Review process evolving to support new programs

20 January 2016

Peer review is the cornerstone of MSFHR’s research programs. It ensures a fair, transparent process for funding research that meets the highest scientific and academic standards.

To date, MSFHR’s peer-review process has focused primarily on assessing the excellence of proposed research; however, the increasing diversity of the Foundation’s funding programs requires a multi-faceted approach. To ensure MSFHR’s review process reflects the evolving health research funding landscape, the Foundation is working to identify and establish leading-edge practices for review of funding applications.

MSFHR has contracted the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation’s REAL Knowledge Program to lead an environmental scan of review practices at Canadian and international health research funding agencies. The scan will include key informant interviews to identify trends, opportunities, and best practices. Perspectives and advice will be sought from experts in the field of peer review as well as representatives of government health research funding agencies, non-profit health organizations and charities, non-health research agencies, and research commercialization entities.

Based on this analysis, the REAL Knowledge Program will submit recommendations to MSFHR in Spring 2016 for a renewed approach to application review. The Foundation intends to share the report’s findings with a wide range of stakeholders.

In commissioning this review, MSFHR recognizes that many forces are changing the way funders make decisions. Factors such as patient involvement, commercialization prospects, and relevance to health-system priorities are increasingly significant considerations in allocating research dollars. MSFHR is eager to develop processes that will address these broader dimensions of application review.

The project supports MSFHR’s ongoing work to refresh its granting processes. An expanded suite of funding programs, announced in September, is expected to roll out in 2016 following consultation with BC’s health research community. 

About the REAL Knowledge Program

The REAL Knowledge Program was developed to offer “Relevant, Excellence, Accessible, and Legitimate” services to decision-makers across Nova Scotia and Canada. The program addresses the knowledge needs of decision-makers within the health system and the health research enterprise in designing policies, programs, and services. Read more