About the College of Reviewers

The health research landscape is changing drastically in Canada and throughout the world. Multidisciplinary and international collaboration, advances in technology and methods to capture and analyze data, and increases in research efficiency are among the factors contributing to this transformation. These changes have implications for CIHR as it positions itself as a world leader in the creation and dissemination of knowledge. In order to ensure that Canada remains competitive and continues to fund world class science, CIHR has undergone a series of transfor­mations in its funding programs and peer review system. Aligned with CIHRs strategic direction of promoting excellence, creativity and breadth in health research and knowledge translation, one of these changes designed to promote excellence in the peer review system is the establishment of a College of Reviewers.

The vision of the College of Reviewers (College) is to establish an internationally recognized, centrally-managed resource that engenders a shared commitment across the Canadian health research enterprise to support excel­lence in peer review of the diverse and emerging health research and knowledge translation activities that span the spectrum of health research. The College is intended to be a national resource that over time will serve the peer review needs of CIHR and its partners.

The implementation of the College will ensure:

  • A more stable base of experienced reviewers from Canada and abroad;
  • Collaborative approaches to peer review across health research funding organizations;
  • Inclusion of quality assurance mechanisms;
  • Systematic recruitment processes;
  • Ongoing education resources; and,
  • A valued recognition program.

Guiding Principles

There are four key principles that provide the conceptual foundation upon which this document should be inter­preted. They include:

  • Evidence based decision making
    Decisions regarding the development and implementation of the College will be informed by evidence (where evidence exists), international best practice, and experience based on 40 years as a research funding organization. We commit to contribute to the literature where evidence is sparse and to share our lessons learned with the wider research community.
  • Quality of the peer review system
    CIHR has a reputation for providing high quality peer review of all of its funding applications. Review quality will continue to be a central principle upon which the College and the peer review system will be delivered and managed.
  • Stakeholder engagement
    Stakeholder engagement to enable the co-development of the College as a national resource continues to be a core priority across all functions. Internal and external stakeholders will be consulted to seek feedback and discuss options, issues and the best path forward throughout the development and implementation of the College.
  • The professionalization of peer review
    The College will help to implement a more systematic approach to review quality through the development of standards and tools for measuring and monitoring quality assurance and thereby creating a system that can be quantified, tested and improved over time.

The work on the College supports CIHR's strategic direction to Promote Excellence, Creativity and Breadth in Health Research and Knowledge Translation as outlined in the Health Information Roadmap II and aligns with CIHR's Corporate Priorities of strengthening Investigator Initiated and Priority Driven Research.


  • systematizing recruitment
  • developing learning and mentoring programs
  • designing performance measurement strategies, performance management frameworks and review quality assurance programs
  • establishing programs to support and recognize members
  • implementing a robust oversight structure.
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