CIHR staff are now working remotely. Please send us an email at email@example.com for a quicker response time.
Please consult this page for all COVID-19 information related to CIHR. Check back often, as we will be updating this page regularly.
Information for the research community
CIHR is closely monitoring the evolution and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and is taking action to support our grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees.
- Response to the announcement regarding the Spring Project Grant competition and first wave of mitigation steps (April 3, 2020)
- Cancelling the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition: A message from CIHR President Dr. Michael Strong (April 2, 2020)
- We're all in this together: A message from CIHR President Dr. Michael Strong (March 19, 2020)
- Tri-Agency message on COVID-19 (March 16, 2020)
- Update on COVID-19 and impact on CIHR’s policies, programs and operations (March 13, 2020)
- Reimbursing non-refundable travel fees due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 (March 9, 2020)
- Coronavirus: Canada's rapid research response (March 6, 2020)
Please visit the relevant program webpages to learn how COVID-19 may impact scholarship and fellowship competition deadlines:
- Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program
- The release of results in the Research Portal is postponed from April 1 to April 15, 2020.
- Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program
- Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
- The launch of the 2020 competition is postponed until June 1, 2020. The application deadline is to be confirmed.
- Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements
FAQs: Cancelling the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition
What is the status of the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition?
Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIHR has decided to take the step of cancelling the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition, which was in progress. CIHR remains on track to deliver the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.
What is CIHR doing to support those researchers affected by the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition? What about the community as a whole?
Similar to what was done when the Spring 2017 competition was delayed, CIHR will financially extend all existing investigator-initiated research grants scheduled to expire between June 30, 2020 and March 30, 2021, for one year.
- This includes providing an extension to all Nominated Principal Applicants (NPAs) with a grant expiring within the date range who applied to the Spring 2020 competition, as these applicants were applying for a grant to replace one that was expiring.
- The amount provided will be equivalent to one year of the grant’s average annual value.
- Those who accept the extension will not be allowed to apply as an NPA to the Fall 2020 competition to help ease some of the pressure on this competition.
Additionally, CIHR will financially extend all bridge grants provided to Nominated Principal Investigators (NPIs) in the Fall 2019 Project Grant competition.
- This extension will be provided to all NPIs who received a bridge grant in the Fall 2019 competition and applied to the Spring 2020 competition.
- The amount provided will be the equivalent of 6 months of their bridge grant amount.
- NPIs who are provided this bridge grant extension will be allowed to apply in the role of NPA to the Fall 2020 competition.
NPAs from the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition will be given the option to bring their submission forward automatically to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition, including the ability to provide a one-page supplement for additional support data or publications. NPAs will also have the option to withdraw their application and resubmit a new or updated application to the Fall competition.
More broadly, CIHR is considering measures to help the health research community weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures will be implemented immediately:
- An automatic one-year extension to the authority-to-use-funds date for all active grants. This will give researchers an additional full year to use any residual funds not yet spent to compensate for disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CIHR will place a moratorium on all existing and any new strategic/institute-driven funding opportunities during the next three months. The exception is that any funding competitions related to COVID-19 will continue to go forward.
- Relatedly, throughout this process, we have worked closely with our colleagues at the U15 and Universities Canada, who are currently considering our proposal to provide a full-year extension to all those individuals who are within the probationary period and tenure stream.
CIHR will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves, and stands ready to take more action as needed to help mitigate any impacts and delays caused by COVID-19.
Why did CIHR cancel the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition?
CIHR did not make this decision lightly, but our priority one priority right now is taking steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We made this decision for four key reasons:
- Many of our peer reviewers are clinician scientists and health professionals who have heeded the call to lend a hand as resources are stretched thin on the ground. It would have been irresponsible for CIHR to divert their attention at this critical time of need.
- With researchers following public health advice to curtail travel and self-isolate, carrying out face-to-face peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition would have been contrary to all public health advice.
- Our pool of peer reviewers is made up of many professors who are now faced with the task of modifying their courses and final exams to switch to delivering them in an online format. This shift will entail a great deal of work, and we do not want to add to their burden.
- The researchers who would typically provide peer review for this competition – and the CIHR staff who would deliver it – are presently occupied with a more important duty: caring for the health and safety of their families and loved ones, which must remain their top priority.
- Finally, we know that, just as we all are, the researchers who would normally peer review for this competition are occupied with looking after the health and safety of their families and loved ones, as well as additional care-giving roles, which need to be their top priority.
Why didn’t CIHR decide to use virtual peer review to deliver the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition on schedule?
Given the extraordinary circumstances, CIHR did consider virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. However, we know that many reviewers are clinicians and health professionals who have responded to the call to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and are justifiably not available for peer review. We recognize as well that professors are currently occupied with switching to delivering their courses and final exams in an online format and that this entails a great deal of work, and we did not want to add to their burden. Virtual peer review would not have mitigated these challenges. We also acknowledge the community’s concern about the quality of virtual peer review. Furthermore, with the situation continuing to evolve, we could not be certain about the reliability of the critical infrastructure required to deliver a high-quality competition. For these reasons, we are not pursuing virtual peer review for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition.
Why didn’t CIHR simply delay the competition to this summer?
Given the ever-evolving situation, there is a possibility that CIHR’s normal business operations will not have resumed in time to successfully deliver the Project Grant competition this summer. CIHR felt it was most prudent to err on the side of caution and delay until the fall, when we can be more certain of delivering a high-quality competition.
I had submitted an application to the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. What happens to my application now? Can I make modifications to it? Can I apply again for the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition?
If you have submitted an application to the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition, you will have the ability to bring your submission forward automatically to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition. You will have the ability to provide a one-page supplement for additional support data or publications. You will also have the option to withdraw your application, and resubmit for the fall competition. CIHR will be reaching out to you directly in the coming weeks to help you navigate next steps.
Applicants to the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition who were applying for a new grant and whose current investigator-initiated research grants were due to expire between June 30, 2020 and March 30, 2021, will have the option of accepting one additional year of funding. This funding will be at the rate of the average yearly amount of the just-completed grant. If an applicant accepts this option, they will not be eligible to submit an application as an NPI to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition. This action is being taken to reduce the pressure we expect to see in the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition.
I’ve just completed a grant. Will there be an extension to the deadline to file my end-of-grant Final Report?
Yes, in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19, CIHR will offer all NPIs an 12-month extension on their Authorization to Use Fund (ATUF) date and as a result, the end-of-grant Final Report will be extended
I was to be a peer reviewer/Committee Chair/Scientific Officer for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. What happens now?
If you had agreed to be a peer reviewer, Committee Chair, or Scientific Officer for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition, you will have a chance to carry out these roles in the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition, if your schedules permit it/depending on the mix of applications received.
How is CIHR going to handle the added pressure caused by cancelling a competition?
CIHR is currently assessing how best to mitigate the added pressures caused by cancelling the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition. One measure we are taking is to place a restriction whereby applicants to the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition who accept a one-year paid extension will not be eligible to submit an application as an NPA to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition. CIHR may also consider restricting the number of applications that can be submitted to the competition as a whole.
What about CIHR’s other upcoming competitions and activities?
While helping to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on all CIHR-funded researchers and supporting those affected by the cancellation of the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition are our major priorities, there are other CIHR competitions and activities (e.g., webinars) due to take place over the coming weeks and months that will be delayed or cancelled. CIHR is currently working through all other funding competitions that were in progress or due to be launched in the coming weeks and months to develop mitigation strategies on a competition-by-competition basis, and those impacted will be contacted. We will strive to give as much advance notice as possible about these disruptions and will provide more information to the community in the coming weeks. A three-month delay is expected across all of these activities.
What is happening with strategic funding opportunities?
CIHR is placing a moratorium on all existing and any new strategic/Institute-driven funding opportunities over the next three months. Of course, all funding competitions related to COVID-19 will continue to move forward.
Will it be business as usual once the moratorium on strategic/Institute-driven funding opportunities is lifted?
No. Given the impact of the pandemic on CIHR’s program delivery, we will not be able to undertake 12 months of work in a nine-month timeframe, especially in light of delivering the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition. CIHR is currently assessing and prioritizing which strategic/Institute-driven funding opportunities will move forward this fiscal year. We are working with our partners in instances where partner funding is impacted.
Where can I go for more information?
CIHR will follow up with all applicants to and peer reviewers for the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition through targeted communications to help you navigate next steps and walk you through your options. We will also be holding webinars in the lead up to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition to answer your questions. In the meantime, please visit CIHR’s COVID-19 webpage, which will be updated regularly. You may also continue to contact CIHR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs - Impact of COVID-19
Is CIHR closed? Is it business as usual?
No, CIHR is not closed. The agency is continuing to operate and carry out some of its business activities. In order to facilitate social distancing, CIHR employees are working remotely from home. It should be noted that this is not business as usual. For the foreseeable future, CIHR is refocusing its resources to concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic, including mitigating its effects on the research community.
Is CIHR moving to virtual peer review?
Face-to-face peer review continues to be CIHR’s standard for peer review. The agency is currently assessing ways of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on planned peer review activities, and more information will be provided to the community on a competition-by-competition basis.
What is CIHR doing to support researchers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
CIHR is committed to supporting grant- and scholarship-holders, applicants, and peer reviewers as we adjust, together, to these extraordinary circumstances. This could include adjusting program application and reporting dates, extensions to grants, etc. We are currently reviewing the list of all competitions that were recently launched, are in progress, or were to be launched in the coming months, and coming up with mitigation strategies for each one.
Decisions will be made on a competition-by-competition basis and will be communicated early and widely to affected researchers. The Tri-Agencies have also moved to include as eligible expenses the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds when travel is cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is CIHR still participating in conferences and events?
The Tri-Agencies are cancelling or postponing non-essential in-person events and travel at least until the end of April. As the situation is still evolving, there is a possibility that events in the spring and summer may also be affected. More information will be available shortly. However, CIHR may still participate in events and conferences where virtual participation is an option.
Furthermore, CIHR’s Institutes are determining how to proceed (postponing, cancelling, or moving to a virtual format) on an event-by-event basis in close collaboration with CIHR and their respective host institutions (whose policies they are expected to follow).
Will there be an effect on the development, finalization, and launch of CIHR’s Strategic Plan?
While a great deal of progress has been made on the development and finalization of CIHR’s new Strategic Plan, the next step in the process – review of the latest draft by several bodies internal and external to CIHR – may be impacted by COVID-19. CIHR will make every effort to avoid disruption to the process. CIHR will postpone the Strategic Plan launch event that had been scheduled for June in Ottawa.
How do I get more information
We encourage the community to consult the relevant Tri-Agency websites and Twitter accounts on a regular basis as we will be providing frequent updates. Individuals may also wish to contact their university administration, or the funding agencies directly. CIHR’s Contact Centre remains operational and staff, who are working remotely, can be reached at email@example.com.
Investing in COVID-19 research
- NRC COVID-19 response:
- Operating Grant : COVID-19 Clinical Epidemiology Research Rapid Response (March 24, 2020)
- Government of Canada funds 49 additional COVID-19 research projects (March 19, 2020)
- Government of Canada invests $27M in coronavirus research (March 6, 2020)
- Read about the funded projects
- Further details about the results of this funding competition
An international response
- Crowdhelix, an online tool for COVID researchers anywhere in the world to find one another, find funding opportunities, and keep up on funding news.
- European Commission COVID-19 research
- CIHR is consulting with international partners including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (Glo-PID-R) to determine how Canadian researchers can help in global research efforts.
Results of CIHR-funded COVID-19 research
- The SPOR Evidence Alliance has completed two rapid reviews (pre-prints) to inform the World Health Organization guidance document on infection prevention and control for long-term care facilities [ PDF (613 KB) - external link ]
- COVID-19 academic publications resulting from CIHR-funded research
- Do not violate the International Health Regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Coronavirus COVID-19 impacts to dentistry and potential salivary diagnosis
- Novel Insights Into Immune Systems of Bats
- Human Coronaviruses and Other Respiratory Viruses: Underestimated Opportunistic Pathogens of the Central Nervous System?
- 2019-nCoV (Wuhan virus), a novel Coronavirus: human-to-human transmission, travel-related cases, and vaccine readiness
- A Comparative Analysis of Factors Influencing Two Outbreaks of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia and South Korea
- The human coronavirus HCoV-229E S-protein structure and receptor binding
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor: molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic target
- Mathematical modeling of COVID-19 transmission and mitigation strategies in the population of Ontario, Canada
- Estimating the maximum daily number of incident COVID-19 cases manageable by a healthcare system
- Similarity in Case Fatality Rates (CFR) of COVID-19/SARS-COV-2 in Italy and China
- Potential roles of social distancing in mitigating the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea
Informing health policy
- Submit a query to the SPOR Evidence Alliance related to COVID-19
- Submit a query to the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network (DSEN) related to COVID-19
- DSEN Research Abstract
Information for Canadians
- CIHR has signed onto the Wellcome Trust’s Joint statement on sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.
Accessing data for the purposes of research
- Connect with the SPOR Canadian Data Platform
- Connect with the nine SPOR SUPPORT Units located across the country
Health Canada information
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