CIHR Project Grant - Spring 2021

Updated Information

CIHR will be hosting the following webinars to support participants with the requirements of the funding opportunity "Project Grant: Spring 2021 Q&A" and to answer questions on how to apply.

English Sessions
Duration: 60 minutes
When: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:00 am ET. Join the webinar using Microsoft Teams. 

Previous Update: Following feedback from the community, CIHR is making some important changes to the Project Grant spring 2021 competition


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

For More Information

For additional information, please visit the CIHR website for

  • Program guidelines
  • Application forms
  • Evaluation criteria

CIHR has made some changes to the Project Grant competition to reflect the context of COVID-19 and to make the competition work better for all. Find out what’s new.

NOTICE: As was previously included in our open competition, CIHR is adding a Notice of Recommendation (NOR) to its Fall 2020 competition. The NOR will provide applicants with information such as their application score, committee rank and reviews to help them determine if they want to resubmit their application to the Spring 2021 competition. The release of the Fall 2020 NOR is scheduled for February 16, 2021.


The Project Grant program is designed to capture ideas with the greatest potential for important advances in fundamental or applied health-related knowledge, health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes by supporting projects or programs of research proposed and conducted by individual researchers or groups of researchers in all areas of health. The best ideas may stem from new, incremental, innovative, and/or high-risk lines of inquiry or knowledge translation approaches.

Research Areas

The Project Grant program is open to applicants in all areas of health research that are aligned with the CIHR mandate: "To excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system". More than ever before, the health of Canadians is deeply intertwined with the health of people around the world. Projects or programs that have a global health research focus, or include international collaborations, are eligible for support through the Project Grant program.  The onus is on the applicant to clearly demonstrate the alignment of the application with CIHR's mandate.

The Project Grant program is expected to:

  • Support a diverse portfolio of health-related research and knowledge translation proposals at any stage, from discovery to application, including commercialization;
  • Promote relevant collaborations across disciplines, professions, and sectors; and
  • Contribute to the creation and use of health-related knowledge.

In addition, funding is available for specific research areas. See Funding Opportunities in Specific Research Areas and refer to the Project Grants: Spring 2021 Priority Announcements (Specific Research Areas). See the Frequently Asked Questions.

CIHR has made some changes to the Project Grant competition to reflect the context of COVID-19 and to make the competition work better for all. Find out what’s new.


  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant must be:
  1. an independent researcher or a knowledge user affiliated with a Canadian postsecondary institution and/or its affiliated institutions (including hospitals, research institutes and other non-profit organizations with a mandate for health research and/or knowledge translation).
  • If the Nominated Principal Applicant is a knowledge user, there must be at least one Principal Applicant who is an independent researcher.


  1. an individual affiliated with an Indigenous non-governmental organization in Canada with a research and/or knowledge translation mandate.


  1. an Indigenous non-governmental organization in Canada with a research and/or knowledge translation mandate (see Administration of Funds, below).
  1. The Nominated Principal Applicant must have their substantive role in Canada for the duration of the requested grant term.
  2. Principal Applicants must be independent researchers or knowledge users (inclusion of one or more Principal Applicants is optional).
  3. Co-Applicants can be one of the following (inclusion of one or more is optional):
    • independent researchers;
    • knowledge users;
    • trainees;
    • Other.
  4. An individual or an organization cannot submit more than two Project Grant applications per competition as a Nominated Principal Applicant. If the Nominated Principal Applicant submits more than two applications, CIHR will automatically withdraw the last application(s) submitted based on time-stamp of submission.
  5. Applicants must comply with CIHR’s Policy on Identical / Essentially Identical Applications (see Section 5.2 Application Administration Guide).
  6. Individuals who hold a Foundation Grant in the role of Program Leader and were originally funded as a mid-career or senior researcher are not eligible to apply to the Project Grant competition in the role of Nominated Principal Applicant or Principal Applicant until the grant expiry date allows them to do so. Please contact CIHR if you have questions about your eligibility. Foundation grantees originally funded as early career researchers (ECRs) are eligible to apply for Project Grants in the role of Nominated Principal Applicant or Principal Applicant.

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) (Updated: 2020-09-14)

Inclusion within this cohort is based on the ECR eligibility status of the Nominated Principal Applicant, at the application deadline.

All time spent in full-time independent research appointments/positions will be taken into consideration when determining eligibility irrespective of time spent in a clinical component or other duties (i.e., administrative, academic, etc.). Should an applicant hold or have held a part-time appointment/position, CIHR will count that time as 50% (e.g., a one-year part-time appointment/position will count for 6 months towards the 72-month maximum). (Updated: 2020-09-14)

Leaves of absence will be considered in the calculation of eligibility (i.e., will not count towards the 72-month maximum) and should be included in the Employment section under Leaves of Absence in the Common CV. (Updated: 2020-09-14)

COVID-19 Impact on ECRs

CIHR is temporarily adjusting the period of eligibility for an ECR. All those who held ECR status as of March 1, 2020, or who secured their first academic appointment after this date, will have their status extended by one year.

CIHR will closely monitor the pandemic and its impact on ECRs overall and on specific groups with the intent that further interventions may be warranted.

Funding Availability

The total amount available for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Project Grant competitions is $550M.

Maximum Project Value

Project Grant funding levels are proportionate to the requirements of the research proposed, which is expected to vary by research field, research approach, and scope of proposal activities.

  • $13.75M dedicated to large grants. Large grants are defined as those within the top 2% largest total grant amount requested by all applicants within the competition and will vary with each competition. Individual grant applications requesting a total of more than $13.75M from CIHR will be withdrawn.
  • $12.65M (4.6%) dedicated to supporting applications with an Indigenous health research focus.

Indirect Costs


Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


CIHR will be hosting “Ask Me Anything” sessions designed to support participants and answer questions about the Spring 2021 Project grant competition. Questions will be accepted via a Slido question board.

Duration: 90 minutes

English Sessions:
Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 15:00 pm ET
Friday, February 5, 2021 at 13:00 pm ET

For more information:


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Registration: PI to submit registration directly to sponsor via online application system ResearchNet.   Application form will open once registration has been submitted.  More information on this funding opportunity and Registration instructions can be found on the CIHR website.

Internal Deadline

Application: PI to submit a copy of application, routing slip and signed Participant Signature pages (if applicable) along with a complete OR5 form to:

PI must hit "submit" on ResearchNet on or before the internal deadline.  The application will then be accessible the the Grants Officer to review.

External Deadline

Application: This funding opportunity follows the eApproval process. This means that when the applicant submits an application, it will be directed electronically to the Research Institution which the applicant has identified as the Institution Paid. The Research Institution will review the application and submit their approval electronically to CIHR on behalf of the applicant.

To complete your application, follow the instructions for this program along with any additional specific instructions and submission requirements list on the sponsor guidelines.

How to Apply

Specific Instructions

  • Because CIHR is committed to ensuring that its programs and peer review processes result in the fair and impartial treatment of all participants, applicants to CIHR programs must complete an Equity and Diversity Questionnaire.
  • The Nominated Principal Applicant is asked to 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.
  • All application participants will require a CIHR PIN. It is important to provide a PIN number for Collaborators.

Indigenous Health Research (IHR): For an application to be considered for review by the IHR committee and for the IHR peer review members to assess the level of engagement as required by the TCPS 2 - Chapter 9 on Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada and Indigenous partnering community/organization ethical guidelines, the following steps must be completed at registration:

  • Select ‘yes’ to the question regarding the TCPS 2 – Chapter 9 (“Does your proposal address the TCPS 2 - Chapter 9 Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada and Indigenous partnering community/organizational ethical guidelines?”);Provide a detailed justification in the related text field to indicate how the proposal addresses the principles of the TCPS 2 – Chapter 9;Select the Indigenous Health Research (IHR) committee as the first suggested peer review committee.meaningful and culturally safe research involving Indigenous Peoples, with the intent to promote health through research that is in keeping with Indigenous values and traditions; the proposal must also explicitly describe engagement with the community in relation to the research. The IHR committee may deem an application eligible for the Iterative Peer Review Process. See the Peer Review Manual – Project for additional information on the iterative review process. Applications that do not align with the IHR committee mandate will be reviewed by another relevant discipline-based committee.

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least five days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).

For Questions, please contact

CIHR Contact Centre
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178

Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52832

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