NEW CPA Hosts Second Annual CCR Breakfast Meeting with Funding Agencies

On December 4th, 2013, the CPA, as Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR), organized a breakfast with representatives of various funding agencies. This was the second such breakfast organized by the CPA in its role as CCR Chair. In attendance at the breakfast were the following agency representatives:
 

  • SSHRC: Dr. Ted Hewitt, Executive Vice-President
  • NSERC: Mr. Pierre Charest, Vice-President, Research Grant and Scholarship
  • CFI: Dr. Gilles Patry, CEO and President
  • CIHR: Ms. Jennifer O'Donoughue, Executive Director, Reforms Implementation
  • MITACS: Dr. Rob Annan, Vice-President, Research and Policy

Each presenter spoke for approximately 15 minutes on the status of research and research funding in Canada. Following the presentations, CCR members participated in a roundtable discussion with the presenters. The CPA will synthesize the event's presentations and discussion, and explore potential follow-ups.

 

CPA, as CCR co-Chair, Organizes and Hosts Breakfast Meeting with Representatives of Various Funding Agencies

On November 21, 2012, the CPA, as co-Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR), organized and hosted a breakfast meeting with the following funding agency representatives:

  • SSHRC: Dr. Chad Gaffield, President
  • NSERC: Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President
  • CFI: Dr. Gilles Patry, President
  • MITACS

Unfortunately, the CIHR was unable to send a representative to attend the breakfast.  Each presenter was asked to speak for approximately 10 minutes on the status of research and research funding in Canada.  Following the presentations, CCR members participated in a roundtable discussion with the presenters.  The CPA, along with the CCR's other co-Chair, will synthesize the event's presentations and discussion, and explore potential follow-ups.  Check back for future updates.

CPA Letter to NSERC Regarding the Cancellation of the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program

Click here to view CPA's letter to NSERC regarding NSERC's recent announcement/decision to cancel the RTI program following the 2013 competition.

Members are reminded that NSERC is currently consulting with the research community to gather feedback on two proposed options for the future of the Research Tools and Instruments  (RTI) Grants Program. From June 29 to September 28, 2012, we invite you to review the proposed options and vote by completing the RTI Grants Program survey (powered by Survey Monkey). A portable document format (PDF) version of a document outlining both options is also available. 

Please take a moment to complete the online consultation or write an individualized letter to NSERC.

CIHR Fellowship Program Moving to One Competition per Year

In an effort to align the timing of CIHR's fellowship competition with its federal counterparts, NSERC and SSHRC, beginning in the Fall 2013, the CIHR Fellowship competition will only accept applications once per year (in October). 

Despite this change, the number of fellowships awarded will be maintained at approximately 170 per year and the overall budget allocated to this program will remain unchanged at $21M over five years. 

For questions, please contact the CIHR Fellowships team at the following address: Fellowships@cihr-irsc.gc.ca or visit CIHR's FAQ, http://trk.cp20.com/Tracking/t.c?TFPc-Vq1g-1E0QM39.

NSERC Consultation on the Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants Program

NSERC is currently consulting with the research community to gather feedback on two proposed options for the future of the Research Tools and Instruments  (RTI) Grants Program. From June 29 to September 28, 2012, we invite you to review the proposed options and vote by completing the RTI Grants Program survey (powered by Survey Monkey).

A portable document format (PDF) version of a document outlining both options is also available. 

Response to CIHR's Proposed Changes to its Open Suite of Programs and Enhancements to the Peer Review Process

CPA participates on a Blue Ribbon Panel of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) responding to the CIHR Proposed Changes to its Open Suite of Programs and Enhancements to the Peer Review Process.  Click here to read the CFHSS submission.

CPA Hosts Town Hall Meeting at CPA Convention with Representatives from Three National Funding Agencies

One of the greatest opportunities for psychology is that our work falls in the domain of all three of the federal granting councils; that also is one of our greatest challenges. The breadth of the research in our field requires us to take a “big picture” view. It is hoped that this town hall meeting will begin a conversation on how we can work together with the agencies to create and sustain innovative research in psychological science and discuss the way that psychologists can help shape the science landscape in Canada. The presentations by the three panelists representing CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC gave us a sense of where each of the councils sees science in general, and psychology in particular, contributing to innovation and leadership in Canadian Science; including the challenges and opportunities that psychologists, as both academics and practitioners, will encounter over the next decade or so.

Panelists:

  • Ms. Isabelle Blain, Vice-President, NSERC (via videoconference)
  • Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC
  • Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director of the Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction, CIHR

Date: Friday June 15, 2012
Location: World Trade and Convention Centre, Halifax, NS

CIHR Invites Feedback on its Proposed Reforms of Open Programs and Peer Review

In February 2012, the CIHR, via its website, invited feedback on its proposed reforms of open programs and peer review. Deadline for feedback was March 30, 2012.  The discussion document can be found at http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/documents/design_discussion_doc-en.pdf (or http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/44761.html). The Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) invited the CPA to sit on  a Panel convened to position CFHSS’ response to the document.  CPA will post the response when it is publicly available. In addition, CPA's Scientific Affairs Committee has reviewed the proposed changes and is providing their input.

CPA, as member of CCR, Meets with SSHRC President, Chad Gaffield

In October 2011, CPA, along with other members of the CCR, met with SSHRC President, Chad Gaffield. The CCR requested the meeting to present the views of the research community writ large (e.g. need for funding for curiousity-driven and untargeted research, support for students), to hear about SSHRC’s vision and directions, and to maintain our engagement.  Points arising during the meeting included: 1) the need to re-vision higher education and research in relation to a successful society; 2) the need to communicate better to the public about the whats and whys of social science and humanities research and define what successful innovation looks like for society; and 3) the need to create highways of communication between the silos and create the infrastructures necessary for interdisciplinary study and research.

CFHSS Invites CPA to Meeting with CIHR, SSHRC, and Vice-Presidents of Research from Several Universities

In May 2011, the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) invited CPA to attend a meeting on the funding of social determinants of health.  In attendance at the meeting were representatives from CIHR and SSHRC, as well as the Vice-Presidents of Research from several universities.  The purpose of the meeting was to “share experiences of granting agencies and of applicants/recipients/partners in funding research on the social determinants of health”.

NSERC Reject's CPA's Request that Eligibility Criteria for Clinicially-Oriented Student Research be Changed

As previously noted, the CPA has been working to convince NSERC to change their student funding eligibility criteria for students engaged in clinically-oriented research.  In June 2011, NSERC wrote to CPA, informing us that their eligibility criteria would remain unchanged.  Click here to view NSERC's reponse.

Results of Two Member Surveys - CPA Sends Letters to NSERC re: Student Funding Eligibility Criteria and CIHR's Student Award Notification and Deferral Process

As previously noted, the CPA is continuing to liaise with NSERC regarding its student funding eligibility criteria and with CIHR regarding its Student Award Notification and Deferral Process (please see postings below for an overview of these issues).  

To continue our advocacy efforts with both NSERC and CIHR, the CPA recently posted two brief member surveys and asked for your help in obtaining data regarding these matters. 

Results from the surveys have been analyzed and summarized in letters that CPA sent to both NSERC and CIHR.  Please click on the links below to view the letters.  As always, the CPA invites your input on any advocacy efforts that you feel would help address these matters.

Two New Member Surveys re: NSERC Student Funding Eligibility Criteria and CIHR's Student Award Notification and Deferral Process

As previously noted, the CPA is continuing to liaise with NSERC regarding its student funding eligibility criteria and with CIHR regarding its Student Award Notification and Deferral Process (please see postings below for an overview of these issues).  

To continue our advocacy efforts with both NSERC and CIHR, the CPA is seeking your help in obtaining data regarding these matters. 

To collect this data, CPA is asking you to complete two brief surveys (each survey should take only 5 minutes to complete). The surveys can be completed in either English or French, and will remain open until February 18, 2011. 

CPA Letter to Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care re: Suspension of Ontario Mental Health Foundation's Grant and Fellowship Program for New Awards for 2011-2012

January 19, 2011: In response to a notice regarding the suspension of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation's grant and fellowship program for new awards for 2011-2012, the CPA sent a letter to Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.  Click here to view the letter.

Ontario Mental Health Foundation Suspends Grant and Fellowship Program for New Awards for 2011-2012

(January 12, 2011): The Board of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation regrets to inform you that the Foundation’s grant and fellowship program for new awards will be suspended for 2011-2012; the Foundation’s program for new studentship awards will, however, go forward this year and all award programs will resume in 2012-2013.

The Foundation has traditionally relied on two sources of funds to support its research programs: earnings from the Foundation’s endowment and a transfer from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). Both sources have been affected by the economic recession; the earnings of the Foundation’s endowment have been drastically reduced and the transfer from MOHLTC was reduced by ten percent retroactively.

The Board of the Foundation will honour its funding commitments to current award holders. The Board will use funds from gifts and bequests to the Foundation - as much as $1.7 million -- to ensure that vitally-needed research and the careers of young researchers will not be interrupted.

For nearly forty-five years the Ontario Mental Health Foundation has provided funding to support critically needed mental health research in Ontario; for example, in 2010, the Foundation awarded over $3,000,000 in grants and fellowships. The Foundation requires stable Ministry funding to continue to achieve itsmission to promote the mental health of people living in Ontario, to prevent mental illness and to improve diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation through excellent, peer-reviewed research.

The Board encourages you and your colleagues to contact your Member of the Provincial Parliament and ask that they support continued funding for mental health research in Ontario.

William R. Avison, Ph.D.
Chair, Ontario Mental Health Foundation

CPA members at Dalhouise University write letter to CPA and NSERC about funding eligibility criteria for students in clinical programs

In response to NSERC's decision regarding funding eligibililty criteria for students in clinical programs, CPA members at Dalhousie University wrote a letter to the CPA (with a copy to NSERC)  in which they highlighted the problems with NSERC's decision and provided clear evidence/data on the impact of this decision. 

In early January, the CPA will be sending out a survey to the membership to obtain similar data from other psychology departments across the country so that we may continue our advocacy efforts regarding this very important issue. In the interim, we invite you to view the letter written by your colleagues at Dalhousie University and ask that you begin compiling information of a similar nature for the future survey.

Update:  CIHR's Notification Date and Deferral Policy of Student Awards

CIHR has gotten back to the CPA regarding their notification date for student awards. CIHR has informed the CPA that the timelines for the Doctoral Research Awards and Master’s Awards review processes are slightly staggered because they use the same peer review committees for both. From an administrative perspective, releasing the decisions for both these programs at the same time in early April would mean that CIHR would need to recruit 50% more peer review committee members to ensure that each reviewer has a reasonable number of applications to review. Furthermore, modifying these timelines would have an impact on CIHR's internal resources as they are fully allocated to accommodate the current operational requirements.

In addition to the significant impact on their current administrative processes and resources, CIHR has also noted that they do not have evidence that this is a widespread issue.  Consequently, they will need to do a detailed analysis on the issue before they can consider changing the timelines and will do as part of an upcoming strategic and operational planning related to CIHR support for students and trainees. 

In the interim, the CPA will endeavor to provide CIHR with evidence on the state of this  issue.  Check back soon as we will be posting a survey seeking your input on the state of this issue within your university.

CIHR: Notification Date and Deferral Policy of Student Awards

Following up on issues brought forward to the Scientific Affairs Committee by members, the CPA has been in discussion with CIHR regarding two issues. The first issue has to do with the timing of CIHR's notice regarding scholarships and awards, which at present is mid-July. This date is later than the date by which SSHRC and NSERC notify students. This is proving to be a problem for many students, faculty members and universities. As one example, in some cases, university acceptance is contingent on funding receipt and often times, students are not accepted because they don’t have funding, only to find out later they did get funding but don’t have a university spot. We are asking CIHR to move its award notification date so that they are consistent with those of SSHRC.

The second concern has to do with the length of time students can defer their awards.  At this point in time, students are able to defer their award only until January of the next year. We have asked CIHR if it is possible to have the deferral period extended until the following September.  This would allow students to apply to clinical programs and let the programs know they have funding.

CPA will continue to follow up on these issues with CIHR and will notify the membership accordingly of its discussions.

Update: Eligibility Criteria for NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships

Over the last few months, CPA has provided members with an update on the restructuring of the granting councils. Of particular concern to the membership is NSERC’s decision to explicitly not fund students in clinical programs regardless of the fact that they may have a basic science research focus. CPA developed a position paper in which it discussed its concerns, along with letter templates that could be used to write to each of the granting Councils.

On May 3, 2010, CPA received a letter from NSERC responding to concerns expressed by the CPA and other sources about its revisions to the Scholarship and Fellowship eligibility criteria. According to its guidelines NSERC does not support clinically oriented research; further, the aim of NSERC’s Scholarship and Fellowship program is to support students preparing for careers in the natural sciences and engineering.

In its letter to the CPA, NSERC acknowledged that some students in clinically oriented programs may be undertaking a research project that falls within the NSERC mandate and working under the direction of an NSERC-funded research supervisor.  Because of this, NSERC has determined that students who are registered, or intend to register, in a clinically oriented program will be eligible for NSERC funding if:

  1. they propose a research project deemed eligible to be funded by NSERC; and
  1. they are supervised by a researcher holding an active NSERC Discovery Grant.

For the 2010 NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships competition, applications in the above situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The eligibility clarification will also be reflected in the revised program literature. 

View CPA's Response to NSERC's Revision: click here.

Re-structuring of the Granting Councils

In the Federal 2009 Budget, the government announced 2 billion dollars allocated to infrastructure for post-secondary institutions and 35 million to support graduate student research for each of CIHR and NSERC with 17.5 million for SSHRC. Recently, the granting councils underwent a strategic review in which they reviewed their mandates, re-structured their funding criteria and identified areas where operations could be streamlined to be made more efficient. One of the ways in which the granting agencies have re-structured has been through the elimination of various programs or aspects of granting programs.

Core funding of the Councils is not only essential to the advancement of knowledge but also provides the platform within which graduate student research takes place. One of the outcomes of the strategic review and cuts implemented by SSHRC is that SSHRC will no longer fund any health-related research. This is a particular concern to psychology whose health-related research is more likely to have fallen under the traditional mandate of SSHRC than other disciplines with a more biomedical focus. Another outcome of the strategic review that is of particular concern to psychology is NSERC's decision to no longer fund students in clinical programmes despite the fact that they are conducting NSERC-related research.

CPA Position Paper

Download CPA’s Position Paper on this issue.

Write a Letter to the Granting Councils and Your Member of Parliament

Download the template to a letter that you can send to the granting councils and your Member of Parliament regarding this issue.

NSERC

CIHR

SSHRC

Funding of Students in Combined Programs

CPA representatives met with representatives from SSHRC on April 27th, 2009. A major focus of this meeting was funding for post-baccalaureate masters students. Following meetings with CPA, SSHRC conducted a thorough analysis of the different types of programs in order to avoid unfairness in combined programs. Based on this analysis, SSHRC plans to move to allow all students in combined MAPhD programs to apply for MA funding in the first year.