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Innovation Fund

Learn how the fund supports academic physicians and read about the showcase award winners.


The Innovation Fund is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the OMA. The Innovation Fund Provincial Oversight Committee (IFPOC) manages the fund.

Since its initiation in 2008, the Innovation Fund has provided seed funding to over 1,000 projects across Ontario.

How it works

The funding comes from the Academic Health Science Centre Alternative Funding Plan (AHSC AFP). Each participating AHSC AFP governance organizations is provided an allocation of the total funding available each year.

The organizations solicit research proposals and subject applications from over 5,000 physicians working in 17 of Ontario’s academic health science centres.

The proposals and applications go through an internal competitive peer review process to select the best proposals for funding.

Innovation Fund showcase

The Innovative Fund Provincial Oversight Committee (IFPOC) held their 4th Innovation Fund Showcase on Nov. 14, 2019, at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

The showcase had interactive panels with health system leaders, including hospital CEOs, senior government officials and health system advisors. The event also featured:

  • Awards for top innovators
  • Exhibits of innovations
  • Guest speakers

Read about some of the projects featured at the showcase.


The Innovation Fund Showcase award categories in 2019 were:

  • Best in Implementation and Integration
  • Best in Quality and Safety
  • Best Technological Innovation
  • Best in Mental Health, Children and Community Care

Best in Implementation and Integration

Dr. Eliseo (Eli) Orrantia, accepts award
Dr. Eliseo (Eli) Orrantia, Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association.

Testing a Theoretical Model of Rural Primary Care Physician Team Effectiveness as a Modifiable Determinant of Physician Retention

This project looked at understanding that supporting rural physician teams in their communication, decision-making and conflict resolution may help improve the outcomes of performance and individual commitment to these teams.

Better health-care performance is valued by the system and individual patients while the commitment of physicians to their team is valuable in northern Ontario's environment of rural physician scarcity.

Best in Quality and Safety

Dr. Duminda Wijeysundera and Dr. Stuart McCluskey accept an award
Dr. Duminda Wijeysundera (St. Michael’s Hospital) and Dr. Stuart McCluskey (University Health Network).

The METS (Measurement of Exercise Tolerance Before Surgery) Study: A Multicentre Prospective Cohort Study of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing for Improving Preoperative Risk Stratification for Major Non-Cardiac Surgery

This project involved a simple questionnaire and inexpensive blood test to significantly improve the identification of patients who are scheduled to have surgery but are at high risk for heart-related problems after surgery.

This straightforward and relatively inexpensive innovation can be applied in all preoperative clinics in Ontario to improve the delivery of care (benefits for health-care systems), better target more expensive health-care resources (improving efficiency of health-care delivery) and improve outcomes for patients.

The study also found that a more expensive and involved exercise test can identify patients at risk for other major complications, especially lung problems and major infections.

Best Technological Innovation

Dr. Nicole Look Hong accepts an award
Dr. Nicole Look Hong, general surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Magnetic Occult Lesion Localization and Imaging (MOLLI)

MOLLI is aimed at women undergoing breast conserving surgery (for example, for small early breast cancers detected by screening). It helps localize lesions and tumours at the time of surgery using a simple, small, inexpensive magnet.

This is a cost-effective and user-friendly system that can be used in urban and rural centres alike, therefore having wide appeal to patients and physicians all over the province. Based on a pilot clinical trial, it provides an excellent patient experience for women.

Best in Mental Health, Children and Community Care

Dr. Robert Teasell accepts an award
Dr. Robert Teasell, Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario.

Continuing Stroke Recovery through Rehabilitation in the Community

This project studied a model system in the community whereby stroke patients requiring rehabilitation after being discharged home had access to either hospital or home-based interdisciplinary outpatient rehab care in keeping with Canadian Best Practice Guidelines.

Both groups improved; with younger, less severe stroke patients more likely to be treated in a hospital-based outpatient program and older, more severe stroke patients in a home-based program. Overall, patients in the home-based program made modestly more gains than the hospital-based program.