The Michael R Freeman Innovation Award Competition

The Michael R Freeman Innovation Award Competition

RENAMING: The Heart and Stroke Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence (HSRLCE) and Toronto Academic Cardiac Vascular Collaborative (TACVC) Innovation Competition has been renamed to the Dr. Michael R Freeman Innovation Award Competition to honor the memory of our colleague and friend who made so many important contributions to St. Michael’s Hospital and the Toronto Academic Cardiac and Vascular Collaborative (TACVC).

About the Award
In collaboration with the Heart and Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research (HSRLCE), the academic/teaching hospitals from the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (i.e. The Hospital for Sick Children, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University Health Network, and Women’s College Hospital) are hosting a Cardiac and Vascular Collaborative Innovation Competition. The goal is to spur innovation and collaboration between institutes with the aim of improving quality of care within cardiac and vascular programs. The purpose of the award is to provide seed funding for novel ideas aimed at cardiovascular disease management, emphasizing collaborative research and development at multiple sites within the TCLHIN and initiated by at least one investigator from within the LHIN. Priority will be given to ideas with a pathway toward commercialization within 5 years.

Funding Source/Details:
Each of the five participating sites (SickKids, SMH, SHSC, UHN & WCH) will commit funds of $35,000 per site toward associated activities at their site. This will be matched by a $75,000 support by HSRLCE, to provide a total award pool of $250K per year. The total funding available per year is $250,000. The maximum award per successful proposal is $150,000. Award term will be one year (awardees will have up to two years to spend the funds). A second term of funding is possible with re-application and associated competitive review.

May 31, 2018: Deadline for Applications – Click here to download the application form
August 15, 2018: Notification of Award
September 1, 2018: Award Start Date


  • Principal applicants must be full-time employees of SickKids, SMH, SHSC, UHN or WCH and members of the respective Heart Programs.
  • Projects must be collaborative and must include co-applicants from at least two of the participating institutions (SickKids, SMH, SHSC, UHN & WCH). Preference may be given to multidisciplinary projects that span more institutions and should demonstrate added value leveraging local strengths.
  • Principal applicant can only submit one application per year for proposal review.
  • Preference will be given to applications that represent a new unfunded initiative for the applicants.

Other Terms of Reference
For full details and terms of reference please click here to view the 2018 Dr. Michael R Freeman Innovation Award Competition – Request for Applications

Click here to download the application form.

Questions regarding this competition may be directed to Liz Thuo, Business & Communications Manager, Heart & Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence at



Dr. Andrew Dueck, Vascular Surgeon, Associate Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute was awarded the 2017  Innovation Award in the amount of $150,000.
Graham Wright, Senior Scientist, Professor, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Trisha Roy, Vascular Surgery Resident/PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
Thomas Forbes, Vascular Surgeon, Professor, University Health Network
Mark Wheatcroft, Vascular Surgeon, St. Michael’s Hospital

Innovation Title
Post-processing and user interface development for a novel MR-based peripheral plaque characterization sequence

About the Innovation
We propose the development of a novel image analysis software program to plan peripheral vascular interventions (PVI) for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Using a combination of two MRI sequences, we have shown that it is possible to perform flow-independent native-contrast MR angiograms and to further characterize the mechanical properties of peripheral arterial lesions. These features are important determinants of PVI outcomes and can inform personalized treatment plans.

The solution we propose requires the development of an image analysis technique to automatically locate and characterize PAD lesions. To commercialize this technique, we will develop clinical-use software that implements this image analysis method, and create a well-designed and easy-to-use interface for surgeons to plan peripheral interventions. In the future, we will use this software in a clinical trial to develop new clinical protocols for patient selection, procedure planning, and prognostication.

Liz ThuoThe Michael R Freeman Innovation Award Competition