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 scholars generously chose to donate their honoraria to support research training at Unity Health Toronto.  In recognition of this, a graduate student award has been established to acknowledge outstanding contributions by graduate students who have had significant impacts, beyond their academic and research achievements, in supporting other research trainees and/or our local research community.

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 understanding of the molecular genetics of inherited metabolic disorders, and eye development, and to the genetic basis of retinal degenerative diseases.


The award is intended to recognize a graduate student, who demonstrates both academic and professional excellence and outstanding contribution(s) to supporting other research trainees and/or our research community within our Institute. The recipient will be a graduate (Masters or PhD) student engaged specifically in thesis related research at Unity Health during the previous academic year. Awardees are to be nominated by members of the research community of St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto. The award is in the amount of $200 per recipient annually and the award can be received only once by a given trainee while studying at UHT. To be considered for this award, the student must meet the following criteria:


The RTC invites research students, as well as scientists and staff at St. Michael’s Hospital, to nominate graduate (Masters or PhD) students engaged in thesis related research during the 2020/21 academic year at Unity Health Toronto. Nominees should have demonstrated both academic excellence and made outstanding contribution(s) to community building and support for other research students within Unity Health. To be considered for this award, the student must meet the following criteria, as described by the nominating person: 


  • Excellence in research. The committee will review the CV of the candidate to evaluate this aspect; special consideration will be given to those who presented and/or facilitated at the RTC seminar series; 
  • Participation in various aspects of SMH student life;
  • Leadership with respect to the trainee community and evidence of providing support to trainees and promoting trainee well-being. Examples: nominee had leading and/or initiating role(s) in organizing events for students; helped students to have better access to information, resources and services; contributed towards peer services, such as mentoring and internal peer review;
  • 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: nominee helped promote a welcoming, respectful and inclusive learning environment; demonstrated the impact and advantages of fostering inclusiveness in research and training; improved research about EDI and implementation of EDI initiatives.


All members of the Research Institute (students, staff, investigators) can nominate a trainee for consideration. We strongly encourage students to nominate their fellow students. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Nominators should consider the award criteria carefully and describe the contributions that the trainee has made to supporting trainees and our research community using the nomination form. Eligible nominees will be contacted by the RTC to request further information, including a CV. The nominations will be evaluated by the Holmes-McInnes Award Committee.


Deadline for Nominations:

June 30 2021 5 pm

Process of evaluation:

July 1-15, 2021: RTC contacts nominated trainees that they have been nominated and requests further information including a CV. 

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

August 31, 2021: RTC informs the winner of the award. The award winner is announced by RTC and VPRI. 

September 2021 (date TBD): Formal award presentation ceremony 

We are committed to recognizing that diversity is essential for a strong, vibrant research environment, and we encourage nominations of those who identify as racialized persons/persons of colour, women, Indigenous, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ persons, and others who are underrepresented in scientific research. 

For questions please contact Sophie Koch (