Merit Award

The deadline to apply has been extended to Sunday, March 29th, 2020 at 11:59PM.

What is the Merit Award?

As part of its commitment to support and nurture research activities among our clinical faculty members, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Toronto has instituted a Faculty Merit Award program.

Our vision is to create protected academic time for clinicians, allowing them to obtain, and be successful with, intramural (U of T system) or external grant resources to support their academic interests. Funding from the University Department is matched by hospital department chiefs and/or practice plans, and awards reflect a standard rate of $60,000 per annum (for one full day per week of protected academic time devoted to research activities).

Two-year Faculty Merit Awards are awarded to faculty members with the following job descriptions:

  • Clinician Investigator (CI): one day of protected academic time per week
  • Clinician Quality Improvement (CQI): one day or half day of protected academic time per week
  • Clinician Educator (CE): one day or half day of protected academic time per week

In addition, four-year Clinician Scientist (CS) awards involve two days of protected academic time per week, in support of a deeper commitment to consolidating and strengthening research programs that include staff, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical trainees. (NB: there will be no Clinician Scientist awards in the 2020 application cycle.)

Am I eligible for a Merit Award?

To be considered for funding, the applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  1. The applicant must be:
    •  a clinical MD faculty member in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a fully-affiliated hospital, or
    •  a clinical MD faculty member in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a community-affiliated hospital (holding a part-time or full-time faculty appointment).
  2. The applicant must hold an academic appointment at the University of Toronto with a primary affiliation with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and an academic rank of at least Assistant Professor, or have submitted a completed application for a University appointment as described above to the Department Appointments Committee.
  3. Applicants who have signed a hospital job offer to start later in 2020, and who are therefore in process to gain a University appointment during 2020, will also be considered for an award.
  4. The applicant must possess a signed letter from their hospital chief certifying that matching funds will be available for the full period of the award.
  5. The applicant must hold a University job description aligned to their relevant research category (CI, CQI, CE, CS). Applicants currently holding a clinician teacher job description may apply, but if successful they will be required to formalize the relevant reclassified job description at both the hospital and the University. University job descriptions can be verified by contacting Salvo Candela at salvo.candela@utoronto.ca.

Applicants should note the following:

  • Current recipients of a New Faculty Award that expires on June 30, 2020 are eligible to apply for a Merit Award, to provide seamless matched Hospital-University stipend support for their evolving research program, commencing July 1, 2020.
  • Current recipients of a two-year Merit Award expiring on June 30, 2020 are encouraged to apply, so long as they continue to attract hospital-level funding and continue with a CI, CQI, or CE job description.

Ineligibility for funding:

  • An individual whose annual hospital-based personal funding (for any responsibilities, including administration) meets or exceeds the Department standard of $60,000/year is deemed ineligible to apply, since the intent of the matching program is to create equity for faculty members who wish to focus on their academic interests.

Some senior faculty members hold a significantly funded Hospital or University leadership position. Such individuals are normally Clinician Administrators, holding Division Head or Chief roles. Since the purpose of the matching program is to foster career development for emerging and mid-career clinician-researchers, especially those that possess grant funding as Principal Investigators, the Faculty Merit Award pathway is not compatible with a career focus in administration.

Senior faculty members who hold a hospital Chair (fixed-term or endowed) may apply so long as their funding program does not include salary support that meets or exceeds the Department standard of $60,000 per annum for one day per week of protected time. The chief’s support letter should declare the full terms of their Chair award.

How do I apply for a Merit Award?

The deadline to apply has been extended to Sunday, March 29th, 2020 at 11:59PM. You can apply for the Merit Award by using this online form.

This form requires:

  1. Basic information about the applicant and the research project
  2. Certification of Hospital-level funding
  3. A CIHR common CV, or an abbreviated CV reflecting research-related activities in the past five years

***No other documentation is required.***

Information about your research will include the following:

A: Lay Abstract

Limit: 2,000 characters, including spaces.

Provide a brief overview of your research program suitable for the lay public. If selected for funding, this overview will be posted on the Department website along with your approved professional photograph, and may be used in other departmental communications, such as our annual reports. By submitting this application, you agree to the publication of this abstract on the Department website along with your approved professional photograph.

B: Significance of Contributions to Date

Limit: 3,500 characters, including spaces.

Provide a succinct summary of your relevant work to date, conveying its significance to the field. Include any evidence of impact (e.g. publication metrics, inclusion in guidelines, knowledge translation materials, other evidence of change in practice), if available. Indicate how your published and current work to date informs your proposed research program.

C: Research Concept

Limit: 4,000 characters, including spaces.

Articulate the planned program of research by outlining the overall goal, specific objectives (up to three) and components of each objective. Outline the short-term (this funding cycle of two years) and longer-term (five years hence) potential impact of your proposal. Applicants are encouraged to reflect upon the questions being asked of adjudicators when completing this section:

  • Are the goal and objectives of the proposed program well-defined and articulated?
  • Are the research questions important and the work innovative?
  • Is the proposal likely to achieve additional funding (to support trainees and/or operating costs)?
  • Is the proposal likely to advance health-related knowledge and/or its translation into improved health care, health systems and/or health outcomes, or enhance the educational approaches for trainees?

D: Research Approach and Strategy

Limit: 4,000 characters, including spaces.

Articulate the research approach (i.e., how you will deliver on the objectives of the program of research). You are not expected to provide extensive details on established methodologies; however, you should appropriately describe novel/innovative approaches. A detailed research design and study-by-study plan is not expected. Clearly delineate your current operational funding (research expendables and/or trainees, support staff) and your proposed strategies to secure additional operational funding (i.e. internal or external to your Hospital or Research Institute) that you need to manage your research program.

E: Relevant Grants and Publications in the Past Five years

Limit: 5,000 characters, including spaces

In the space provided, please provide information (title, role, agency, funding duration and amount) on any relevant grant funding that you have secured, including any recently-expired funding within the past five years. Please provide the citations of your relevant published literature (as appearing in PubMed).

F: Curriculum Vitae

A CIHR common CV, or an abbreviated CV reflecting research-related activities in the past five years. By including both in-press papers and manuscripts submitted for publication, the reviewers will gain an impression of the current momentum of your work.

G: Matching Hospital Funding

You will need to upload a signed letter in PDF format from your hospital chief certifying that matching funds will be available for the two-year period.

H: References

Add a PDF file of any references you may have.

Past winners of the Merit Award

Merit Awards
 

name title award timeline affiliation
Marcus Bernardini

A. Novel intraoperative detection of malignancy and novel classification and treatment for endometrial cancer.

B. Reducing ovarian cancer mortality through risk stratification and prevention

July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020 Mount Sinai Hospital
Anne Berndl

A. Pregnancy and Women with Physical Disabilities

B. Increasing Vaginal Birth through the use of High Volume Foley Catheters for Cervical Ripening

July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Crystal Chan Elucidating the molecular dialogue between endometrium and embryo at the time of implantation to improve in vitro fertilization outcomes July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020 Mount Sinai Hospital
Rohan D'Souza Engaging pregnant women and other stakeholders in the development of core-outcome sets for studies on high-risk pregnancies: a mixed-methods study July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2022 Mount Sinai Hospital
Sarah Ferguson Targeting the Immune Microenvironment of Microsatellite Instable Non-Serous Ovarian Carcinoma July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020

Mount Sinai Hospital

Nucelio Lemos Improving Diagnosis and Surgical Care in Intrapelvic Nerve Entrapments July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020 Women's College Hospital
Ann Malinowski Haematology in Pregnancy Research Program July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020

Mount Sinai Hospital

Taymaa May Whole genome and transcriptome sequencing to improve personalized care of women with ovarian low grade serous carcinoma July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020 University Health Network
Nir Melamed Investigating the pathophysiologic basis and optimal management of preterm birth, fetal growth, preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications in twin gestations. July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2022 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

New Faculty Awards (formerly Junior Faculty Awards)

This award is for individuals who are in the first three years of their career at a UofT affiliated hospital.

Name TITLE AWARD TIMELINE Affiliation
Stefania Ronzoni Endotoxin: a novel biomarker to detect intrauterine infection as a cause of spontaneous preterm birth  July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2020 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Eliane Shore Enhancing Surgical Performance Through Simulation and Technology July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2020 St. Michael's Hospital
Andrea Simpson Minimally invasive gynaecologic surgery, endometrial hyperplasia and malignancy, and other topics in health services research July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2022 St. Michael's Hospital
John Snelgrove Reproductive, perinatal, and mental health outcomes following severe maternal morbidity July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2022 Mount Sinai Hospital
Tim Van Mieghem Advancing diagnosis and treatment for fetuses with central nervous system anomalies July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2020 Mount Sinai Hospital