New Investigator Awards 2020-2022


These awards are intended to support new clinician-scientists and basic scientists in the early stages of their careers. One Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award and one Reuben & Helene Dennis Scholar Award will be made available for this competition. Applicants need only submit one application to be considered for both awards.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Faculty who have held a BBDC Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award previously are not eligible to apply. Faculty who have held a BBDC Reuben & Helene Dennis Scholar Award previously are eligible to apply.
  • Faculty are eligible for this funding normally within five years of their first faculty appointment at any university at the time of funding commencement (i.e. applicant must have received his/her first faculty appointment on July 1, 2015 or later). Those who have experienced a career interruption must provide an explanation with their application.
  • The applicant must be a basic scientist or a clinician-scientist (by official job description and with minimum 75% time protected for research) who holds or will hold a faculty appointment with the University of Toronto at the level of assistant, associate or full professor. Applicants who have not yet taken up their faculty appointment at the University of Toronto must do so by July 1, 2020.
  • The applicant must be conducting diabetes-related research at the University of Toronto or an affiliated institution at the time of award commencement.
  • The applicant should be a registered member* of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, although membership is not required for those who do not currently hold a U of T faculty appointment but expect to by July 1, 2019. (*Faculty who are new to the field of diabetes research and are not members of the BBDC can request free membership by contacting the Centre prior to submitting an application.  For more information about BBDC membership, please view the MEMBERSHIP section of this website).

Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre before submitting an application.


Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award: One award of $80,000 ($40,000 per year for two years) is available.
Reuben and Helene Dennis Scholar: One award of $20,000 ($10,000 per year for two years) is available.

Duration of Support:

Two year funding period begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2022.  If an applicant is awarded both awards, the awards will be held concurrently.

Use of Funds:

  • Funds may be used for diabetes research support (examples: supplies; materials; services; salary support for research staff, technicians, and trainees such as graduate or summer students and post-doctoral fellows).
  • Funds may be used for trainee and investigator travel to conferences.
  • Up to $10,000 may be used for the purchase of equipment. In the event that one person is offered both awards, the budget for equipment may be increased to $20,000.
  • Requests from clinician-scientists for full or partial use of funds for personal salary support will be considered, but must be accompanied by a detailed letter explaining how, as a result of this award, the applicant’s clinical activities will be reduced to allow more time to be devoted to diabetes research. The letter must be signed by the Department Chair and Division Director and must clearly commit that the support will be used to reduce clinical activities.
  • Requests from basic science faculty for personal salary support will not be considered.
  • Use of funds for multiple purposes is acceptable.
  • Use of the funds must be fully justified.
  • Use of funds for institutional overhead fees is not permitted.

Judgment Criteria:

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The applicant (contributions to the field; research accomplished to date; future potential)
  • The research proposal. Innovative, original research will be highly ranked.
  • Relevance to diabetes
  • The proposed use of funds and ability to justify proposed use of funds.
  • A minor component of the evaluation will be based on other factors that the reviewers consider relevant to this competition.

Application Procedure:

Submit a completed application form to the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre by the deadline date.

Download the 2020-2022 Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award and Dennis Scholar Award application form (PDF)

Application Deadline:

Applications must be received by 4 p.m., October 22, 2019.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.


All applicants will be notified in February 2020. Funding decisions will also be posted on our website.

Other Terms:

Ethics Approvals and Certifications: If this research involves human subjects, animals, biohazards or stem cells the principal applicant will be required to obtain approvals from his/her institution by the time of funding commencement on July 1. Approvals are not required to be submitted with this application; however, funds will not be released to successful applicants until all approvals have been obtained and forwarded to the BBDC.

Acknowledgement: Support from the “Banting & Best Diabetes Centre-Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award” or the “Banting & Best Diabetes Centre-Reuben & Helene Dennis Scholar Award” must be acknowledged in all publications, presentations and communications that arise from this funding. Failure to acknowledge this support will result in future ineligibility for BBDC funding programs.

Reporting Requirements:

The successful applicant is required to provide the BBDC with a detailed written report and financial statement within three (3) months of the end of the funding period.

Written Report must include the following:

  • A description of how the money was spent.
  • A description of the research project and results to date.
  • Whether or not any publications were generated as a result of this funding.
  • If so, was the BBDC’s support acknowledged in the publications?
  • If applicable, a copy of all relevant manuscripts published and submitted must be attached to the report.

Financial Statement:  A detailed financial statement must be forwarded to the BBDC directly from the institution’s finance department itemizing all expenses and showing the final balance. All unspent funds must be returned to the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre within three months of the end of the funding period.

Failure to provide either the written report or financial statement will result in future ineligibility for BBDC funding programs.


Rose LaBarbera
Phone: (416) 978-4656