As a strategic funding initiative, HBHL aims to balance scientific excellence with strategic investment in its funding decisions. HBHL’s aim is to take full advantage of the opportunity offered by the CFREF grant to advance our particular areas of research in ways that would not be possible otherwise.
HBHL seeks to fund research that is broadly applicable to Canada’s diverse population and that addresses known gaps in the research literature caused by the historical omission of particular groups from health research (e.g., women, Indigenous people, people of colour, gender diverse and sexually diverse populations, people with different abilities). In addition, translational potential is considered through a social determinants of health lens.
All HBHL funding programs are reviewed to ensure adherence to McGill’s and HBHL’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion guidelines.
Funding Process Overview
Typically, the funding allocation decision process includes the following steps:
Eligibility Review: Applications are received by the HBHL office and undergo an eligibility review to ensure the application is complete and that the project and applicants are eligible for that funding call.
Peer Review: Each eligible application is reviewed by at least three external reviewers, all of whom have declared no conflict of interest. Separate sex- and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) reviewers ensure that projects integrate sex as a biological variable, gender as a socio-cultural determinant of health and other relevant factors or offer an evidence-based justification for not considering these factors.
Scientific Alignment: The relevant HBHL governance committee (Research Management Committee, Training Program Committee, Innovation Committee or McGill-Western CFREF Working Group) evaluate highly rated proposals based on their fit with and potential to advance HBHL’s objectives and determine whether to make a funding recommendation to the Strategic Steering Committee. (Trainee fellowships skip this step).
Strategic Decision: In the case of most funding programs (aside from fellowships), the Strategic Steering Committee reviews the recommendations from the Scientific Alignment step and makes a final funding decision based on the strategic investment value for HBHL. In the case of trainee fellowships, these decisions are made by the Training Program Committee using an ‘excellence levels’ approach, which makes strategic, equity-conscious decisions among equally-promising applications.