RTC Travel Award Program 2023

Description, Purpose of the Award

RTC offers a limited amount of conference travel awards to support the travel of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, registered with the RTC, to national and international meetings, conferences or symposia. The objective of the RTC Travel Awards is to disseminate research findings, allow knowledge mobilization and translation, and enhance the career and professional development of the St. Michael’s trainees. The award will help offset the cost of participation in national and international conferences to actively share their research in oral and/or poster presentations. The trainee receiving the award must fully comply with all applicable policies of Unity Health Toronto (UHT).

Please note that the below information may change due COVID-19 related changes in public health and travel regulations. Travel must be deemed essential by your supervisor. It is the trainee’s responsibility to follow all international, Canadian, and hospital policies regarding COVID-19 regulations for travel to your destination. The latest SMH policies can be found here. Please note that restrictions may change quickly and the RTC cannot cover the cost of trip cancellation.

Funding for this award is limited (6/application round). The travel funds will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

There will be the following rounds of applications (6 awards/round)

  • Conferences between January – June 2023 (inclusive)
  • Conferences between July – December 2023 (inclusive)

The value of the individual awards is up to a maximum of $1,000 CAD. Applications can be submitted any time during the year (see details below).

We will continue to offer our Virtual Conference Award to support the registration fees for trainees attending virtual conferences.

Eligibility Criteria (at the time of application)

  1. Applications are open for full-time graduate students or postdoctoral fellow registered at St. Michael’s Hospital.
  2. Applicant must be registered with the RTC at the time of application. Registration can be completed here. If you are unsure of your registration status, please email rtc@unityhealth.to.
  3. The trainee’s supervisor must hold an appointment as a scientist or adjunct scientist in the Keenan Research Centre or the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and must have the research funds managed by St. Michael’s Hospital. The supervisor is a co-applicant on the award application.
  4. The trainee must be the first author and presenter of the accepted oral and/or poster presentation.
  5. The abstract must be accepted for presentation at a national or international conference.
  6. One applicant per supervisor per calendar year can receive the funds. A second trainee from the same lab can apply in the same year, but they will be considered only at the end of the year if funds are still available.
  7. If you have received a travel or conference award from the RTC before, please note that preference will be given to new applicants first (trainees can receive the award once during their training at St. Michael’s Hospital).
  8. Awardees from the Clinical (Dry bench) side will also be expected to present their research at the RTC Dry Bench monthly seminar series, and Basic (Wet bench) trainees at the 6th Floor Organ Injury seminars.

NOTE: CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC scholarship holders: you can apply for this award, however, preference will be given to those applicants who do not hold fellowships/scholarships that have research allowance.

Value and Allowable Costs

The value of the individual awards is up to a maximum of $1,000 CAD. The supervisor is expected to advance the expenses for the trainee conference participation using research funds either by directly paying for the expenses or by reimbursing the trainee for the expenses. The RTC travel award will be deposited to the supervisor’s research account at St. Michael’s Hospital. The application must also indicate where the additional funds for the travel are/will be coming from.

Expenses eligible for support through the RTC Travel Award Participation program include:

  • Conference registration fees, abstract submission fees, travel expenses (e.g. airfare, train, etc.) and accommodation costs. All travel arrangements must follow St. Michael’s Hospital rules.
  • Poster printing costs.
  • The funds do not cover meals, entertainment, or poster material expenses.

Application Procedure

The application procedure is a two-step process consisting of:

  • Application prior to travel.
    Application form submitted to RTC after your abstract is accepted, but prior to attending the conference. Applications received after the meeting have occurred will not be eligible.
  • Application for reimbursement to the supervisor after the travel.
    Travel Award Receipt Tracker Form submitted to RTC for the initiation of the reimbursement process after the travel has been completed.

Application for the Award Prior to Travel

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed RTC Conference Travel Award Application Form.
  2. Proof of the relevant abstract submitted to the meeting, and notice of acceptance (e.g. an acceptance letter)
  3. Proof of confirmation to present at the conference (for oral presentations only).
  4. Information on the meeting you will be attending and its relevance to the applicant.
  5. Curriculum vitae (CV) (see this document from the University of Toronto’s Career Centre; teaching and research interests are not necessary to include in your CV for the RTC Conference Travel Award).
  6. Full disclosure of funding information (awards and fellowships including travel awards) awarded to the applicant.

**Submit as ONE (1) .pdf file, electronically to rtc@unityhealth.to or rtc@smh.ca.
*Incomplete applications will be disqualified.

When will you hear back from us?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

NOTE: This is a limited award for which demand will exceed the available funding. Successful applicants are required to inform the RTC of any changes, including receiving additional funds, or if the abstract is withdrawn and if applicant is no longer attending the conference for which they received this award. Applicants who withdraw their application are eligible to apply in future RTC Travel Award competitions. The supervisor is expected to advance the expenses using research funds where possible, or reimburse the trainee from the funds as soon as possible after the travel following rules set by the St. Michael’s Hospital.

For any questions email us at rtc@unityhealth.to or rtc@smh.ca.

Application for Reimbursement to the Supervisor After Completion of the Travel

The RTC’s financial contribution to successful applicants is guaranteed. Supervisors are expected to advance expenses to their trainees to cover conference expenses or initiate reimbursement to the trainee from their research funds as soon as possible. All travel arrangements and reimbursements must comply with UHT policies. Expenses (up to $1000) will be reimbursed to the supervisor’s research account after the travel has been completed and the necessary documents submitted to the RTC.

RTC does not arrange direct reimbursement to the trainees. Awards will be transferred to the trainee’s supervisor’s research account/activity.

If the trainee advances travel expenses, it is the PI’s responsibility to ensure that a reimbursement request is submitted with the appropriate original documentation to Research Finance and a copy of the submitted documents is sent to RTC (see **below for details).

For the RTC to initiate the transfer of the awards from the RTC to the supervisor’s account, the trainee must do the following after the travel:

  1. Provide RTC with proof of conference attendance (copy of boarding pass if applicable, conference badge, etc.)
  2. Provide RTC with the RTC Travel Award Receipt Tracker Form.
  3. Provide their lab administrative assistants with original receipts.
  4. Ensure that a completed Research Finance Payment Requisition Form and ALL supporting documents (invoices, receipts, boarding passes for flight reimbursement, etc.) are attached and submitted to Research Finance (researchfinance@smh.ca) by the lab administrative assistant.
  5. Send RTC a copy of the submitted Research Finance Payment Requisition Form, along with a copy of ALL supporting documents.

Submit as ONE (1) .pdf file, electronically to rtc@unityhealth.to or rtc@smh.ca.

** Reimbursement to the trainee by the supervisor:

If the trainee has advanced expenses, a reimbursement request must be submitted to Research Finance with ALL appropriate documents as required by the rules set by Research Finance. The reimbursement request includes Research Finance Payment Requisition Form and attachments with ALL supporting documents (invoices, receipts, boarding passes for flights, etc.) and should be submitted to Research Finance (researchfinance@smh.ca) by the lab administrative assistant.


Please direct questions to the RTC Specialist at rtc@unityhealth.to or rtc@smh.ca.

NOTE: All Clinical (Dry bench) trainees who receive the RTC Conference Travel Award are encouraged to present their project at an RTC Dry Bench monthly seminar to share and discuss their research findings, exchange ideas and insights, and enhance their career development.

As of October 2022, Basic research (Wet bench) monthly seminars have been canceled. Basic (Wet bench) trainees are invited to present at the 6th Floor Organ Injury seminars.