Postgraduate Innovation Fund Award


The Department of Medicine (DoM) at the University of Toronto has set a strategic goal to enhance the quality and quantity of research and scholarship in education. With the advent of major changes to residency education, such as Competency by Design, new theories, technologies and innovations are prompting residency programs to take an innovative approach to educational design, implementation and evaluation. In 2009, the DoM established a funding source specifically targeted to residency program innovation: the Postgraduate Innovation Fund. The first award was given in 2010.

The Postgraduate Innovation Fund (PGIF)

The department's PGIF fund has been developed to encourage and enable program directors and other faculty engaged in postgraduate education to demonstrate leadership and innovation in their respective programs. A total budget of $20,000 will be made available each year to support scholarly work and innovation in DoM residency programs; each proposal can request up to $5000.

Application Deadline:

Tuesday, May 15th, 11:59 PM ET

Eligibility Criteria

Applications for the PGIF can come from program directors directly or from any faculty engaged with postgraduate education (e.g. members of the residency program committee) with written support from the appropriate program director. While senior level residents are not permitted to apply directly, residents are encouraged to apply as a co-applicants with faculty.

Applications should meet all of the following criteria:

  • The initiative is a novel innovation and different from what is currently done in the program.
  • The initiative must help the program meet an accreditation standard or address a documented program need in an innovative way.
  • The initiative must be in line with one of the Strategic Priorities of the Department
  • The initiative must be based on at least one of the following
    • Evidence from peer-reviewed literature
    • Established best practice
    • Established theoretical foundation
  • There must be a clear plan to assess the outcome of the initiative.
  • There must be a clear plan to disseminate the results of the initiative in a forum that benefits programs throughout the DoM and postgraduate medicine in Canada. This need not necessarily be through a formal peer-reviewed venue.

Selection Criteria

Decisions for funding will be made by the a PGIF Awards Committee chaired by the Vice Chair for Education.

Criteria for selection will include:

  • Academic rigour of the proposal, with a focus on justification as described above, including a relevant literature review.
  • Feasibility, including track record of the applicants
  • Potential impact to the program and postgraduate medicine.

Preference will be given to:

  • Rigorous proposals
  • Proposals for which there is no other obvious source of funding.
  • Programs who have not secured funding through the PGIF in the most recent two years.
  • Proposals with the potential for wider dissemination (e.g., in a peer-reviewed publication)
  • Initiatives that have committed matching funds or in kind support (including from Division Funds).
  • Initiatives that will be completed within one year.

PGIF Award

Awards will be made annually in amounts of a maximum of $5,000. As many initiatives as possible will be funded.

Application Process and Requirements

Applications must be submitted by the deadline.

Applications must consist of:

  1. A three-page protocol summary including:
    • Statement of need
    • Background rationale and literature review
    • A description of the initiative and methods to be used in its development and evaluation
    • Description of the potential for impact on the program and externally
    • Dissemination plan
  2. A timeline
  3. A justified budget, including identification of any matching or in kind support (please use the budget template)
  4. Letter of support from the program director, if applicable (i.e., if the applicant is not the PD)
  5. Intent to submit ethical approval and/or a copy of REB approval, if applicable.  Evidence of REB approval, if applicable, is required prior to the start of funding of any successful project.

Successful applicants must be prepared to give a brief presentation at the Department of Medicine Program Directors' Meeting one year later.

Example of Initiatives

Examples of eligible initiatives include: developing new assessment methods, new teaching resources such as web-based modules where none exist, simulation cases, etc. Research projects (including those in education or QI) may also be eligible if they will have direct impact on a program, which should be clearly described in the proposal.

Examples of ineligible budget expenses include: equipment not tied to a specific innovation, normal program operating expenses, expenses tied to program growth, conference attendance or travel.

Previously Funded Innovations




2018 Emergency Medicine Putting faculty first: A novel strategy for assessment tool development
2017 Geriatric Medicine Validity, reliability, feasibility, and acceptability of the using the Consultation Letter Rating Scale to Assess Communication Competencies among Geriatric Medicine Postgraduate Trainees
2016 Nephrology Developing an integrated hands-on dialysis training program for nephrology fellows
2015 Geriatric Medicine Evaluation of a Twitter-based complement to the traditional geriatric medicine journal club
2014 Clinical Immunology & Allergy
*award deferred
Implementation and evaluation of an anaphylaxis simulation-based teaching and assessment tool for allergy residents
2014 Endocrinology Assessment in the “real world”: Physician and resident perspectives on novel tools for assessing resident competency on an (ambulatory) dndocrinology rotation
2013 Cardiology The Benefit Of Checking With A Checklist: An Analysis Of Eye-Movements
2013 Respirology Implementation and evaluation of a pilot standardized pulmonary procedural curriculum for postgraduate trainees in adult respirology
2012 Cardiology Electrocardiographic Interpretation Skills of Cardiology Trainees: Are They Competent?
2012 Emergency Medicine Evaluation of a novel competency-based curriculum for cricothyroidotomy training using in-situ simulation: a randomized control trial
2011 Cardiology Incremental value of a skills-based portfolio on a cardiology resident’s interpretative and technical skills in echocardiography
2011 Critical Care Medicine Implementation and evaluation of a simulation-based standardized procedural training program for postgraduate trainees in the ICU
2011 Geriatric Medicine Use of video-recording technology and Ttam StACERS to improve competencies in communicator and collaborator roles in an interprofessional setting
2011 Nephrology The nephrology CanMEDS OSCE: An innovative examination designed to assess physician competencies in non-medical expert roles
2010 General Internal Medicine Hybrid simulation for the combined assessment of procedural, communication and collaboration skills

Application Submissions

Applications must be received via email, to the director of postgraduate subspecialty programs, by the deadline.

Subject line: PG Innovation Fund Submission
Email to: