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The review process A timetable for grant preparation Application form modules & components The research module The abstract The progress report The research proposal __________________________ The curriculum vitae module The budget module (as time allows). TOPICS TO BE COVERED.

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The review process

A timetable for grant preparation

Application form modules & components

The research module

The abstract

The progress report

The research proposal


The curriculum vitae module

The budget module (as time allows)




…but it has also a great deal to

do with presentation

..has a lot to do with your past training, productivity, and scientific expertise and brilliance,

The CIHR Review Process

Upon receipt in Ottawa:

- application filed by CIHR staff

- checked for completeness (all modules, signatures)

- does it follows CIHR guidelines (length, etc)

Each application is assigned to:

- one primary internal reviewer

- one secondary internal reviewer

- one ‘reader’ (reads in any external reviewer comments)

The CIHR Review Panel

Chairman- responsible for all processes

Scientific officer (S.O.) delegates applications to panel reviewers

  • Reviewers often are not from in your sub-discipline

  • Some applications sent to alternate committees

  • Committees attempt to fill all functions (and reduce dependence on external reviewers [lack of participation])

    Panel members (each one scores all applications)

    - expertise designed to cover the breadth of the application pool

    - 10-15 panel members

The review process

  • Before the review meeting in Ottawa

    • 1˚ and 2˚ review their assigned grants

      • Normally, each member is assigned perhaps 5 grants

      • as primary, 5 as secondary, and 5 as reader

      • 8 - 20 hr required to review each application

        • depending on how familiar you are with the area

  • At the meeting

    • First - all signed, scored & completed reviews are given to S.O.

    • Chairman reviews regulations of review panel, mandates,

    • guidelines, etc

  • •For each application

  • - the 1˚ & 2˚ reviewer’s scores are read out

    • Score range: 0-5 (few below 2.5, few above 4.5; ≤2.9 = triage)

    • 1˚ reads his review (5-10 min)

    • 2˚ adds any relevant comments (≈5 min)

The review process con t
The review process(con’t)

  • The panel asks any outstanding questions

  • Reader adds insights of externals

  • Consensus score is agreed upon by 1˚ and 2˚

  • Grant is scored secretly by each committee member

    • Scores must be +/- 0.5 from consensus, or dissent must be registered verbally and discussed by entire committee

  • At the end of the panel (dy 2 or 3), all scores turned into S.O.

    • Mean scores ranked from top to bottom

    • All funds available are distributed

      • Highest awardee first, then down the rankings until funds exhausted

      • Scores of 4.0 or less, generally don’t get funded directly by CIHR

The review process for 1 2 reviewers
The review process for 1˚ & 2˚ reviewers

  • Reviewers read your CV

    • Provides written comment on your training, productivity

      • Do you have the capacity to run & complete the project

      • Impact of articles on community, quality of articles/journals

  • Reads your responses to previous reviews (and may use them if the responses are appropriate)

    • Reviewers don’t have access to your previous application

  • Reviewers assess your research proposal (pg 12a-k)

    • Provides written summary of your proposal

      • Does it read well grammatically?

The review process for the 1 2 con t
The review process for the 1˚ & 2˚ (con’t)

What the reviewer is assessing(con’t)

  • Is the background literature appropriately covered (sufficient depth, balance & accuracy)?

    • Reviewer medline searches routine

  • Is the scientific approach sound? ..novel? ..the best one?

    • Is sufficient detail present to judge this?

      • Numbers of repeats, subjects, methods of analysis

    • Technical wizardry won’t cover up inappropriate use

      • Could more simple approaches answer the question better?

      • ..or more cheaply?

    • Have you lined up good quality collaborators for your technically weak areas

Timetable for writing
Timetable for writing

  • One year in advance

    • Begin to think about the project

      • What experiments to do

      • What papers you need to publish

    • Write and submit papers (3 mnth)

  • Nine months

    • Begin preliminary experiments (3-5 mnth)

    • Line up collaborators, non-commercial reagents

Timetable con t
Timetable (con’t)

  • Six months

    • Write a preliminary draft

    • Bounce ideas off knowledgeable colleagues

      (not necessarily friends)

    • Fill in a CIHR common CV online

  • Four months

    • Submit ethics protocols (animal, human, biosafety)

    • Finalize the experimental plan

    • Complete a background literature search

Timetable con t1
Timetable (con’t)

  • One month

    • Write a final version (with fig/tables)

    • Collate letters of support, collab., ms. status, etc

    • Check for literature updates & update CV

    • Confirm required signatories will be available

  • Two weeks

    • Print out final version of grant

    • Have two people proof-read it, then re-edit

  • One week

    • Obtain all signatures

    • Have all copies printed

  • Two days - courier the grant to Ottawa

    • thank your wife & kids for their understanding

The abstract
The Abstract

  • This should be, in effect, a very high quality one-page grant application

  • With the exception of the 1˚, 2˚ & reader, many panel members read only the abstract (then, if intrigued, some of the proposal proper)

  • The abstract should:

    • Include the rationale for the project

    • Touch on your background

    • State the hypothesis, objectives and general approaches in as much detail as space will allow

    • Summarize the significance of this work for CIHR, etc.

The research proposal appended pgs 12a k

General comments

  • Make it easy on the reviewer’s eyes & brains!

    • Reviewer fatigue is very real. Pay attention to:

    • Aesthetics, over-crowding, figure sizes & complexity

    • Use italics, etc, to highlight hypothesis & critical points;

    • separate & title sections (eg, Overview); use correct margins.

    • Don’t use overly complex sentences, or ‘micro-niche jargon’

The Research Proposal(appended pgs 12a - k)

  • ‘Should’ include the following sections: Rationale; Hypothesis & objectives; Background literature;

    Preliminary data; Research Plan; & Significance.

The proposal hypothesis rationale
The Proposal - Hypothesis & rationale -

  • 1-2 ¶ overview to rationalize the project

    • Importance of the work

      • Succinct eloquence, not b.s.

  • State your hypothesis, objectives (Aims) & approaches

    • Is the hypothesis testable with the approaches selected?

      • Are these explicitly and plainly stated?

  • A strategy for the rank-order of the major aims?

    • You could work from the more theoretical (eg, Aim 1, in vitro)

    • to the more practical (eg, Aim 3, in vivo), applied, or risky.

    • Your rationale - if Aim 3 is risky, having it not work out wouldn’t jeopardize

    • the whole project, but then again…

The proposal background literature
The Proposal- Background literature -

  • Cover all RELEVANT background (3-5 pg)

    • Most reviewers won’t be ‘from’ your precise area

    • Use it to unequivocally rationalize project, hypothesis & approaches

    • Succinct, with great detail is good

      • doesn’t hurt to impress the review with the fact that you know EXACTLY what you are talking about (…but stay on track!)

  • Liberally reference this and other section(s)

    • 3-7 pg of citations not unusual or too much

      • References don’t count towards page limits

  • Use figures & tables as necessary

    • sub-discipline-specific names or terminologies

    • complex pathways

      • Figures and tables don’t count towards page limits,

      • but don’t use too many or the figures become the grant.

The proposal preliminary data
The Proposal- Preliminary data -

  • Critical for the success of most grants

    • Shows that you have relevant insights

    • And that, technically you CAN do the work

  • Use appended publications

    • Details of methods & discussion (esp. reviews)

  • Use simple graphs, figures(or lose the reviewer)

  • Appropriate amounts of preliminary data?

    • A balancing act: none or very little can kill the application, while too much makes it look like you’ve done much of the project already

The proposal the research plan
The Proposal- The research plan -

  • Lay it out Aim-by-Aim

    • Each aim very briefly rationalized again

    • Very detailed experiments, laid out one after another

      • Especially if you aren’t known to be highly experienced

      • Use appended papers for methods if available

      • Indicate numbers of subjects, reps, stats approaches, reagent sources,

        cell numbers (are the numbers required realistic given your methods of

        generation/purification), etc..

- Include expected results, interpretations

  • ***- Include potential pitfalls & how you will deal with them

    • If experiment 3.2.5, for example, doesn’t work the way it

    • is run, what will you do?

    • If Aim 1 fails completely, is the whole project lost?

    • Are the aims presented in an appropriate order?

The proposal significance and timelines
The Proposal - Significance and timelines -

  • How will all the experiments:

    • fit into the overall objectives of CIHR?

    • fulfill Canada’s (& international) health mandates?

    • will they be publishable and high impact?

  • What are the timelines for finishing each phase of

    the project?

  • What is your long-term plan

    • When the project is completed, how do you envisage

      taking the program forward?

Your curriculum vitae
Your curriculum vitae

  • Filled out & maintained online (Common CV)

  • Follow directions precisely

  • Append summaries of grants

    • ‘applied for’ or ‘in hand’

    • indicate degrees of overlap with present application

      • unanswered questions, or suspect answers, can hold up

        your funding, even if granted

  • Append “most significant contributions’

    • Significant to whom, and why? Impact on field?

  • Keep it ‘up to date’

Your curriculum vitae con t
Your curriculum vitae(con’t)

  • List of professional activities (that occupy your time)

    • Committee activity (local, regional, national, int’l)

    • Journal/grant review

  • Append list of publications

    • Last five years only, in chronological order

      • Don’t include ‘submitted’ papers (unless they are appended and accompanied by letter of receipt from journal)

    • Include granting agency support & your contribution

    • Peer-reviewed research publications, books, chapters & reviews,

    • published abstracts

The budget
The Budget

  • Personnel

    • Staff (identify Res Assist, tech, consultants & rationalize pay-scale)

    • Trainees (PDFs, Grad & summer students; identify, if possible, and rationalize)

  • Materials & Supplies

    • Animals

      • Calculate numbers required (each strain), cost/animal, housing costs (watch for hidden costs, and don’t ‘pad’ the budget

    • Expendables

      • Break this down into categories (plasticwares, disposables, IHC reagents, molecular biology reagents & kits, etc..)

      • Calculate relatively carefully (within ≈$100-250 per item)

      • rule of thumb for some panels, $15,000 per worker- no more!

The budget con t
The budget(con’t)

  • Materials & Supplies (con’t)

    • Services

      • Glassware cleaning, equip maintenance, equip operators

        • Rationalize each item (# hours on FACS, cost/hr, etc)

        • Get quotes on particularly expensive items (eg, 400 hr of FACS @ $50/hr)

    • Other

      • Specialized expenses that may not fit into any category above

  • Travel

    • almostautomatically given to attend meetings, if requested,

    • @ ≈$2,000 - 2,500/yr

The budget con t1
The budget (con’t)

  • Equipment

    • Pay attention to rules on using special equipment grants

    • Thoroughly justify it’s requirement

      • Letters from the Dean or Dept head, etc

    • get two quotes

    • Small items (eg, pipettors) can be included in expendables

    • If others will use it, will they contribute to its cost? (why not?)

  • Taxes -- calculate these and include within the line items

Cihr grants just touch the water that s it
CIHR Grants: “Just touch the water.. That’s it!” really is easier than that!

British Navy photo taken during a military exercise off the coast of S.Africa.

Nominated by Nat’l Geographic as “Photo of the Year”.

John R. Gordon

Immunology Research Group

[email protected]; x7214

CIHR due-date, plus 6

CIHR due-date, minus 7