The primary objective of the Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association is to fund medical and scientific research aimed at understanding, treating and seeking a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and in particular but not limited to, the potential to help children and young people with this condition.
CICRA has several streams of funding which, with the exception of the Bursary Awards, are all Peer Reviewed by the CICRA Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) and external referees. These funding streams are:
- 3-year Research Fellowship – a clinical/scientific training post for paediatricians in training who are seeking to specialise in paediatric gastroenterology with an interest in IBD. Many of the leading paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK have received their training through this scheme.
- 3-year PhD Studentship – a scheme to encourage young scientists to gain their PhD while researching IBD. Fees and stipends are in line with Medical Research Council (MRC) rates.
- 2-year Postdoctoral Fellowship – for non-clinician scientists with a PhD wishing to undertake scientific research relevant to or involving children with IBD. This initiative is designed to attract basic scientists (e.g. immunologists, microbiologists, geneticists etc) into the field of IBD relevant to children.
- 1- or 2-year Project Grants – either to support a single project or part of a larger ongoing project.
- Small bursary grants (at the Trustees discretion) up to £400 (max. £5,000 annually) to help UK based health professionals (trainees, nurses and final year medical students involved in IBD) to be able to attend medical/scientific meetings. Preference will be given to those presenting their own paediatric work, although assistance may be offered for attending IBD-related training courses. In addition an annual bursary of £1000 is awarded to a trainee paediatric gastroenterologist towards travel to an international medical/scientific meeting.
CICRA ensures that it receives expert and independent advice for all funding opportunities and that all proposals are assessed objectively, impartially and in accordance with the guidelines set down by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), of which it is a member.
CICRA is very grateful for the support received from members of the medical profession who act as advisors in the peer review process, whether as members of the Medical Advisory Panel or as independent referees.
code of conduct
- The principal role of the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP), through its Chair, is to make recommendations to the CICRA Trustees on the medical and scientific merit of grant applications, for which a call is made no more than twice per year
- In addition the MAP may be asked to advise on research strategy at the invitation of the Trustees. Members may also be asked to provide email/telephone advice to the Trustees
- Members will be asked to attend one full meeting a year
- MAP members may apply for any of the funding streams, however they must declare any conflicts of interest on submission of theirs or any other application. They will then take no further part in the assessment / grading or discussion in the same funding stream
- All remaining members of the MAP (including the Chair) will be asked to independently review and score grant applications. Members of the MAP must ensure timely completion of their grant reviews and scoring. These scores are pooled with those of the external referees, and a mean score calculated. This process is carried out in the CICRA office and results presented to the Panel before their annual meeting. The Chair of the MAP will make a final recommendation to the CICRA Trustees, who will then make the final decision on the grants to be awarded
- The Chair of the MAP and the Chair of the Trustees will agree on inviting new members to the MAP. The Chair of the Trustees will then invite them to serve an initial term of three years, after which they may be asked to extend this period for a further term. Members of the MAP who retire may not join the MAP until three years has passed. Not more than 50% of the MAP members should be active grantholders.
- Everybody involved in the Peer Review should treat all documents and correspondence relating to applications for funding as strictly confidential and not disseminate or discuss them, or the outcome, with anyone outside of the review process
- Members of the MAP and external referees can expect that their comments will be treated in confidence by CICRA staff and trustees. Applicants can expect that CICRA staff and trustees will not disclose details of their application to those outside of the review process
- Panel members undertake to keep all documents secure and to dispose of them securely after decisions have been reached in line with Data Protection Guidelines
- Applicants should not, under any circumstances, directly approach members of the MAP in connection with their or another’s research application. Any queries should be referred to the CICRA office
- Anybody involved in the peer review process should refuse any requests for information or feedback from applicants on how a particular judgement was reached, unless asked to do so by the CICRA Trustees
- When applicants are informed of the outcome of their application, CICRA will provide anonymised versions of referees’ comments, and may also summarise the conclusion reached. Information that might identify the comments of individual MAP members or referees will not be revealed
- This Code of Conduct also applies to CICRA’s relationship with the external reviewers. It is CICRA policy to let external referees know the final outcome of applications they have reviewed after the decisions have been communicated to the applicants
- The Chair of the MAP will be asked to review progress reports on current grants and make recommendations to the Trustees on whether support should be continued
All applications for financial support (except Bursaries) are initially reviewed by the CICRA Grants Administrator to ensure they meet the criteria set for each type of award. Any application falling outside of the criteria will not be further reviewed and the applicant will be notified.
Full applications are sent to all members of the Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) for review, comment and independent grading. Suggestions for additional external referees are also sought. Appropriate external referees are approached after discussion with the Chair of the MAP. Once three external reviewers for each application have been identified they are approached by the CICRA Grants Administrator and, if they agree to act as a referee and are not conflicted, are sent a copy of the application with an evaluation form for comment and grading. Applicants with a possible high score but with need of clarification on specific points will be given the opportunity to answer these queries.
Scores from external referees and all MAP members are returned to the CICRA Grants Administrator, who calculates mean scores, ranks them, collates all comments and sends to the members of the Advisory panel prior to their annual meeting. At their annual meeting at least the top three ranked applications in each funding stream will be considered by the MAP (minimum 4 members). The Chair of the MAP makes the recommendation of the Panel to the Trustees for the final decision on which grants to fund. The Grants Administrator notifies the applicants of the outcome of the Trustees decisions and provides anonymised comments from the referees.