Merit Awards Program 2023-2025


The Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine is delighted to announce the results of the 2023–2025 Merit Awards Program competition.

The Results of the 2023-2025 Merit Awards Cycle


The Review Process

The review and scoring processes for the Merit Award Competition were designed to be as fair, thorough, and unbiased as possible. Each application was reviewed by four independent peer reviewers, who were selected from a pool of knowledgeable, senior internal and external faculty. These experienced faculty reviewed and scored each application using a standardized scoring system. The faculty members who served on the College of Reviewers are experienced reviewers from various education, clinical, and research sectors.

Learn more about the review process


In 2023, the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine announced the launch of the Merit Awards Program for 2023-2025.

The program supports the development of talented investigators and fosters the sustained growth of research capacity in our department. The program’s goal is to promote discoveries that will improve the lives of our patients.

These awards reflect the department’s strategic research aims and will be part of the scoring system for this round. Please note that all successful applicants will be asked to complete an interim and final activity report.

Key Dates

  • Call for Application: January 25, 2023
  • Town Hall Meeting: March 15, 2023
  • Deadline for Application: April 9, 2023
  • Decision to be Announced: June 12 - 23, 2023

Additional Information


The Merit Awards Program is designed to fund faculty members at any stage of their career. We welcome applications for all areas of inquiry including pre-clinical and clinical sciences, education, and safety and quality assurance-related research.

The condition of each applicant must be:

  • A member of the conforming practice plan
  • Have a full-time clinical academic appointment at the University of Toronto

Note: Full time academic appointment refers to your appointment status, not the number of hours worked of your commitment to a partnership plan. Learn more about academic appointments.




Excellence in Research Award


Merit Award


Early Investigator Award


Education Award


Quality Assurance Award


Additional information on the Merit Awards Program:

  • Excellence in Research Award and Merit Awards are open for experienced and early investigators. 
  • Early investigators are candidates within the first 5 years of their academic appointment as of July 1, 2022. The appointment date will be defined as the date on their letter of appointment to the university. Include your appointment date in your CV if you wish to be considered for an Early Investigator Award.
  • Formal periods of leave will be considered in determining the 5-year period for Early Investigator Awards.
  • Awards are intended to support non-clinical research time or salary support for high-potential trainees who faculty members supervise (e.g., graduate students and postdoctoral fellows). Ineligible expenses include research operating expenses, technician and research associate salaries and travel expenses.
  • Awards will be assigned for two years, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025. 
  • A billing agreement will be issued to the Hospital Department Chiefs that outlines the procedure to transfer funds from the university to practice plans every quarter.
  • All recipients will provide a Progress Activity Reports semiannually to understand the progress of the research project, this is a requirement for accepting the award.  
  • In the case of a justified leave of absence, the Award will be put on hold and will resume at the end of the leave.



The application package and instructions are modelled after the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation and Project Grant programs.

The applications will be assessed by an independent review committee. This committee comprises independent and experienced reviewers from varied education, clinical and research sectors. The committee will assist with reviewing all applications.

Please note that Faculty applying for an award will not be invited to review applications.

Additional information:

  • Decisions will be based on the score and ranking of the application and eligibility criteria.
  • We seek to support research excellence as judged by standard metrics, such as peer-reviewed publications, external grants, and the development of high-quality investigators and trainees.
  • At least one award has been allocated for education-related research, although applicants will be considered for all available awards. To foster evolving areas within the specialty, one additional award will be offered for Safety and Quality Improvement Project.

The scoring criteria are as follows:

Senior applicants (excluding new investigators)

 Research Summary Page

Not scored

Research Concept, idea and originality


Research Approach and expertise


Mentorship, Training and research environment


Curriculum Vitae and research metrics


 Further criteria (see below)–       


New Investigator applicants (< 5 years since faculty appointment)

 Research Summary Page

Not scored

Research Concept, idea and originality


Research Approach and expertise


Mentorship, Training and research environment


Curriculum Vitae and research metrics


Further criteria (see below)–   



Further criteria

Specific research activity criteria (related to this award)

Is the research already funded by a peer reviewed funder? Y/N

Will this research project lead directly to a funding application to a peer reviewed funder? Y/N

Will this merit award promote cross disciplinary, collaborative research across hospital sites, varied academic units / or labs? Y/N

Will this research lead to important opportunities to translate basic science evidence to the bedside or change / improve clinical practice directly? Y/N

General research engagement criteria

Applicant holds a current appointed at a school of graduate studies Y/N

Applicant currently supervisors graduate students Y/N

Applicant currently supervisors postdoctoral research fellows Y/N

Applicant currently holds a research leadership role in an organisation that advances science. Y/N

Applicants’ research aligns with research priorities of their hospital. Y/N

Applicants‘ research aligns with research priorities of the University Department. Y/N

Applicant is part of a national or international research consortium. Y/N

Applicant has previously been awarded a merit award from the department. Y/N

If yes, was the research coming from that award funded from a peer reviewed funder. Y/N

If yes, was the project completed within the time frame specified on the original proposal? Y/N

If yes, did that research lead to peer reviewed funding. Y/N


The department hosted a town hall meeting on March 15, 2023. The meeting was led by Dr. Brian Cuthbertson, Vice-Chair of Research and Innovation, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine with contributions from Dr. Beverley Orser, Chair, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine.

Watch the town hall meeting.

Download the slide deck.


If you have questions that are not addressed in our list of resources and guides, kindly contact us.