Sunsetting the Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) program
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will not launch any new competitions of the Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) program. Existing CHRP grants will continue with no change in funding levels or duration.
The decision to sunset any program is one that is not taken lightly; however, revisiting existing programs and ensuring they still meet their objectives and deliver value for money is a natural part of the program evaluation process.
Where do we go from here?
The interdisciplinary and translational research funding landscape in Canada has evolved, with new options for supporting this type of research that did not exist when the CHRP program was created. Those researchers who had been considering applying for the CHRP competition are encouraged to explore new and existing tri-agency programs:
- A project relevant to CHRP may be well suited to the CIHR Project Grant program (e.g., the biomedical engineering and commercialization peer review committee, the medical physics and imaging peer review committee) or the NSERC Discovery Horizons Grant competition;
- Projects relevant to CHRP may also be eligible for funding through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), which supports interdisciplinary and transformative research and will have an annual budget of $125M starting in 2023-24;
- As part of Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, the Government is investing $250M over four years in the tri-agency’s new Canada Biomedical Research Fund (CBRF), which will support high-risk, applied research. Projects relevant to CHRP may well find a home in the CBRF, which will be launching a call for proposals in summer 2022; and
- CIHR launches more than 100 strategic funding competitions per year. We encourage researchers working on interdisciplinary projects to keep an eye on our funding opportunities for competitions that are relevant to their fields of research.
The three federal research granting agencies are continuously working to improve peer review processes so that each application finds a home, especially those that are interdisciplinary in nature. In 2021-2022, we are piloting a new interdisciplinary peer review committee to provide an option for researchers whose applications combine two or more of the following: social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health and wellness. Lessons learned from this pilot will help us strengthen our peer review processes going forward.
Finally, we completed an evaluation of the CHRP program in 2020-21, and we will take the lessons learned from that evaluation to strengthen our tri-agency funding programs and peer review processes regarding interdisciplinary research.
Dr. Tammy Clifford
Vice-President, Research – Learning Health Systems
Dr. Marc Fortin
Vice-President, Research Partnerships
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