SMRTS Seminars Program

The SMRTS (Sharing Multi-network Resources for Trainee Success) Seminars Program is a professional development initiative between 9 national and provincial networks aimed at providing the best possible programming to our respective trainees.

Each month, we will offer our trainees access to a wide range of soft skills programming through a live-streamed webinar or event.  For further information about specific webinars, please contact the host network as listed below.


11 June, 2018, 1 – 2 pm ET

“Write the Right Grant” Dr. Parminder Raina, (McMaster University)

Writing successful grants is part science and part art form. What are the metrics for success? What’s the best way to incorporate your research plan and team members? How can you convincingly “sell” the funder? This webinar will share approaches to articulating the vision and impact of your research to the review committee, and will include examples of successful proposals as well as submissions that were not funded. Learn best practices and strategies to optimize your chances for success.

Dr. Parminder Raina is a Professor in the Department of Health Research Evidence and Impact at McMaster University and scientific director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. Dr. Raina specializes in the epidemiology of aging with emphasis on developing the interdisciplinary field of Geroscience to understand the processes of aging from cell to society. He is the lead principal investigator of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of aging in the world. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the FP7 funded projects on Health and Ageing Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States (CHANCES) and SiforAGE.

Webinars will be broadcast on WebEx using VoIP

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the session number: 665 349 304
  3. Enter your name and email address
  4. Enter the session password: mira

For more information, email

Hosted by the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging

8 May, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Experimental Design and Reporting” (BioCanRx)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified two themes underlying the ‘reproducibility crisis’ in bench work and the high rates of failed ‘bench-to-beside’ translation of preclinical research:1) a lack of training in research design; and 2) deficiencies in the reporting of research. To address these issues, new guidelines have been developed and are being implemented by funding agencies, universities, publishers and journals. Dr. Manoj Lalu will present on topics relating to research design, analysis, and reporting of key methodological details. Participants will gain a better understanding of the new guidelines for conducting preclinical research, including the following: 1. Preclinical reporting standards and how to implement them. 2. How to improve the validity of bench studies 3. Generating appropriate sample size calculations for experiments. 4. How to randomize and blind in experiments in a rigorous manner.

About the presenter: 

Dr. Lalu is an Associate Scientist appointed to the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Clinical Epidemiology and Regenerative Medicine Programs. He is also an Assistant Professor (uOttawa) in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and a staff Anesthesiologist at The Ottawa Hospital.

Registration link HERE.

For further information, please contact Megan Mahoney at

24 April, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“The ABCs of Media Interviews,” Margaret Polanyi (Senior Communications Manager, AGE-WELL NCE)

Do you know what to do if you are contacted by a journalist? Being interviewed by the media can be nerve-wracking. It can also be an opportunity to share your expertise and spread the word about your work. This seminar will provide tips to help you make the most of a media interview.

Presented by Margaret Polanyi, a former journalist who is Senior Communications Manager at AGE-WELL, the session will review the do’s and don’ts of media interviews, including advice for talking about research.

Hosted by AGE-WELL NCE Inc. Registration link HERE. Please note, this webinar is open to trainees only.

For further information please contact

20 March, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Navigating Academic Scholarship” (CFN NCE)

For novice researchers, and even those with more experience, navigating academic scholarship can sometimes be a daunting task. What constitutes scholarship, as opposed to professional activities? How can you leverage your scholarship to contribute to the larger academic community? How do you ensure that the outcomes of your scholarship are disseminated to the widest audience? How do you write strong conference abstracts, or determine which conferences are best suited to your current project? How do you ensure that you are submitting an article to a reputable journal? How do you recognize predatory journals? What are the benefits of open access publications? These are some of the questions that we will be discussing in this webinar.

Dr. Amber Hastings-Truelove is the training manager for the Canadian Frailty Network. She has a PhD in English literature and has presented and published in diverse areas ranging from 19th Century British Literature to research ethics, to the impact of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship.

Registration link HERE

1 March, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Taking Good Business Ideas out of the Lab: Commercializing Your Research” (GlycoNet)

Trainees are often at the front line of new research discoveries and are keen to support the the transition of their work into a startup or commercial entity, but usually lack the skills, knowledge or experience to make this happen. This webinar will highlight some of the challenges that trainees can expect to encounter in their journey to commercialize their discoveries and what how focusing on the 4 P’s (people, policy, product and plan) can make the process easier to navigate.

Presenter: Dr. Jason Acker, MBA PhD
Canadian Blood Services & University of Alberta

Dr. Jason Acker is co-founder of two Alberta-based biotechnology companies (Aquila Diagnostic Systems Inc. and PanThera CryoSolutions Inc.). As a Senior Development Scientist with the Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation and a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta, his academic research program focuses on understanding the response of cells and tissues to ex vivo storage and the development of methods for their preservation and use as therapeutic products. He received his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Experimental Pathology and PhD in Medical Sciences degrees from the University of Alberta. Dr. Acker returned to Edmonton in 2002 after spending 2 years in Boston as a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School’s Centre for Engineering in Medicine. Dr. Acker completed his Master of Business Administration in Technology Commercialization program at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta in 2009.

Registration link HERE , more information available on GycoNet’s website.

23 January, 2018, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Social Media: Building Your Personal Brand,” Kate Headley, MsCommuniKate Public Relations (MEOPAR NCE)

Social media is a powerful information-sharing tool — and not just for cat memes and #fakenews. This webinar will outline basic approaches to maintaining a social media presence, audience growth and content marketing. Participants will gain concrete ideas for how they can use social media to best market themselves and their work to the right audiences, including potential research partners and employers.

About the Presenter: Kate has honed her strategic communications and marketing skills working with organizations such as United Way, the Canadian Nurses Association and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She’s worked with the federal government, small start-ups and much in between. Since starting her independent consulting practice in 2016, Kate has lent her expertise to the House of Commons, Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Medical Association, Reconciliation Canada, Export Development Canada and others.

She has a special interest in associations, non-profit and health care, but is versatile in her ability to work with any sector. An avid reader of news and stories, Kate is a committed collaborator who brings fresh, big sky perspective and actions careful details to help clients realize meaningful success.

Originally from Ottawa, Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from the University of Ottawa and a public relations diploma from Toronto’s Humber College. She is a board of directors member with Dress for Success Ottawa, and founder of Underpants Up, a charity project that collects underwear, socks and other personal items for local shelters.

Registration link HERE

22 November, 2017, 1:30pm-2:30pm ET, Networking to follow: 2:30pm-3:30pm ET

“Building Success Through Networking and Interview Skills,” Guang Ying Mo, PhD.

Click here to Register for this event RSVP is required.

Today it’s estimated that 80% of all jobs are filled via networking. The more active you are in a network the more opportunity you have to build personal connections and have future career success. This seminar will share tips and tricks on how to build your professional network, as well as essential interview skills that will help you land that dream job.

Presented by, Dr. Guang Ying Mo, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Ontario Telemedicine Network, Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation, Baycrest Health Sciences, and AGE-WELL NCE. Dr. Guang Ying Mo received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2015. Using a social network approach, her research examines the mechanism of collaboration across knowledge-based boundaries and its impact on the creation of innovation. Dr. Mo also investigates how networks emerge and evolve with the use of information and communication technologies during collaborative processes.

Attendees are invited to join live at the PGCRL Tower in Toronto or via webcast. Light refreshments will be served, we encourage those attending in person to stay following after this seminar to network with your colleagues.

Location: PGCRL Research Tower, Event Room 2a and 2b, 686 Bay Street, Toronto, ON

Click here to Join by WEBCAST

Hosted by: Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine

24 May, 2017, 12:00-1:00pm ET

“Grantsmanship: An Exercise in Strategy,” Dr. Jennifer Quizi (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute)

Click here to register your spot!

Writing a grant isn’t easy: oftentimes, it is an arduous and time-consuming exercise, compounded by the fact that good science does not guarantee your success. As an essential part of academic life, it is critical that both new and established researchers recognize that grantmanship is as much about the strategy as it is about the science. Carefully targeting the right funding agency, assembling the best team of researchers, and putting forth well though-out research plans that are both practically and financially feasible, are just a few ways that you can improve your chances of securing a successful outcome. Join BioCanRx and Dr. Jennifer Quizi to learn more about incorporating strategy into your grant writing!

Jennifer QuiziAbout the Instructor:Dr. Jennifer Quizi is the Senior Clinical Research Program Manager at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Quizi holds a doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa, and has considerable experience and success with writing academic grants, having been involved in securing over $35M in academic funds over the past 4 years. Previously, Dr. Quizi worked in industry as a Clinical Research Scientist with a biopharma SME and more recently, was the Operations Manager of the Ottawa Virus Manufacturing Facility. Currently, Dr. Quizi is managing a number of multi-institutional grant-funded projects, and is focused on coordinating the initiation of a first-in-man clinical trial.

Hosted by BioCanRx.  Please contact for further details.

26 October, 2016, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Reverse Innovation: A Case Study,” Dr. Matt Ratto (University of Toronto)

The largest trial of 3D printed lower-limb prosthetic and orthotic devices ever done is currently underway. Partnering with three hospitals and training centres in three different countries, Nia Technologies ( is currently testing its 3D scanning, design, and printing solutions. By the end of the study, approximately 210 users will have been fitted with devices such as prosthetic legs and ankle-foot braces. What may be surprising to some is that this work is being carried out in clinics in Uganda, Tanzania, and Cambodia, rather than in hospitals in North America or Europe.

In this talk, Matt Ratto, Chief Scientist of Nia Technologies and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, will explore some of the innovative aspects of this project. These aspects include a deep connection to clinicians/users, an iterative process of moving from research to product, and the incorporation of social values and commitments to social justice drawn from humanistic and social science perspectives on technology. Ratto will also detail how 3DPrintabilty has the potential to operate as a ‘reverse innovation’, with insights and technologies moving from developing world to developed world sites.

Hosted by AGE-WELL NCE Inc.  Please contact for further details.

17 November, 2016, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Communicating in Plain Language,” Sylviane Duval (Independent Consultant)

In today’s innovation- and research-rich world, we need to share complicated messages with a wide range of readers, such as granting agencies, colleagues, stakeholders and the public. On the one hand, the density of our writing styles has spiralled out of control. On the other hand, our attention spans are getting shorter. We don’t want to pore over every word to find meaning.  Documents written in plain language offer a win-win solution for readers and writers. They convey information simply and clearly, they broaden the reach of the message, and they are easy to understand.

In this webinar, Sylviane Duval will present the background to literacy and plain language. She will illustrate some basic principles at the sentence and structural levels with practical examples. These principles you can take away to improve the clarity of your writing style—and ultimately, your message.

Hosted by AllerGen NCE.  Please contact for further details.

10 February, 2017, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Understanding Patents in the Academic Environment,” Lisa Sim (Miller Thomson LLP)

A global shift has occurred in the academic research environment in which academic institutes have converged with industry to capitalize from innovative research.  Intellectual property, in particular patents, is an important component in the translation of a research discovery to commercial application.  Patents provide economic rights that can be used as a business tool in the commercialization process, thus, an understanding of the fundamentals of patent protection is essential to their strategic creation and use.

This presentation will review the fundamentals of patent protection and the patent process in the context of commercializing innovation in the academic environment.  In particular, considerations for the strategic creation of patent protection, the management of costs, and the common patent issues that arise in the academic environment will be discussed.

Hosted by Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) NCE.  Please contact for registration details.

23 March, 2017, 1:00-2:00pm ET

“Media Relations- How to Get Your Story Into the Press,” Lisa Willemse (Senior Communications Advisor, OIRM)

It’s rare for a science story to get massive media attention – on average, only 2% of front page stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post directly involve science or research. But this doesn’t mean the public doesn’t have an appetite for science articles that show important and interesting research, impacts and people. So how do we grab attention in a very competitive media market?

This presentation by Lisa Willemse, Senior Communications Advisor at the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine will look at what kinds of stories tend to get picked up by the media, how journalists work and how you can better position your research for the mainstream media.

Attendees may join live at the Ottawa Hospital (lunch will be served) or via webcast.

To register for this event (either in-person or online):

OIRM gratefully acknowledges the support of The Ottawa Hospital in providing space for the live presentation.

Hosted by OIRM: Please contact Jodi Garner ( for further details.

20 April, 2017, 1:00-2:30pm EDT 

“Moving Research to Policy: Practical Approaches for Researchers to Inform Policy Development,” Dr. Jennifer Zwicker (University of Calgary) & Dr. Keiko Shikako-Thomas (McGill University)

Register now:

As part of the trans-Network SMRTS Webinar series, Kid’s Brain Health Network is hosting a skills development workshop. This workshop will discuss practical approaches researchers can take for stakeholder consultation, policy analysis and drafting communications for conveying research findings to decision makers in most levels of government and professional associations.

Research-derived evidence is a key feature of most evidence-based policy development. The methods used to inform policy-making and the type of information provided are crucial elements in successfully informing and impacting policy. Both quantitative and qualitative data can be used by decision makers to determine the appropriate policy intervention; however, this hinges on how research findings are communicated to decision makers and stakeholders. This process requires careful research, thoughtful synthesis, and succinct consideration of policy options for a broad audience. Consultation with stakeholders, including affected communities and policy makers, is an important step in understanding how to communicate research evidence. Policy briefs and lay research summaries are just a couple of simple important tools researchers should have in their arsenal to inform policy decision markers in government and professional associations.

For more information on the KBHN Training Program and funding & training opportunities contact Dr. Douglas Swanson ( For updates bookmark our training opportunities web page and follow us on @NeuroDevTrainee.

Hosted by Kids Brain Health Network.

The SMRTS Program is a collaborative effort between the following networks: