Merit Award

Merit Award Application Form

General Information

I - Scope

The Merit Award Program is a new bi-annual initiative designed to provide clinical faculty, who have passed their 3-year review, with an opportunity to build upon their research expertise and achievements to date. Successful award winners will thereby be supported to prepare them for the important medium-term goal of successfully obtaining external peer-reviewed grant funding to pursue their research agenda on a long term basis. 

 

II - Overall Information and Terms of Reference

Duration: 24 months

Total Funding: $80,000 over 24 months. Any component elected to be used as faculty compensation will include HST, where total non-clinical compensation exceeds $30,000 annually.

Allowable expenses: Merit award funding can only be used towards costs that are directly associated with the awarded research program as described in the proposal. Allowable expenses include: faculty remuneration (including HST), research supplies, research services and peer-reviewed Journal publication charges. Research travel is limited to $2500/year. Award recipients are expected to hire a summer student each year from a Canadian University, with preference for CREMS summer students, CREMS scholars from the University of Toronto, and/or Canadian citizen and/or permanent residents.

Deliverables: Awardees are expected to complete the annual progress report template to the Chair after the first 12 months of the award, as well as the final progress report template within 90 days following the end of the research program. Where an award recipient applies for a renewal, a second year progress report will be submitted as part of the renewal process.

The Chair and the Research Committee will review the 12-month progress report. If the report is deemed unsatisfactory, the Research Committee reserves the right to assign a senior research mentor to the Awardee in year 2. In exceptional circumstances the Department reserves the right to withdraw year 2 funding. 

Terms and Conditions: The award will be transferred to the office of the Chief of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, to be disbursed according to internal hospital policies and procedures.

 

III - Eligibility

The award is only open to Clinically-appointed faculty members holding primary appointments in Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

Clinical MD Full-time Faculty members are eligible for this award once they have passed their 3-year review.

Community Hospital Physicians holding Clinical MD Part-time appointments are eligible to apply after 3 years of active staff service.

CIHR Foundation Scheme Award recipients are not eligible.

The Award is designed to assist Clinical faculty motivated to conduct high-quality research largely through protected academic time. The application process is designed to identify such individuals, who either currently hold Clinician Investigator Job Descriptions, or who are prepared to make a career move into this Job Description, from that of Clinician Teacher or Clinician Administrator. The Award is open to all Clinical Faculty regardless of academic rank or career duration. The application process is designed to judge performance commensurate with current rank and career duration.

Clinical Faculty members who currently receive a stipend for an administrative role at 123 Edward St. will be required to relinquish his/her administrative role and associated stipend if s/he receives a Merit Award.

Faculty currently holding a Junior Faculty Award cannot hold a concurrent Merit Award, but they are permitted to apply for a Merit Award in the next Merit Award cycle after successful completion of their 3-year review.

Faculty Members who receive or currently hold a Clinician Investigator Award as the principal applicant (main PI) are not eligible for a Merit Award. 

Applicants are required to obtain a letter of support from his/her hospital chief prior to application.

Note that hospital matching funds are NOT required and applicants are NOT required to necessarily hold any current hospital-based compensation for research. 

 

IV – Timeline and Dates

Application opening date – January 1, 2016 and biannually thereafter 
Application closing date* – March 31st, 2016 and biannually thereafter
Evaluation and Adjudication – April, 2016 and biannually thereafter
Decision and notification – May, 2016 and biannually thereafter
Commencement of Award – July 1, 2016 and biannually thereafter

*If the closing date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the closing date will be extended until 5:00PM EST of the next working day. 

Applications should be sent to:
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
123 Edward Streeet, Suite 1200,
Toronto, ON,
M5G 1E2

or via email to obgyn.research@utoronto.ca.

V - Criteria for Evaluation

The assessment of the application is based on four equally weighted criteria under two categories (using a simplified version of the current CIHR Foundation Scheme application process):

  1. Applicant Information

    • ​​Leadership
    • Significance of Contribution
  2. Research Description - Program Vision and Direction

    • ​​Research Concept and Approach
    • Expertise, Mentoring Trainees and Resources

The overall goal is to identify individuals of high caliber, who hold, or are likely to obtain, external peer-reviewed grant funding - and are therefore worthy of this level of funding for the 2-year period. The Review Panel is confidential and comprises senior academics external to the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Grant submissions will be ranked and scored as if in a CIHR competition, and feedback via Scientific Officer notes will be provided. This information will be provided confidentially to the applicant, with a copy to their Chief of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Therefore strongly scored, but unsuccessful applications, may be funded internally by other sources, at the level of Practice Plans or Hospitals. Review panel members are instructed to consider the applicant’s career stage as part of the evaluation process, such that more junior faculty, having recently passed their 3-year review, are judged appropriately. Below highlights the questions reviewers are asked to consider during application. 

Applicant Information

A: Leadership (25%) 

Reviewers are asked to consider:

  • Is the applicant becoming recognized in their field, demonstrating a history of holding influential roles, inspiring others, in particular trainees and advancing the direction of the field at a Greater Toronto Area Regional/Provincial level (Lecturer or Assistant Professor appointed < 5 years), at a National level (Assistant or Associate Professor appointed 5-10 years) or at an International level (Associate or Full Professor appointed >10 years)?
  • Has the applicant demonstrated the ability to successfully establish, resource and direct a program of research, which should include: securing the required resources, ensuring effective collaboration, leading to publication and a knowledge translation strategy.

B: Significance of Contribution (25%)

Reviewers are asked to consider:

  • Has the applicant’s research advanced knowledge and/or its translation into improved health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes?
  • Has the applicant engaged, trained, and/or launched the career paths of promising trainees (undergraduates, clinical and non-clinical trainees)?

Research Description – Overall Goals and Objectives

A: Research Concept and Approach (25%) 

Reviewers are asked to consider:

  • Are the overall goal(s) and specific objective(s) coherent and well-defined?
  • Is the proposed research likely to advance knowledge and/or its translation to improve health care, health systems and/or health outcomes?
  • Are the potential challenges to the research approach understood?
  • Are mitigation strategies suggested to overcome these challenges?
  • How will progress and success be measured?

B: Expertise, Mentoring Trainees and Resources (25%) 

Reviewers are asked to consider:

  • Does the applicant have the necessary expertise and experience to successfully lead their program of research?
  • Do the collaborator(s) provide a logical complement of skills to the applicant, and are they likely to be committed to the success of the research program?
  • Does the research program offer appropriate opportunities for student(s) and/or clinical trainee(s)?
  • Is the research environment conducive to the success of the research proposal?
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