CIHR Fall 2023 Project Grant: important changes


Canadian Institutes of Health Research


What you need to know for the Fall 2023 Project Grant competition

Registration for the Fall 2023 Project Grant competition opened on July 7, and so we want to bring your attention to some changes and provide clarification on a few topics to support you in preparing and submitting your applications.

Artificial intelligence and grant writing

With the rise of powerful artificial intelligence tools that have been used to, among other things, write grant applications, we wish to remind the community that, while AI has its place in health research, applicants are responsible for writing their applications themselves. This is a question of research integrity, with matters related to plagiarism and invalid authorship currently covered by the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research. Furthermore, use of AI tools could result in your original content being harvested by other platforms and used without your consent or without citing your authorship. AI-enabled grant-writing tools are imperfect, amplify biases and should not be depended on to craft applications. For more tips and insights on writing a successful CIHR application, see our page on The Art of Writing a CIHR Application.

This extends to written reviews, as well: Peer reviewers are responsible for reading applications assigned to them and writing fair and rigorous reviews. As our colleagues at the National Institutes of Health have recently noted, copying and pasting applications, proposals or meeting materials into AI platforms also constitutes a breach of confidentialityRead more about review quality on the College of Reviewers webpage.

The use of artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving issue, and we are already working with our Tri-agency colleagues on how best to provide consistent guidance to the Canadian research community on this matter.

Font and formatting

In order to ensure that all applicants have exactly the same amount of space to present their research proposals, it is now mandatory that all applications be written using Times New Roman font. As in previous competitions, applications should be written in 12-point black font. Applicants are not permitted to use condensed/narrow font sizes or adjusted type density. The onus is on the applicant to present information in an accessible format. Smaller text in tables, charts, figures and graphs is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%. Reviewers may not be able to appreciate information in figures that is not readily accessible, and this may have negative consequences for the assessment of the application. Failure to follow formatting requirements could lead to the application being withdrawn. See the Project Grant application instructions for more information.

Funding for Priority Announcements and bridge grants

Priority Announcements (PAs) and bridge grants serve as additional sources of potential funding for applications submitted to the Project Grant competition. As committees focus their discussions on the most competitive applications, more excellent applications are being streamlined. That is why some streamlined applications that are highly ranked may now be eligible for funding via PAs or as bridge grants. This approach allows CIHR to spread funds more broadly across the research community. Learn more about the Project Grant program funding decision process.

Safeguarding your research

As you may know, the Government of Canada has directed the granting agencies to take an enhanced security posture to protect Canadian-led research from being stolen, used or adapted in ways that may be harmful to Canada and its allies. More guidance on research security will be coming later this year. In the meantime, we refer our applicants to these guidelines and tools to help safeguard your research

Simultaneous interpretation

We are working to remove all barriers to accessing funding, including linguistic barriers. To increase the confidence of Francophone applicants in the review process, we currently translate one-page research summaries of applications submitted in French in advance of committee meetings. As well, we also translate reviews in cases where reviews are submitted in the opposite official language of the application (i.e., reviews written in English are translated into French for French applications and reviews written in French are translated into English for English applications). Further, we need to ensure that French-speaking reviewers are able to fully participate in their official language of choice. To this effect, we have been piloting simultaneous interpretation services in peer review meetings for select peer review committees. We will be extending this pilot as we continue to refine the process to make it as seamless as possible.

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

When CIHR signed on to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) in 2019, we were reaffirming our commitment to ensuring a wide range of research results and outcomes are valued as part of the peer review process. We encourage applicants to highlight a broad range of outputs in the Most Significant Contributions section of their applications. We also require that peer reviewers assess productivity broadly (i.e., not just based on publications) and to consider an applicant's career stage and leave history. Learn more about DORA at CIHR.


For Questions, please contact

Email the CIHR Contact Centre at or get in touch with your CIHR University Delegate, who can bring your question forward to CIHR.

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