Early Career Professorship Award

The Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine aims to support the early-career clinician-scientists as a top priority. We are thrilled that this priority has also resonated with two distinguished University of Toronto alumni. Dr. Hal Marryatt is an alum of our post-graduate anesthesia residency training program and a former faculty member in our department. His husband, John Alchin, is also an alum, having completed his undergrad and MBA at the University of Toronto.

We are delighted to share that Hal and John are once again investing in our department by establishing the John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Early Career Professorship in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.

This gift builds on their previous generosity and legacy of support, as they had also established the Dr. Alan K. Laws Clinician Scientist Award in our department.

PURPOSE

To support the career trajectory and research activity of an early-career clinician-scientist by protecting time and adding resources to help achieve success in academic medicine while furthering the mission of the department. 

VALUE AND DURATION

This professorship value is $375,000 for a 5-year term. It will be awarded to a faculty member who holds a full-time academic appointment in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine within the first 5 years of their career (ie. academic appointment date).

ELIGIBILITY

Early Career Investigators studying in all areas of research including pre-clinical sciences, clinical research, education research, and quality assurance-related research are welcome to apply. An Early Career Investigator is identified as someone who is appointed to the department within the last 5-years and holds the academic rank of Lecturer and Assistant Professor.

Note: Consideration will be given to those who are undergoing the application process for an academic appointment to the department.   

Each applicant must be:

  1. A current or assured future membership of a University of Toronto conforming practice plan.
  2. Have a full-time clinical academic appointment to the University of Toronto at the rank of Lecturer or Assistant Professor within the last 5 years.

Notes:

  • Full-time academic appointment refers to your appointment status at the University of Toronto, not the number of hours worked of your commitment to a partnership plan. For more information, click here
  • The appointment of the professorship is for a 5-year term.
  • Consideration will be given to those who are undergoing the application process for an academic appointment to the department.   
  • A billing agreement will be issued to the Hospital Department Chiefs outlining the financial arrangements from the university to the practice plan. The hospital chief will be asked to attest for the protective time for research that is the condition of the award.
  • Hospital Department Chiefs and the recipient(s) will provide an annual activity report outlining the usage of the funds.
  • Activity/progress Report will be due on an annual basis from the start date of the award. Failure to submit the report will result in disbursement of the award and affect eligibility for future awards.
  • In the case of a justified leave of absence, the award will be reviewed by the applicant, the chair, and the applicants’ department chief.

TIMELINE

  • Call for Application: June 25, 2021
  • Deadline for Application: July 25, 2021
  • Anticipated decision to be announced: September 27, 2021
Click on the button to start your application:  START APPLICATION

Note: All applications must be submitted through the departmental electronic portal. 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

FORMAT

Research proposals must be single-spaced. Fonts should be 11-pt for all the components of the application. All four margins should be at least 2.5 cm (1 inch). Number pages on the upper right corners.

Research Summary ( 1-page)

The Research Summary provides reviewers with an overview of your research program. It will not be scored. Please provide the following information:

  • The title of the proposal.
  • The broad goal(s) of the proposed research.
  • A brief statement of relevant background information and/or rationale for the proposed research.
  • The specific research aims with a brief overview of the methodology that will be used to address each of the aims.
  • The nature of the core expertise being brought together to address the proposed research. Information may include your important collaborations, within or outside of the research community that will be accessed to achieve the outlined research goals.
  • Expected outcomes of the proposed research that highlight the significance or potential impact of the proposed research. Explain how the research will advance knowledge and/or improve health care, health systems and/or health outcomes.

Research Proposal (2-5 pages)

1. Research Concept, idea and originality (20%)

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the research component of the program, as well as the significance of the anticipated outcomes. This section allows you to describe your research program at length and to get the reader excited about its potential. It is important to have a well-organized application. A running theme of the application should be that the new Professorship is essential for the successful conduct of your research. The following structure is one suggested way to present your discussion:

Introduction: Begin by outlining the overall vision of your research program. State the major research goals and explain how the program of research will significantly advance the field.

Proposed Research Program: Follow the introductory section with a more substantial discussion of your research program. Discuss the current state of knowledge and the pressing questions you plan to address in your program of research. Discuss the present research opportunity and how you will capitalize on it. Describe realistic timelines and be sure to discuss short-term and long-term program outputs.

Significance and Innovation: Compare this work to other research being done nationally and/or internationally, and discuss what sets your work apart. Do similar projects exist in Canada or worldwide? Can you differentiate your project from them? (e.g., “We are currently the only team in the world investigating ‘Y’” or “Although research in the field of ‘X’ has been done before, this would be the first time that...”). Make a case for the uniqueness of your research.

Translation: Address your translation strategies. These may include how you will secure the required resources or ensure effective collaboration. Provide specifics about the nature of the translational opportunity and do not simply state that “we hope translational opportunities may arise from this work”.

Tips for this Section:

  • Present a coherent vision of your program: build a narrative that explains how the various elements discussed to form a cohesive program and not a disconnected collection of experiments.
  • Be sure that your goals are extremely well-articulated by placing them in single, succinct sentences at the beginning or end of paragraphs, so they stand out.
  • Divide your project into themes subdivided into subsections that clearly defined the justification of the proposed approaches.
  • Balance AMBITION and FEASIBILITY by offering quantitative evidence and a realistic timeline for a project that will “significantly advance knowledge and/or its translation into improved health care, health systems and/or health outcomes.”

2. Research Approach and Expertise (20%)

2.1 Research Approach

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the quality of the approach of the proposed program of research. Consider the below paragraph structure:

Begin this section by describing a specific and detailed research program, research strategies and key activities (including methodological approaches and procedures for data collection and analysis). Describe why the approach is appropriate and how it will allow for flexibility as the program evolves. Describe how progress and success will be measured against key milestones and explicitly describe the milestones.

Follow the above discussion with a detailed analysis of potential challenges/risks that might arise to the research program and the knowledge translation. Demonstrate that you have considered realistic mitigation strategies.

Tips for this section:

  • Ensure that your research approaches are based on well-established techniques that are well aligned with your expertise and the team assembled by you as the applicant.
  • Offer details of the methodological approaches and make sure they are capable of being carried out in your lab or available by the collaborators and program experts involved.
  • While ambitious, make sure that the plan is a logical extension of existing methods.
  • Use the word “flexibility” to make it easier on your reviewers, who will be looking for this key term in your proposal in relation to the evolving changes in your program.
  • Explicitly address your challenges.
  • Use bullet points to show reviewers you have a specific step-by-step plan to track progress and mitigate potential pitfalls. Be very specific here.
  • Part of your mitigation plan should include alternative strategies.
  • The inclusion of a scientific advisory board for measuring progress and success is an excellent idea.
  • Don’t forget to frame your discussion as offering a promising new direction or as developing new methods.

2.2 Expertise

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the expertise and experience of you as a Program Leader as well as any collaborators to collectively deliver on the objectives of the proposed program. It is your responsibility as the Program Leader to ensure that the proposed research program is poised for success. Below is a recommended structure for this section:

  • Describe the expertise and experience (disciplinary, professional, or methodological) you possess as a Program Leader, as well as any collaborators (e.g., researchers, technicians, knowledge-users, partners, patients and trainees, etc.) that are key to success. Explain how you are an evolving world leader in the field and have been recognized as such. Include h-index and number of citations as well as significant agency funding in the appropriate (further) section of the application.
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities you will have as the Program Leader and link them to the objectives of the research program. Explain how the collaborators, if any, have been carefully selected to complement your expertise.
  • Describe the level of engagement (e.g., time commitment and contribution) of key collaborators, supervisors and mentors.
  • As applicable, describe the commitment (cash or in-kind) from interested or engaged partners.
  • Describe the coordinated roles of other Program Leaders, supervisors and collaborators in the oversight and management of the research program.
  • Consider including a plan to seek out expertise (new collaborators based on the anticipated future needs of the program of research, as it is expected that the current collaborators may evolve over the duration of the grant, based on the needs of the proposed program.

Tips for this section:

  • If there are a large number of key collaborators, ensure that all contributions are explained, defined and justified.
  • Emphasize the complementary nature of the experience of the group of experts and collaborators and how this collaboration will maximize the chances of success.
  • If relevant, be sure to describe the engagement of translational experts.
  • Check to make sure that the grants discussed in this section are listed on the CV and that collaborators mentioned in this section are also mentioned in the form pages.
  • Note that there is overlap with these items with section 3 below; share the details between these sections to clarify.

3. Supervision, Mentorship, Research Environment (20%)

3.1 Supervision and mentorship

This sub-criterion is intended to assess the quality of your supervision and mentorship plans.  

Clearly describe the supervision and mentorship framework you have in place, including plans for further training/experience.

Discuss potential challenges of the mentorship and training plan and a strategy for identifying and mitigating these challenges.

Offer a clear plan with defined metrics for how your progress and success will be measured and tracked. This will be used as a basis for your annual reports.

3.2 Quality of Support Environment

This criterion is intended to assess whether the applicant has the resources necessary in order to successfully deliver on the objectives of the research program in both the short- and long term. Do not just describe the environment, justify why it is appropriate to the program of research. Devote a paragraph, as applicable, to each of the following issues:

  1. Physical infrastructure (and/or other types of infrastructure such as consortia, professional networks, etc.)
  2. Support personnel
  3. Equipment / Specialized facilities
  4. Supplies

Note, we will be asking for a reference from one supervisor and one mentor, and they will be asked to comment on the issues above and your career trajectory (see below).

Tips for this section:

  • Be comprehensive when describing the aspects of your further training. Include technical training, oral and written communication skills, career development
  • Fully identify your supervision plan.
  • Fully identify your mentorship plan, including a detailed description of mentorship roles and activities. Provide specific examples.
  • Describe key infrastructure in the environment and how it is state-of-the-art.
  • Offer specifics regarding the management and support personnel for the proposed project.
  • Emphasize, if applicable, the close proximity of the various labs.
  • Emphasize the degree of applicant access to all of the specialized technology needed for this project.
  • Do not forget to describe the long-term resources to support the facility: mention your leadership in raising funds to improve facilities.

4. Career Trajectory (20%)

This will be assessed from all the data you submit on your application and the references obtained from your supervisor and mentor.

5. Curriculum vitae (10%)

Formatted to the University of Toronto or CIHR common CV template

6. Further criteria (10%)

REVIEW PROCESS

All applications submitted for this 2021 Early Career Professorship will undergo a peer review. Each application will be reviewed by 3-4 independent peer reviewers who are either internal or external faculty to the department. All the reviewers are highly experienced academics from the University of Toronto and have a broad range of expertise reflecting the breadth of applications that are expected to apply for this prestigious award. The peer reviewer will be matched in terms of their academic expertise to the application submitted to assure the application receives the appropriate adjudication. Reviewers will be asked to identify all areas of conflicts of interest before being selected to review applications.

REVIEW AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE

  1. Dr. Brian Cuthbertson (Chair, clinical epidemiologist)
  2. Dr. Beverley Orser (Department Chair, Basic and Translation scientist)
  3. Dr. Cindi Morshead (Departments of Anatomy and Surgery, Basic Scientist)
  4. Dr. Sheila Riazi (Department Member and translational scientist)
  5. Dr. David Mazer (Department Member and clinical epidemiologist)
  6. Dr. Dominique Piquette (Department of Medicine, Educational scientist)
  7. Dr. Naheed Jivraj (Department former CIP resident)

ANNUAL REVIEW AND CONTINUATION OF THE AWARD

The successful applicant will undergo an annual review by the chair, the Vice Chair of Research, their Department Chief and their primary supervisor/mentor (as appropriate). An annual report will have to be submitted as below.

If this grouping judged that the progress of the successful candidate was unsatisfactory, then the holder will be asked to agree to a plan to rectify any identified deficiencies agree by themselves and the committee and 3-month review will be required with the Vice Chair of Research for the next year. If progress were still identified as being unsatisfactory at the next annual review, the award would be discontinued after appropriate discussion and review by this grouping.    

OTHER COMMITMENTS OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE

  1. Delivering an inaugural lecture to the department during the first year of the award.
  2. Working with the Office of Advancement to meet with the donors Drs. Marryatt and John Alchin on an annual basis to share the progress of the professorship.
  3. Submitting an annual review before the anniversary date of the award each year to the Vice Chair of Research.
  4. Delivering an end-of-appointment lecture to the department during the last year of the award.
  5. Supporting departmental fundraising events on an occasional basis.