific reagents, training in a specialized technique, statistical analysis, access to a patient population, etc. may be attached. (Updated: 2024-01-10)

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