Investigator Awards

The OICR Investigator Awards (IA) Program is designed to strengthen Ontario’s cancer research capacity by attracting outstanding Principal Investigators (PIs) and Clinician Scientists (CSs) to the province of Ontario.

Our IA program provides stable recruitment and retention funding for PIs and CSs involved in OICR programs, strategic initiatives and other OICR supported research activities.

OICR Associates and Affiliates are exceptional investigators located at external research institutions who share scientific focus with OICR. These status-only appointments enable research collaborations with OICR investigators to support the Institute’s research priorities and strategic initiatives. In addition, OICR Associates help provide OICR projects with vital leadership and insight.

There are five categories of investigators supported:

Early-Career Investigator

PIs in the in the first five years of their career as an independent researcher.

Mid-Career Investigator

PIs who have spent five to 10 years as an independent researcher.

Senior Investigator

PIs who have spent at least 10 years as an independent investigator and who meet the criteria for national and international excellence.

Clinician Scientist I

CSs who are actively licensed physicians in the province of Ontario with 80 per cent of their time protected for research.

Clinician Scientist II

CSs who are actively licensed physicians in the province of Ontario with 50 per cent of their time protected for research.

Award value and duration

The amount and duration of an OICR IA varies depending on the designation of the award. An initial six-year award term will apply to Investigators or clinician scientists in the first five years of their career. All other awards will be for a five-year term. All awards can be renewed once, for a total of two IA terms.


DesignationMaximum OICR contribution
(Research and salary support)
Early-Career Investigator (ECI)$250,000.00 per yearSix yearsYes, once, only as a promotion to MCI. Not renewable for a second ECI term.
Mid-Career Investigator (MCI)$300,000.00 per yearFive yearsYes, once, at same level or promotion to Senior Investigator.
OICR Senior Investigator$250,000.00 per year with 100% match from the host institutionFive yearsYes, once.

Clinician Scientists

DesignationMaximum OICR contribution (Research and salary support)TermRenewable?
OICR CS I (80 per cent)$350,000.00 per yearFive or six yearsYes, once.
OICR CS II (50 per cent)$250,000.00 per yearFive or six yearsYes, once.

For external applicants, matching or co-funding is strongly encouraged at the ECI and MCI level. For Senior level awards, including the CS stream where an applicant has been deemed to be at a Senior career level, the host institution must provide a 100 per cent match to the OICR contribution towards the award.

While the awards have been developed to reflect competitive compensation packages, the host institution and the awardee may determine the allotment of the award to cover expenses. OICR Investigator Awards can be used for salary, benefits, office support, travel, stipends for trainees, and other research-related expenses. There is no overhead included in the IA.

IAs are renewable, once, subject to favourable review by the IA Scientific Advisory Committee, OICR Board of Directors approval and sustained OICR funding in the future.

How to nominate a candidate

Please note: The OICR Investigator Awards program is currently at capacity. We anticipate having budget available for new awards starting in FY2024/25. OICR will make an announcement through our mailing list and social media channels when the program re-opens to new nominations.

OICR will identify recruitment needs that target essential expertise and where clinical experts are vital to the translational mission of the Institute. When positions are defined, but no appropriate candidate is identified, OICR will co-develop a recruitment strategy with partner institutions that will provide a suitable environment and scientific cluster relevant to an OICR program, research theme, or other OICR-supported research activities. In addition, the successful recruitment of a high-calibre, external IA recipient often relies on co-funding provided by OICR and the host institution.

Institutes are encouraged to contact the OICR Scientific Secretariat regarding outstanding translational cancer research scientists who would be a strong candidate for the IA Program. Candidates who are deemed appropriate for an award by the OICR Executive team will be required to submit an application for further evaluation.

More Information

For inquiries about the IA Program, please contact OICR’s Scientific Secretariat at scientificsecretariat@oicr.on.ca.

Further reading

Funding Opportunities