Proposal Review Process

The steps involved in the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP) proposal review process are described in the following subsections.

4.1 Technical and Relevance Review

Submitted proposals are distributed to one of five review teams. The review teams are comprised of representatives from northern organizations, other government departments, academia, and other areas of expertise. These teams are:

  • Human Health review team
  • Environmental Monitoring  review team
  • Environmental Research review team
  • Community-Based Monitoring and Research review team
  • Communications, Capacity and Outreach review team

The review team’s role is to assess the merit of the project and its relevance to the NCP. They assess relevance by reviewing how the proposal addresses the priority areas identified in the relevant NCP Blueprint and other NCP strategic priorities, using the criteria in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1 Review Criteria – NCP Relevance
Y/N Does the research proposal address one of the key research needs outlined in the Blueprint? If so, which one(s)?
Y/N Does the proposed work have relevance and applicability in addressing other issues of importance to northerners (e.g. climate change, food security)?
Y/N Does the team have the necessary capacity and/or track record to conduct described research, and the potential to deliver results that reflect scientific excellence?
Y/N Where appropriate (e.g. community based monitoring and research proposals), is co-production of knowledge/indigenous knowledge included in the proposal and does the project use participatory research methods?
Y/N Does the proposal include educational/training elements?
Y/N If this research project directly impacts northern communities or Indigenous groups, have they been engaged and do they support this research? Have the applicants addressed the NCP Guidelines for Responsible Research and obtained written consent (where applicable)?

4.2 Technical and External Peer Review

Proposals for new projects submitted under the Environmental Monitoring and Research, and Human Health subprograms will undergo an external peer review. Other review teams may request an additional external peer review, for example if more technical expertise is required. Upon receipt of the external peer reviews, the teams are reconvened to take the reviews into account and finalize their recommendations to the NCP Management Committee.

Table 4.2 Review Criteria – Technical and External Peer Review
20 Scientific excellence/expertise of principal investigator and team (including consideration of relevant publications)
15 Clarity and scope of objectives
15 Clarity, adequacy and inter-comparability of methodology
15 Suitability of proposal design for meeting the objectives (e.g. sample size, etc.)
10 Appropriateness of time frame (e.g. can the project results be delivered within the time frame specified in the proposal and within a time frame appropriate to the NCP?)
10 Appropriateness of budget (e.g. charges for sample analysis)
15 Overall clarity and organization of proposal
Written Assessment Peer reviewers are asked to provide a brief written assessment of the proposal, including an assessment of the importance of the proposed project with respect to the priority areas identified in the relevant NCP Blueprint.


4.3 Social/Cultural Review

Regional Contaminants Committees (RCCs) conduct a social/cultural review of the proposals. This review assesses aspects in the proposal such as communications, northern priorities, capacity building and training, traditional knowledge, and northern consultation. Each proposal is rated and recommendations are made to the NCP Management Committee on how the proposals could be improved in these areas.

Table 4.2 Review Criteria – Social/Cultural Review

How complete are the communications activities:

    - prior to project implementation?

    - during project execution?

    - after project results are received?

How is the rapport of the project applicant within the study area?

Northern Priority

Does the project address a question that is important to Northerners?  (Note: Proposal must also meet a priority outlined in the Blueprints.)

Has similar work been done already?  Recently?

Does the proposal build on existing data?

Capacity Building/Training

Does the proposal provide local or northern training opportunities?

Does the proposal promote capacity building in the North?

Indigenous Knowledge

Does the proposal make use of appropriate Indigenous Knowledge?

Have the relevant communities been consulted on how Indigenous Knowledge could be incorporated into the project?

Past Experience in the Region

Has the project team established and/or previously demonstrated good working relationships with the relevant communities?

Does the project team have a satisfactory track record of delivering on social/cultural aspects of project plans?

Other Additional comments on technical and logistical aspects, budget and other considerations.

RCCs will provide a review of each proposal that is relevant to their region, using the above criteria as guidance.

The review will also include:

(a)    an overall rating of the proposal (High, Medium-High, Medium, Medium-Low, Low) for its social/cultural aspects;

(b)    a recommendation (Support, Do Not Support, Conditional Support); and

(c)     specific conditions of funding recommended by the RCC, if applicable. 


4.4 NCP Management Committee

The NCP Management Committee meets in April to review and consider all the recommendations from the subcommittees and RCCs. The NCP Management Committee makes the final funding decisions for the year.

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