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Ministry Status: Routine Monitoring and Engagement

Drug Innovation Fund

Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel Terms of Reference

Drug Innovation Fund Joint Academic And Relevance Review Panel

Members of the Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel will be chosen by Ontario Public Drug Programs (OPDP) in collaboration with the Chair of the Panel. Candidates will be assessed on their qualifications, track record in their field of study and ability to involve decision-makers in drug program service delivery and policy, based on the evaluation guidelines. The Panel must be viewed as independent and impartial.

Composition of the Peer Review Panel

  • The Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel will consist of up to 11 members (five academic reviewers, five relevance reviewers, and one Chair). The Chairperson will vote only to break a tie.
  • Researchers, decision makers and industry representatives will be represented on the panel.
    The representation may include the following:
    • Decision-maker partners (MOHLTC, Ministry of Research and Innovation)
    • Industry representatives
    • Service provider
    • Researchers from across the province
    • Patient group representative, preferably from patient group involved in research
  • A Chairperson shall be selected, and shall assist with the recruitment of Panel members.

Filling vacancies

  • Members are asked to inform the Chair and OPDP at least three months prior to exiting the Panel.
  • The original nominating organization is responsible for identifying a suitable replacement.
Review Panel Members' Responsibilities

The responsibilities of Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel members are:

  • To review and score all Letters of Intent (LOI) for research proposals as well as all full research applications, using agreed upon evaluation criteria to score each proposal and provide a written report on each LOI/application;
  • Where assigned, to lead the review and discussion of an LOI/full application with the full Panel.
  • To participate in Panel discussions, bringing their particular knowledge and judgement to bear on decisions
  • To review awardees' annual work plans and progress/final reports and provide advice to the Executive Officer, Ontario Public Drug Programs on their effectiveness.
  • To complete this work within the timeframe set out by the Executive Officer, OPDP.
Terms and Procedures
  • Prior to each scheduled meeting of the full Panel, Panel members will be required to dedicate time to evaluate and score all LOIs and/or full research applications.
  • Two reviewers - one academic and one relevance – will be assigned to each LOI and research application as lead presenters. Each lead presenter will present their reviews of an LOI/full application to the entire Panel, and both will have equal responsibility in leading Panel discussions as well as perform any extra duties associated with the review of that application (i.e., summarize details of complicated discussions/recommendations, etc.).

Conflict of Interest:

  • A Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel member has a conflict of interest with an application if he or she is from the same department as the applicant, has worked with the applicant within the past 5 years, or is a personal friend.
  • Members having a conflict of interest with an applicant do not receive any assessments of the application, and should not be present during any discussions pertaining to the applicant. Members from the same institution as an applicant, but not in conflict, may remain in the room but do not participate in the review.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy:

  • Under the terms of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (1987), the information contained in an application to the Ontario Public Drug Programs, including written evaluations and personal information pertaining to the applicant are confidential.
  • Panel members and external reviewers are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the material at all times, including refraining from any secondary use of the information.
  • Applicants may access their personal information freely. However, the identity of reviewers and appraisers will be held in confidence.
  • Personal information, for example, the Panel's recommendation on an application, will continue to be available only to the individual concerned.
The Review Process

At the Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel review meeting, each application is considered individually. Members in conflict with an application are not present. The two lead presenters will each present their reviews of the applications. A general discussion by the Review Panel follows, after which the application is scored and a funding recommendation is then rendered by the full Panel to OPDP. OPDP then make the final funding decision for each proposal.

Reporting on Progress

The Chair of the Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel is required to submit annual workplans and progress reports to the Ministry. The timing of such reports will be established in the first year of the award. Panel members will review these and discuss them at a Panel meeting to recommend appropriate action to the Ministry, and provide feedback to the Chair.

Chair Responsibilities

The additional responsibilities of the Chair are to:

  • Review final reports, in consultation with OPDP and Research Unit staff;
  • Chair the review meetings, ensuring that applications are reviewed in an objective manner, unbiased;
  • Represent the Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel at public events or meetings as required; and
  • Assist in the recruitment of Joint Academic and Relevance Review Panel members.

The Ministry will provide administrative support to the Chair and to the Panel.


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