Research in Clinical Assessment

Application deadline

The deadline for the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition was Feb. 1, 2016.

Purpose

The purpose and priorities of the 2016 competition are the encouragement of innovations in the assessment of clinical competence or performance of students, postgraduate trainees or practitioners. Priority will be given to proposals that show promise in contributing to the knowledge and understanding of measurement in clinical assessment and to clinical program evaluation methods for medical education. The proposal must focus on research, not development, in the assessment of performance or clinical assessment.

Themes

Of special interest will be proposals that focus on the following themes:

  1. Test content analysis and blueprinting
  2. Test development and scoring
  3. Standard setting
  4. Test fairness
  5. Longitudinal evaluation of test scores

Other curiosity-driven research topics will be considered, but preference will be given to the five themes listed above.

Eligibiliy criteria

The award is intended to address two target groups:

  1. Junior or other investigators starting out in the assessment field
  2. Students who are undertaking graduate education in assessment of clinical competence or performance and who are seeking support for their research, which is part of their thesis requirements or postdoctoral program

Senior investigators are also encouraged to apply; however, preference may be given to junior investigators in order to foster the development of new researchers.

If the principal investigator (PI) is a graduate student, a faculty supervisor is required. This supervisor must hold an appointment at a Canadian medical school or health science faculty, or in a research institute at a teaching hospital. This supervisor must write a letter of support indicating that he or she will oversee the project and assume full responsibility for the grant deliverables and the disbursement of grant funds. Otherwise, the PI must hold an appointment at a Canadian medical school, health science faculty or in a research institute at a teaching hospital.

For PIs submitting proposals that are based on a portion of their thesis, the application should be tailored to the specific purpose of the Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition as outlined above and stand on its own merit.

Funding period

The duration of the project must be no more than 12 months in length. The start date of the project must fall between July 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

Award details

The maximum available funds per application is $37,500, which can be spread over 12 months of support (i.e., July 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017). However, applicants with innovative proposals requiring smaller, short-term amounts (e.g., master’s projects) are encouraged to apply.

The MCC reserves the right to withhold 25 per cent of the awarded monies until a final report has been submitted to and accepted by the MCC. Reports must be submitted to the MCC within three months of the study’s end date.

Applicants who have received an MCC grant but have failed to submit a satisfactory final report by the specified deadline are not eligible to apply for another MCC grant until they have submitted a satisfactory final report.

Proposal preparation

Applications should be submitted using the appropriate application form (formatted in 11-point font, at minimum) and should not exceed 11 pages in length including cover page and references. Within reason, additional supporting documentation may be included as appendices (e.g., questionnaires, tables, etc.)

The application form includes the following sections:

  1. Name and title of principal investigator and co-investigator(s)
  2. Abstract (300 word maximum, including up to three key words)
  3. Problem statement (research questions and rationale)
  4. Review of literature
  5. Research design and methods (experimental design, subjects, material, data collection procedures, data analysis)
  6. Implications of findings
  7. Project schedule and personnel
  8. Budget and defence of budget (if additional funds have been sought for the same study, either in-kind or from another granting institution, it must be clearly indicated with appropriate rationale provided)
  9. References

Applications must be accompanied by abbreviated CVs from the PI and each of the co-applicants outlining their education, research training, academic positions held and publications over the past five years.

In order to be considered for funding, each proposal must contain the following:

  1. All applications must be accompanied by a statement indicating the status of ethics approval from the ethics committee from all involved institutions (waived, in progress, approved).
  2. All applications must be sponsored in writing by the departmental or program chair and must include a statement that the research protocol is supported, based on a peer-reviewed, in-house assessment or an equivalent institutional review committee prior to submission. Please note, individuals who provide letters of support are not eligible to be listed as co-investigators.

By submitting a proposal for consideration, the applicant certifies that all research described in the proposal is accurately cited and that the reference list is complete. If it is determined that a proposal contains plagiarized content, the application will be removed from the current competition. Further action may be taken at the discretion of the R&D Committee.

For proposals requesting the use of MCC data, you are encouraged to contact the MCC first in order to determine if the data required can be made available for the study in question. All requests for MCC data must undergo a separate, internal data request process.

Budget requirements

Here are examples of allowable line items:

  • University administrative/overhead research surcharge (maximum of 12.5 per cent)
    • Research institutions are encouraged to consider waiving administrative/overhead surcharge fees where possible as the MCC’s grants are considered ‘academic’ rather than ‘industry’ (the MCC is a not-for-profit organization). This would allow 100 per cent of grant funds to be spent on research
  • Remuneration for subjects/participants
  • Research assistants
  • Consultation with subject matter experts
  • Conference registration fees and related travel
  • Travel for research & design sessions for multi-site studies

The following are examples of items that the MCC typically will not cover; it is expected that these will be provided in-kind by the applicant’s organization:

  • Hardware (laptops, video recorders, audio recorders, etc.)
  • Software
  • Office supplies (photocopying, printing, phone calls, etc.)
  • Graphic design services

Please note, the above-mentioned lists are not exhaustive. If you are unsure if certain items would be covered, please contact grants@mcc.ca. The MCC will not fund salaries for principal investigators. The MCC will also not fund indirect administrative/overheard surcharges after the fact. All indirect costs arising from the study, including university administrative surcharges or levies (maximum 12.5%), must be submitted in the application’s budget as identifiable, direct cost line items.

Review process and criteria

Applications to the MCC’s Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition undergo a comprehensive review process.

  • Applications are reviewed internally and are assessed for completion and overall fit with the competition’s purpose
  • At minimum, two independent, external reviewers are assigned to each respective proposal. Every effort is made to match the proposal topics to the expertise and knowledge of the reviewers. Applications are rated using a standard set of procedures and rating rubrics. The following areas of each proposal are rated by reviewer:
    • Abstract
    • Problem statement/literature review
    • Strength of research design and methods (experimental design, subjects, material, data collection procedures, data analysis)
    • Adequacy of sampling
    • Analysis methods
    • Budget/resources
    • Implications
    • Overall clarity of the proposal
  • The adjudication committee reviews the proposals and the outcomes of the external peer-review process and discusses the overall merits of the applications. The final funding decision is not subject to appeal.

Acceptance guidelines

Once an application is accepted, grant acceptance guidelines must be signed by the PI (and their faculty supervisor, where applicable) and submitted to the MCC. Please review the current guidelines for researchers who hold a faculty position. Furthermore, please review the guidelines for graduate students and their supervisors.

The MCC requires that all grantees acknowledge the MCC’s contributions to their projects through its Research in Clinical Assessment grant program in any subsequent publication or presentation of the results of this study. Copies of all presentations, reports, publications, posters, etc. must be shared with the MCC in a timely manner.

Submission

Prior to submitting an application for the Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition, researchers may find it helpful to review this checklist to ensure that their application is complete.

At the time of application, all documentation should be submitted in PDF format. Proposals should be submitted by email to grants@mcc.ca.

Helpful links

Reviewers

The MCC Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition welcomes volunteers who are interested in reviewing grant applications. We make an effort to match grant applications to the reviewers’ area(s) of expertise. If you are interested in serving as an expert external reviewer for this year’s competition, please contact us at grants@mcc.ca.

Reviewer benefits include:

  • Adding this activity to your CV
  • Supporting new and exciting research
  • Keeping active in the field of clinical assessment

Please note, applicants to the current year’s competition are not eligible to serve as an external reviewer.

Contact

Should you have any questions about the 2016 Research in Clinical Assessment grant competition, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at grants@mcc.ca.