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.


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.


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.

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