Instructions to Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee Members

Thank You

On behalf of the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, we would like to thank you for participating in the peer review of the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program. Dedicated volunteers like you who generously offer their time and expertise to serve on the committee make the success of the peer-review process possible. The program, the Chairs Steering Committee and the scientific community appreciate your efforts.


The objective of the CRC program is to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds to Canada. It is founded upon an uncompromising commitment to excellence in research and research training. The Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee (IAC)  plays a key role in upholding the high level of excellence and prestige of the program, and in doing so, ensures accountability, not only to the Government of Canada and the Canadian taxpayer—the source of the program’s funding—but to the research community at large.

  • Tier 1 Chairs are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields
  • Tier 2 Chairs are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field

Review Process

Canada Research Chairs are awarded following a rigorous peer-review process, in which members of the College of Reviewers and IAC make recommendations to the Chairs Steering Committee for funding.

  • A minimum of three expert reviewers from the College of Reviewers assesses each new or renewal nomination, and, if applicable, the related Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) infrastructure request.
  • The Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee reviews all nominations that have received one or more unfavourable assessments from members of the College of Reviewers.
  • Based on the recommendations of the members of the College of Reviewers and/or the IAC, the Secretariat makes funding recommendations to the program’s executive director or the steering committee.
  • In the case of CFI infrastructure requests or cluster infrastructure requests (where the CFI funding is to be shared by two or more chairholders) the reviewers make their recommendation to the Secretariat, which is responsible for the coordination of the peer-review process (note that IAC is not involved in the peer review of the CFI funding requests). The Secretariat communicates the recommendation to CFI, which makes the final decision.

Instructions to reviewers

Conflict of Interest

The CRC  program complies with the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations to ensure the effective management of conflict of interest of any participant in the review process and to ensure confidentiality of personal or commercial information submitted to the program. Committee members must carefully read the policy and ensure that they are not in a conflict of interest before commencing their review.

A fair and balanced review

The success of the program’s peer-review process critically depends on the willingness and ability of all committee members to be fair and reasonable; to exercise rigorous scientific judgment; and to understand, and take into account in a balanced way, the particular context of each nomination. Using the materials provided,  members are asked to  provide a balanced oral assessment of their assigned nominations at the peer review meeting (noting both the application’s strengths and weaknesses, if applicable) in all five of the program’s evaluation criteria categories.

Reviewing a nomination

Reviewers should:

  • Familiarize themselves with the CRC program by reading the program description.
  • Review the different evaluation criteria for both new Tier 1 compared with Tier 2 nominations and renewal Tier 1 compared with Tier 2 nominations (as applicable for the type of nomination being reviewed). NOTE: the specific instructions that were used by the nominating institution and the nominee to present their information are within the review packages,  sent by courier to committee members along with their assignments by program staff.
  • Review the program’s guidelines for Assessing Productivity.
  • Review the nomination (note that IAC does not review the CFI infrastructure request portion of the nominations if applicable)
  • Review the institution’s Strategic Research Plan (SRP), which outlines their priority research areas and their plans for the Chair. Assess the fit of the proposed Chair within the context of the university’s SRP (in addition to being available on the Chairs website, this document is also included in the review package).

Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee Guidelines

Detailed guidelines and instructions for reviewing CRC nominations can be found in the Guidelines for IAC document.


Material entrusted to members must be used only for the purposes of review and assessment, and may not be used for other purposes. All information related to the nomination and assessment must be treated as strictly confidential and must not be discussed or disclosed to anyone without prior approval from the Secretariat. Note that all documentation provided must be destroyed in a secure manner after the meeting.