2023 Scholar and Research Trainee competitions: Applications now open

9 November 2022

We are also pleased to announce our 2023 funding competition schedule.

Michael Smith Health Research BC’s Scholar and Research Trainee awards provide funding to support BC’s next generation of health researchers in advancing science and improving the health of British Columbians. Applications are now open for our 2023 competitions.

The Scholar awards help BC researchers build leading-edge health research programs, train the next generation of scientists, and make significant contributions to their field. The award provides salary support to early-career researchers, allowing them to dedicate 75 percent of their time to health research activities.

The Research Trainee awards support health researchers in training to build health research capacity and contribute to the success of BC’s health research landscape. This award provides post-doctoral fellows or health professional researchers with salary support for dedicated research activities.

As BC’s health research agency, Michael Smith Health Research BC is committed to building research talent for BC’s future. Our funding programs support attracting, retaining, training, and growing a diverse workforce critical for a strong knowledge economy, a well-functioning health care system and resilient communities.

2021 Scholar Dr. Kendra Rieger is a registered nurse and assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Trinity Western University. The Scholar award is providing her with support, time, and resources to focus on her research program. “My program aims to elevate arts-based responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Calls to Justice and make significant steps towards reconciliation and addressing health inequities for Indigenous peoples in Canada,” says Dr. Rieger. The award is also enabling Dr. Reiger to develop the next generation of health researchers by providing hands-on research training and mentorship to graduate students.

2019 Research Trainee Dr. Vicki Komisar, assistant professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, is focused on informing better practice and design for preventing injuries from falls. “The funding from Health Research BC was really important for giving me the chance to do the research and providing the stability to take the time to plan and execute the clinical side properly,” says Komisar. “Getting my findings into long-term care and mobility design standards is really important. Another important part is ensuring that any evidence from my work informs practice, such as clinical recommendations for walking aid use and design of these aids.”

The Scholar and Research Trainee Programs support our work that will result in a significant, diverse and skilled research talent pool, improved care, more jobs, expanded research impact and financial leverage.

2023 Scholar competition updates and key dates

Letters of reference are no longer required (letters of collaboration are optional).

  • Letter of intent deadline: December 5, 2022, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Full application deadline (applicant): January 30, 2023, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Full application deadline (host institution): February 6, 2022, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Anticipated notice of funding decision: June 2023
  • Anticipated start of funding: July 1, 2023

Learn more about the 2023 Health Research BC Scholar competition.

2023 Research Trainee competition updates and key dates

The weighting of the evaluation criteria has been revised:

Applicant expertise and experience 30%
Research project 50%
Environment and support 20%

  • Letter of intent deadline: December 5, 2022, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Full application deadline (applicants): February 13, 2023, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Full application deadline (host institution): February 21, 2023, 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Anticipated notice of funding decision: July 2023
  • Anticipated start of funding: September 1, 2023

Learn more about the 2023 Health Research BC Research Trainee competition.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

We have a strategic commitment to addressing systemic inequities in the health research system. As BC’s health research agency, we have an important role in leading and supporting efforts to address systemic racism and other forms of bias and discrimination that create and exacerbate inequities in the health research system. To deliver on these commitments, there is a new section in the 2023 application forms for applicants to describe how they will meaningfully and appropriately account for EDI in the design of their research projects, in the analysis and interpretation of the findings, and in their knowledge translation activities.

Learn more about EDI – funding programs.

We also recognize the importance of fostering health research capacity in all regions. We continue to implement process changes to identify and remove barriers to success for Scholar and Research Trainee applicants from across the province. This includes:

  • Revising peer review processes and evaluation criteria to ensure applications from across BC are reviewed fairly and equitably.
  • Recruiting peer reviewers from underrepresented regions and institutions in BC and from smaller institutions outside of BC.
  • Working with Health Research BC partners to proactively identify partnership opportunities for fundable applications from regions and institutions outside of the Lower Mainland.

Recognizing and addressing the impact of COVID-19 on BC’s health researchers

COVID-19 has created rapid change and much uncertainty within BC’s health research community. Through extensive consultations, we heard that funding for early-career researchers and post-doctoral fellows is critically important now more than ever. In response, we introduced changes to our application and review process for the 2021 and 2022 funding programs to account for the impact of the pandemic on research outputs and activities. These changes will continue to be implemented this year.

  • COVID-19 impact statement: Applicants will have the opportunity to include a COVID-19 impact statement in their application to describe the impact of the pandemic on their research activities.
  • Eligibility window extension: To account for COVID-19 research and training disruptions, we are automatically extending the eligibility window for both Scholar and Research Trainee competitions by one year.
  • Research Trainee award terms: To provide greater funding stability for post-doctoral trainees, the Research Trainee award terms are no longer pro-rated and applicants can request up to three years of support, regardless of when they completed their PhD.
  • Peer review process: Peer reviewers will account for COVID-19 impacts in application assessment and scoring.

Partnership opportunities

Strong partnerships are integral to fostering world-class health research in BC. We partner to recruit, support and retain diverse academic, life sciences, health system and community-based research talent.

Our co-funding partners contribute to building health research in BC, help funded researchers secure national and international funding, and provide valuable connections between researchers, partner stakeholders and patient groups in their field. Partnerships allow Health Research BC to fund more researchers while helping partners optimize their research dollars to advance their research priorities.

Learn more about Health Research BC partnership opportunities.

2023 funding competition schedule

Since 2001, we have funded more than 2,000 awards to individual BC researchers and research teams through our funding programs and supported many more through special projects and match funding. Through these outstanding health researchers, we support discovery-based research and the translation of that research to new treatments, cures, practices, and solutions that improve the health of British Columbians.

In addition to these Scholar and Research Trainee Programs, the 2023 Convening & Collaborating and Reach competitions will launch in spring 2023.

Stay tuned for further details. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you have questions about any of our 2023 funding competitions or programs, we encourage you to reach out to us via our help desk.