PDFO and SPARC launch successful CIHR Project

UBC is home to over 900 Postdoctoral Fellows, spanning over 90 units and 10 hospitals and affiliated sites. The Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO) within the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies works to enrich the UBC experience for postdocs at varying stages of their careers through a series of professional development opportunities and training programs.

In the summer of 2018, the Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO), in partnership with Support Programs to Advance Research Capacity (SPARC), launched a pilot training program designed to integrate emerging scholars into UBC’s internal grant review process, while also strengthening the competitiveness of UBC’s CIHR Project Grant applications. The PDFO-SPARC Internal Review Pilot Program was comprised of an orientation session, a grant review exercise session, and a mock panel review session to discuss reviewer feedback, and concluded with an in-person meeting between postdoc and faculty participants to discuss the feedback generated at the mock panel review meeting. Postdoc participants received a letter of recognition from the Associate Vice President, Research & Innovation and a $100 gift card as a token of appreciation for their time and expertise, and were invited to attend a networking luncheon with PDFO and SPARC staff.

An evaluation of this pilot identified the initiative as beneficial for both faculty and postdoc participants, with one postdoc remarking that, “this program more than exceeded my expectations. I learned so much about the review process and saw firsthand what makes an effective grant proposal from the reviewer perspective.” Faculty participants described the grant proposal feedback generated from the pilot as “relevant, objective, and of high-quality.

On the success of the pilot, the PDFO and SPARC are excited to include this initiative as part of regularly offered professional development programs.