CIHR Project Grant

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.

Changes for spring 2021 competition

Read the summary of changes from CIHR.

  • Summary of Progress (2 page max): Mandatory for all Nominated Principal Applicants. This document supports your research proposal by allowing you to describe how your application fits into your overarching research program. When preparing the Summary of Progress pages, please carefully read the instructions.
  • Applicant Profile CV: Knowledge users, Indigenous applicants and international applicants now have the choice to use either the CCV or an Applicant Profile CV. Canadian academics must still submit a CCV. NOTE: ResearchNet will allow either version to be uploaded – be certain you are including an acceptable format CV.
  • Removal of Weighted Scores: Reviewers will now provide one score that reflects all three evaluation criteria: (1) significance and impact of the research, (2) approaches and methods, and (3) expertise, experience, and resources.
  • Sex and Gender Based Analysis (SGBA): In addition to identifying whether SGBA is a strength, a weakness or not applicable to the proposal, reviewers will now be explicitly required to include their assessment of whether SGBA is appropriate for the research being proposed. If so, the overall application score and written evaluation will reflect if SGBA has been suitably addressed in the research proposed.
  • Entry of Foundation grant-holders: This is the first competition where non-ECR Foundation grant-holders will be eligible to apply to the Project grant program.  CIHR will be investing the funding previously allocated for the Foundation grant program as it becomes available directly into the Project grant program.
  • Indigenous health research: CIHR has updated the eligibility criteria for the Project grant competition. Starting with the Fall 2020 competition, individuals affiliated with Indigenous nongovernmental organizations in Canada with a research or knowledge translation mandate are now eligible to apply to the Project grant competition as Nominated Principal Applicants.
  • Ensuring equitable access to research funds: Since 2016, CIHR has ensured that the proportion of applications submitted by ECRs is at least equal to the proportion of ECR grants funded. CIHR will extend these measures to ensure that the proportion of grants funded is at least equal to the proportion of applications submitted by female applicants and for applicants submitting applications written in French. As with ECRs, a portion of the competition budget will be reserved for these interventions. Should the full amount set aside not be required, all remaining funds will be used to fund applications in rank order.

Key application considerations

  • Applicants may submit a maximum of two (2) Project Grant applications per competition in the role of Nominated Principal Investigator (NPA).
  • Notice of Recommendation (NOR): As was previously included in the 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
  • Equity and Diversity Questionnaire: Completion of the Equity and Diversity Questionnaire is mandatory for all CIHR Application participants. Collaborators are exempt.  The Equity and Diversity Questionnaire must be completed priot to the eSubmission deadline. 
  • iKT/Partner/Knowledge User or projects involving Indigenous research: For projects involving integrated knowledge translation, partners, and/or knowledge users, or those that involve Indigenous research, please contact as soon as possible to discuss implications to the application.  The deadline for these specific consultations is March 12, 2021. 
  • Response to Previous Reviews: If you are resubmitting an unsuccessful Project Grant application, you may provide a response (up to 2 pages) to previous reviewers’ comments.  Applicants who upload a “response to previous reviews” must include all the reviews received in the last round of submission in the response (the reviews do not count toward the 2 page response limit).  You do not have to respond to all the comments in the reviews, only those that are relevant to your revised application. Your 2-page response to reviews - and the reviews being addressed - must be uploaded as a single PDF attachment. Please see Application Instructions for updated, detailed instructions.
  • Sex and Gender Considerations: 1) The NPA 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. 2) In addition to identifying whether SGBA is a strength, a weakness or not applicable to the proposal, starting in the Spring 2021 competition, reviewers will now be explicitly required to include their assessment of whether SGBA is appropriate for the research being proposed. If so, the overall application score and written evaluation will reflect if SGBA has been suitably addressed in the research proposed.
  • CIHR Priority Announcements (PAs) are available  for the Spring 2021 Project Grant competition. PAs offer additional sources of funding for highly ranked and competitive applications that were not funded through the Project Grant competition budget. Review the PA Funding Opportunity Details Page and FAQs
  • For Commercialization Projects, a Research/Technical Plan and a Commercialization plan must be integrated into the 10-page proposal. Consult CIHR's Commercialization Projects website, and (see links under 'Resources' below) the Peer Review Manual, Funding Opportunity Details and the Application Instructions for details.
  • All application attachments must adhere to CIHR's  Acceptable Application Formats and Attachments.

Key Deadlines:

(Check with your department/faculty for additional deadlines)


Researchers who intend to apply for a Project Grant must complete their registration in ResearchNet by/before March 4th, 8pm ET


NEW for Internal Review deadline: Submit the application to Research Services for internal review by verifying and submitting the full application and all CCVs and attachments in ResearchNet. Please do not email the application to Research Services.


Friday, March 19th 2021, by/before 8pm ET

  • Submission of ROLA proposal
  • Submit your complete draft application in ResearchNet

*Note: Applications will not automatically be returned in ResearchNet for editing. Applicants may continue to work on their applications offline while their application awaits review. Applications will be released back to the Applicants (if needed) for final edits/uploads once the Research Services review is complete.

Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received in ResearchNet and applications received after the internal deadline will receive truncated reviews.


Thursday April 1st 2021, by/before 2pm ET

  • Final application submitted in ResearchNet.
  • When you submit your application in ResearchNet, it will be routed through Research Development & Services for review and final submission to CIHR. Research Services must forward applications to CIHR prior to the sponsor deadline.

Note: When you submit your Registration in ResearchNet, it will be sent directly to CIHR. When you submit your Application in ResearchNet, it will be routed through Research Western for review and final submission to CIHR.

Project Grant Registration Instructions

A Common CV is not required at this stage

Project Grant Application Instructions



Western Webinars

Virtual Panel Discussion about CIHR Project Grant Peer Review  

Western Webinar and Q&A with Jane Rylett and Tim Regnault

Drop in Q&A Sessions

Leading up to the application deadline, Research Services will be offering drop in Q&A sessions for applicants.

CIHR Webinars

CIHR will host a Q&A session Mar 10, 11am-noon. Webinar details and the link to join are on the CIHR website.


For more information, or questions relating to the Project Grant program, please contact Western Research at