SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships
Research Appraisal form—Instructions for referees
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The Research Appraisal form, which is part of a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships application package, should be completed by the proposed supervisor of the postdoctoral research. The Research Appraisal form is available only by the unique URL included in the system-generated email requesting a research appraisal. We suggest you bookmark the link or save the email.
Your Research and Appraisal form is available until the application has been electronically submitted to SSHRC. This form must be verified and submitted before the applicant can submit their application package. The system will not accept incomplete applications.
- If you misplace the unique URL required to access this form, the applicant can resend the invitation.
- If you decline the invitation, the applicant will be notified by email.
- If you are removed by the applicant, you will be notified by email.
- If you try to make changes to the form after the applicant has submitted the application package, you will receive one of two messages: (1) form update error, or (2) The application form has been forwarded to SSHRC.
Three modules must be completed to submit this form: the Identification module, the Research appraisal module, and the Accept and submit module.
Fields identified in bold are required and must be completed.
Names and initials
Any changes to the information displayed in this section will be reflected on the application form.
Indicate your position (e.g., associate professor, director). If an applicable position is not listed, select “Other” from the list and type the information in the box provided.
Select the appropriate discipline by clicking on the “List…'” button. If an applicable discipline is not listed, select “Other” from the list and type the information in the box provided. Duplicate entries are not permitted.
Select the organization and department/division by clicking on the “List…” button. The “Country” list will appear. Select the country, the province or state (if applicable), then the organization. If the organization or department/division is not listed, select “Other” from the list and type the information in the box provided.
Applicant’s CV and form
You can preview the applicant’s CV and application by clicking on the appropriate link at the top of the page. The system will generate a PDF file of each form. You can view the application even if the applicant has not yet completed it.
You might have to complete this Research Appraisal form at a later date. For this reason, we recommend that you save the system-generated email.
Best practices and guidelines to limit unconscious bias
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and SSHRC are committed to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion to ensure equitable access across their programs.
The following best practices and considerations should be taken into account when drafting your research appraisal.
- Be accurate, fair, clear and balanced.
- Avoid being unduly personal.
- Support your points by providing specific examples of accomplishments where possible.
- Support superlative descriptors (e.g., excellent, outstanding) with evidence.
- Include only information that is relevant to the evaluation criteria (e.g., do not include information related to ethnicity, age, hobbies, marital status, religion, disability status, financial need, etc.).
- Avoid sharing personal information about the applicant. Such information might be helpful only in explaining academic delays or interruptions and should be addressed with caution.
Limiting unconscious bias
The agencies strongly encourage the use of inclusive language (e.g. “the applicant” or “they” instead of “he/she”). The research appraisal should be free of words or sentences that reflect prejudiced, stereotyped or discriminatory language of particular people or groups, or their institution.
Use of inclusive language has been shown to decrease unconscious bias during the evaluation process. For more information, refer to the Canada Research Chairs guidelines for letter writers on Limiting Unconscious Bias.
Letter writers should also refer to the tri-agency Bias in Peer Review training module as a guide for preventing unconscious bias in merit review.
For further information on unconscious bias, consult the Gender-based Analysis Plus webpage of Women and Gender Equality Canada (formerly Status of Women Canada).
In writing the research appraisal, describe how the applicant’s project relates to the research interests and strengths of your department. Describe also how you will serve as mentor to this applicant and what the candidate will be able to offer as a research fellow. When writing your comments, bear in mind that applications are reviewed by a multidisciplinary selection committee, some members of which might not be familiar with the field or subfield in which the candidate proposes to work.
Accept and submit
Note: The applicant cannot submit the application until you have submitted the Research Appraisal form.
Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, the contents of appraisals are accessible to applicants on request. Although the names of the referees will not be disclosed, the full text of the appraisals will be made accessible to the applicant, except for any comments made regarding other applicants and their identities. The information you supply is for adjudication purposes; it is subsequently retained in the applicant’s file and protected by the Privacy Act.
If you have problems with SSHRC’s online application form system, contact our helpdesk by telephone at 613-995-4273 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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