Joint Policy on Peer/Merit Review Financial Recompense

Effective Date: December 15, 2016


The mandates of the three federal research funding agencies–the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)–and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) are delivered through effective volunteer peer/merit review systems. They engage a broad range of national and international subject matter experts to ensure excellence in the research funded by these agencies. The peer/merit review systems also ensure accountability not only to the Government of Canada and Canadian taxpayers–the source of funding for the Agencies–but also to the research community at large.

Policy Objective:

The objective of this policy is to define the exceptional terms under which individuals can be financially recompensed for participating in the peer/merit review processes for CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and/or CFI.


The peer/merit review processes of the Agencies are first and foremost volunteer systems; therefore, participation is only rarely recompensed. Financial recompense should not be:

  • the prime consideration in a person’s decision to participate;
  • used as a means to encourage participation; or
  • offered by the Agencies, but rather the reviewer should request it as needed.


Only individuals who can demonstrate hardship due to actual loss of income are eligible to receive financial compensation. Individuals who hold national or international academic and government positions are not eligible.