2021 Scholar and Research Trainee competitions: Applications are now open

28 October 2020


Applications are now open for our 2021 Scholar and Research Trainee competitions.

As MSFHR’s flagship funding programs, the Scholar and Research Trainee awards provide funding to support BC’s next generation of health researchers in advancing science, addressing health priorities, and improving the health of British Columbians.

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

MSFHR Research Trainee awards support health researchers in training to build health research capacity and contribute to the success of BC’s health research landscape. Post-doctoral fellows or health professional researchers are provided with salary support through this award for dedicated research activities.

For 2020 MSFHR Scholar Dr. Mark Cembrowski, Assistant Professor at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, an MSFHR award enabled him to hire four new lab members:

“The MSFHR Scholar Awards allows me to have invaluable, dedicated time to establish my laboratory’s research program,” says Dr. Cembrowski. “Critically, the research time I receive from my Scholar Award has allowed me to develop all of these research avenues simultaneously within the lab. This allows my laboratory to establish truly cutting-edge experimental and computational methodologies.”

As BC’s health research funding agency, MSFHR is committed to enabling responsive, relevant research in order to develop, retain, and attract the people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, address health system priorities, create jobs, and add to the knowledge economy.

Recognizing and addressing the impact of COVID-19 on early-career 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’re introducing changes to our application and review process for the 2021 Scholar and Research Trainee competitions to account for the impact of the pandemic on research outputs and activities. Some of these changes include (more details in the competition guidelines):

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To provide greater funding stability for postdoctoral trainees all MSFHR Research Trainee applicants can request up to three years of support, regardless of when they completed their PhD.
  • Peer reviewers will account for COVID-19 impacts in application assessment and scoring.

Increasing regional diversity

We’re working to increase the regional diversity of our programs, including support for talent in the North, Interior, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island regions to address research of importance to these communities and train tomorrow’s researchers to strengthen health research capacity across the province.

Specifically, we are implementing process changes to identify and remove barriers to success for Scholar and Research Trainee applicants from BC regions and institutions outside of the lower mainland (details in the competition guidelines):

  • We are revising peer review processes and evaluation criteria. MSFHR’s commitment to rigorous peer review includes ensuring 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 MSFHR partners to proactively identify partnership opportunities for fundable applications from regions and institutions outside of the lower mainland.

Learn more about the 2021 MSFHR Scholar and Research Trainee competitions.

Interested in partnering with us? Learn more about MSFHR partnership opportunities.