Yow Kam-Yuen Graduate Scholarship in Diabetes Research 2020/2021

An OSOTF Award (Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund)


  • The applicant must be enrolled in a full-time master’s (MSc) or doctoral (PhD) degree program in the Faculty of Medicine or the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto by August 31, 2020.
  • Master’s Students:  Applicants must be completing between zero and 12 months of full-time studies in a master’s program as of April 30, 2020.
  • Ph.D. Students (Direct Entry):  Applicants must be completing between zero and 24 months of full-time studies in a direct entry doctoral program as of April 30, 2020.
  • Ph.D. (Transfer) Students:  Applicants who have transferred from a previous full-time master’s program must be completing no more than 36 months of full-time graduate studies as of April 30, 2020.  This includes time spent in the master’s program.
  • To be eligible, the student must be carrying out studies in diabetes research.
  • The research must be carried out at the University of Toronto or one of its fully affiliated institutions.
  • The student’s primary supervisor must hold a faculty appointment with the University of Toronto at the level of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor.
  • The student’s primary supervisor must also be a registered member* of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre at the time of application submission. (*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, please see the Membership section of this web site.)
  • The student must demonstrate financial need and must be either a Canadian citizen or have Permanent Residence status in Ontario by August 31, 2020. If the student is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident at the time of application submission, proof must be supplied before funding will be initiated.
  • Students who have received BBDC studentships in the past may submit an application for this year’s competition.
  • A supervisor may submit a maximum of 2 applications.

Relevance to Diabetes:

This funding program supports original research on the physiology and pathophysiology of diabetes that would be published in a diabetes-focused journal. Research proposals can include any aspect of laboratory, animal, or human research. Areas of research which are considered relevant to diabetes include the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications, normal and pathological pancreatic islet function and intermediary metabolism, pharmacological mechanisms of drug and hormone action, and biochemical and molecular aspects of normal and abnormal biological processes.

Stipend and Duration:

The value of the award varies and is normally between $12,000 and $14,000 for three consecutive sessions (i.e. one year) commencing September 1, 2020, or a prorated amount for two consecutive sessions commencing September 1, 2020.

The BBDC will not fund MSc students beyond their second year of studies, direct entry PhD students beyond their third year of studies, and PhD transfer students beyond their fourth year of studies including time spent in the master’s program. Therefore, the following successful applicants may only accept funding for two consecutive sessions commencing September 1, 2020:

  • MSc students who commenced a graduate program in May 2019
  • Direct entry PhD students who commenced a graduate program in May 2018
  • PhD transfer students who commenced a graduate program in May 2017

Students must accept external funding if awarded. If the student is accepting funding for three sessions the BBDC will top up external awards up to the base funding level set by the Faculty of Medicine graduate department (currently $28,396 for MSc students, $30,680 for PhD students) or less if mandated by the regulations of the external funding agency. If the student is accepting funding for two sessions, the BBDC will top up external awards up to the prorated amount for two sessions and up to a combined award total of $18,931 for MSc students or $20,454 for PhD students (or less if mandated by the regulations of an external funding agency).

MSc students who are applying to transfer to a PhD program will be eligible to receive the higher PhD top-up if they successfully transfer by August 31, 2020. The transfer student must inform the BBDC by August 31 in order to receive the PhD top-up.

Students who accept funding for three sessions will be paid in three equal installments payable in September, January and May. Students who accept funding for two sessions will be paid in two equal installments payable in September and January. The student must be registered as a full-time graduate student for each session in order to receive the installments.  Outstanding student fees may be deducted from the January and May installments.

Evaluation Criteria:

Applications are reviewed by the BBDC Training and Research Excellence Committee and will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • The research project, including direct relevance of the work to diabetes
  • Achievements of the student (i.e. grades, accomplishments, awards, and publications)
  • Perceived potential of the student as indicated by letter of recommendation submitted with the application
  • The research training environment
  • A minor component of the evaluation may be based on any other factors that the reviewers consider relevant to this competition

Application Procedure:

Submit a completed application form and requested documents to the BBDC by the deadline date.

Revised Application Submission Instructions: 
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the BBDC will be closed to the public until further notice. However, you can continue to reach BBDC staff by email. Graduate Studentship applications will only be accepted by email.  Do not deliver applications to our office. Please email your application, transcript, and OSOTF Financial Needs Assessment form to Rose LaBarbera at diabetes.bbdc@utoronto.ca.  If possible, send the items as 1 PDF document.  Limit the file size to 10 MB and do not add security features to the PDF document such as password protection. Since it may be difficult for students to obtain official transcripts at this time, we will accept unofficial copies (e.g. screen shots or copies printed from the post-secondary institution’s website). Digital signatures on page 9 of the application form are also acceptable. See the revised application form for complete instructions.

Download the revised 2020/2021 BBDC Graduate Studentships application form (PDF)

Application Deadline:

Applications and reference letters must be received by 4 p.m., April 7, 2020.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.


All applicants will be notified by July 2020. Funding decisions will also be posted on this website.

Other Terms:

  • In cases in which a scholarship recipient requests a subsequent change in supervisor and/or change in the research project, the BBDC must be notified as the awarding of the studentship may need to be reconsidered by the review committee.
  • Scholarship recipients who withdraw, transfer to part-time status, or complete degree requirements prior to the end of their award will be required to repay a portion of the funds received for the incomplete session.
  • All Yow Kam-Yuen Scholarship recipients are required to present a poster of their work at the BBDC’s Annual Scientific Day to be held in May 2021.

Acknowledgement of Support:

Scholarship recipients must acknowledge support from the “Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, Yow Kam-Yuen Graduate Scholarship in Diabetes Research” in publications, presentations and communications arising from the supported research. Failure to acknowledge this support will result in future ineligibility of both the student and supervisor for BBDC funding programs.


Rose LaBarbera
Phone: (416) 978-4656
E-mail: diabetes.bbdc@utoronto.ca