Drs. Beverly Holmes and Roderick McInnes dedicated their time and expertise as external reviewers of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Keenan Research Centre of Unity Health Toronto in December 2019.  Both have dedicated their honoraria to research at Unity Health Toronto.  In recognition of this, a graduate student award is proposed to honor a student’s activities which have helped support other research trainees and/or our local research community more broadly.

Dr. Beverly Holmes, MA, PhD, is the President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Vice President of the Friends of CIHR and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Dr. Holmes is an active and respected member of the health research community and publishes and presents internationally on health research funding, and how best to support the translation of research evidence into policy and practice. Her research interests include knowledge translation, discourse analysis, health communication, risk communication, and public involvement in health research.

Dr. Roderick McInnes, CM, OOnt, MD, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, is the Director of the Lady David Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, and Professor of Human Genetics and of Biochemistry at McGill University.  Dr. McInnes has long been recognized for his leadership in Canadian basic and applied biomedical research. He is internationally renowned for his contributions to the molecular genetics of inherited metabolic disorders, to the molecular genetics of retinal and eye development, and to the genetic basis of retinal degenerative diseases.


The award is intended to recognize a graduate student, who demonstrates both professional excellence and outstanding contribution to community building and support for other research students within our Institute. The recipient will be a graduate (Masters or PhD) student engaged specifically in thesis related research. To be considered for this award, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Has been a graduate trainee at Unity Health Toronto for, at minimum, one full academic year;
  • Is registered with the Research Training Center (RTC);
  • Has presented their research at the RTC seminar series;
  • Dedicated significant time to support other trainees within the wider research community (beyond their own research group);
  • Contributed to organizing social and academic activities for trainees;
  • Encouraged collaboration among trainees;
  • Promoted well-being of trainees;
  • Demonstrated outstanding leadership and can be regarded as a role model.
  • The award is in the amount of $200, which will be awarded annually for the next 20 years to a selected trainee. The award ceremony will occur during Research Month;
  • Nominations will be solicited annually in April-June by the VPRI office from members of the Research Institute, including peers, supervisors, other research staff, based on the criteria described below (self-nominations will not be accepted);
  • Nominations should consist of a description of the nominee’s achievements (see criteria); the nominee’s CV and the title and date of the RTC seminar presentation by the nominee; and should be submitted to the VPRI office, that will manage the submissions;
  • Nominations will be considered by a committee consisting of 2 trainees, 2 PIs, 1 research staff and the two RTC Co-Directors. Committee members should have no conflicts of interest regarding the nomination. Committee members will be invited by the VP of Research yearly;
  • The award can be received only once by a given trainee while studying at Unity Health Toronto.


The committee will consider the following criteria in assessing all nominations (as described by the nominating person):

  • Excellence in research. This must include presenting at the RTC seminar series and facilitating seminars. Committee will also review the CV of the candidate to evaluate this aspect;
  • Active participation in various aspects of SMH student life;
  • Demonstration of leadership with respect to the trainee community. Examples: demonstrates initiative, takes leading role in organizing events, is resourceful in helping students to have better access to information, services and resources;
  • Contribution to organizing social and academic activities for trainees;
  • Evidence of promoting trainee well-being at the Institute. Examples: shows dedication to supporting trainees within the wider research community of the Research Institute; contributes towards peer services, such as mentoring, internal peer review, operations or projects that support student learning and life; seeks to understand student needs and interests and helps promoting these;
  • Evidence of original ideas for trainee community building;
  • Demonstration of exceptional and creative contribution toward advancing equity, diversity and/or inclusion (EDI) within the Institute. Examples: promotes a welcoming, respectful and inclusive learning environment; demonstrates the impact and advantages of fostering inclusiveness in research and training; improves research about EDI; utilizes creativity and innovation in approach, design, collaboration, and implementation of the EDI initiatives.


April 2021: Call for application will be sent out. The call will be written in collaboration between the VPRI and RTC, and will be sent out through the usual channels by both RTC and VPRI. Reminders will be sent out in May and June

June 30, 2021: Application Deadline.

July-September 2021: VPRI office invites members of the committee (considering conflicts due to the list of nominees) and organizes the review.

November 2021: the first award is presented.