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Premier's Summit Award in Medical Research

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Premier's Summit Award in Medical Research

The Premier's Summit Award provides research support to a distinguished group of outstanding medical researchers, helping to attract and retain them in Ontario and enabling them to significantly expand their research programs. These winners are internationally recognized leaders in medical research, whose work is having a globally significant impact on medical science and health care delivery here in Ontario and around the world.

Each winner will receive $5 million over a five-year period, with a $2.5 million contribution from the award program matched by $2.5 million from their sponsoring institution. The Premier's Summit Award program is administered by MaRS Discovery District to support researchers who have made a substantial and distinguished contribution to medical research in Ontario, and show promise to do even more.


Dr. Stephen Scherer
The Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Ontario

Known for co-discovering the phenomena of global copy number alterations of DNA and genes as the most common type of genetic variation in the human genome, Dr. Scherer leads one of the world's busiest laboratories. His group has discovered numerous disease susceptibility genes and most recently has defined genetic factors underlying autism spectrum disorder. He collaborated with Craig Venter's team to decode human chromosome 7 and to generate the first genome sequence of an individual. Over 250 peer-reviewed papers document this work. Dr. Scherer, also a Professor at the University of Toronto, has won numerous honours such as the prestigious Steacie Prize in the Natural Sciences, Canada's Top 40 Under 40 Award, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Scholar of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Council Member of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) and Chair of Genome Canada's Science and Industry Advisory Board.

Dr. Frances Shepherd
University Health Network/Princess Margaret Hospital
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Frances Shepherd is an award-winning researcher, senior staff physician and Group Leader for the Lung Cancer unit at Princess Margaret Hospital. She is a Full Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Shepherd has been recognized for her many contributions, most notably her long-standing international leadership in the development of innovative therapies for lung cancer. In 2001 she was named the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research. Dr. Shepherd has been the co-investigator or principal investigator in more than 80 clinical trials since 1982. In 2002, she was a part of a team credited with the first identification of gene clusters involved in lung cancer using microarray technology and has been instrumental in establishing Lung Cancer Tumour Banks. She has also led a number of trials that have changed treatment for patients with lung cancer worldwide. Among her many awards and accolades, she was the recipient of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Research Award in 2007 as well as the Order of Ontario in 2007.


MaRS Discovery District

MaRS is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to maximizing the economic and social impact of innovation. MaRS does this by connecting and fostering collaboration between the communities of science, business and capital.

The MaRS Centre is located in Toronto's renowned "Discovery District" - Canada's largest concentration of biomedical research, spread across major teaching hospitals, the University of Toronto, and more than two dozen affiliated research centres.

The MaRS model uses place and partnerships to build a community in which innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, professionals and investors can exchange knowledge, share best practices, and expand their networks. MaRS offers a broad range of educational programs and business services to address the needs of emerging and growth-oriented companies. Public outreach activities span both science and culture, while entrepreneurship programs for students reach a wide cross-disciplinary audience and create a culture that celebrates innovative ideas, entrepreneurship and commercialization.  

The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

University Health Network (UHN)
With an operating budget of more than $850 million, the University Health Network is one of Canada's largest teaching hospitals. University Health Network is made up of Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital. Each hospital retains its identity and name within the network.

UHN's research institutes comprise the Ontario Cancer Institute, Advanced Medical Discovery Institute, the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute.

Approximately 2,500 scientists, technical staff, students and trainees at University Health Network are working together to solve fundamental and applied research problems.

Primary funding for University Health Network comes from the Ontario Ministry of Health. Other funding sources include the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, patient services, grants and donations from individuals and corporations. 

Quick Facts

  • The Premier’s Innovation Awards are made up of three prestigious awards programs – the Catalyst, Discovery and Summit Awards – that support and promote ideas and discoveries that build on Ontario’s innovation strengths.
  • Last year’s Summit Award recipients were Dr. John E. Dick, Dr. Tak W. Mak, Dr. Anthony J. Pawson and Dr. Peter H. St George-Hyslop.
  • Ontario has an international reputation for research excellence in the medical and related sciences, supported by 25 research and academic hospitals employing 10,000 scientists, clinical investigators and other researchers conducting $850 million in research annually.

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