Practice-Based Research and Innovation: front-line staff inventing the future of care


Scientists and physicians aren’t alone in conducting life-changing research at Sunnybrook. Front-line health professionals who care for patients every day are ideally placed to identify gaps and propose improvements. Sunnybrook’s Practice-Based Research and Innovation Strategy invites our health professionals to apply for research seed grants or innovation fellowships to conduct research aimed at enhancing patient care.


Lisa DiProspero
Lisa DiProspero

“We are building our own future leaders and scientists by supporting their passion to ask questions and better the care we provide our patients,” says PBRI Director Lisa Di Prospero.


Projects to date have included:

  • With patient input, a physiotherapist created a brochure and video addressing “Top 10 questions about pain medication,” after noting many joint replacement patients had concerns about using medication after surgery. Patients now get the brochure and video link with their medications.
  • A critical care nurse introduced and is evaluating a tool to ensure essential patient information is transferred between nurses during shift changes. Effective “handovers” are especially important in intensive care units where a large volume of critical information may need to be transferred.

Innovation fellowships

Successful applicants are given time away from their regular positions of two days weekly for six months, to complete a quality improvement project they propose. They also receive education and mentoring during this time. Funds are used to ensure patient needs on their units are covered while fellows work on their projects.


Seed grants

Recipients are awarded small grants to help with their projects, rather than time away from their jobs. Grants may be used to purchase equipment or software or buy time of a research assistant to recruit participants and collect data. Participants have two years to complete their projects.


Research chairs

Research chairs allow PhD-prepared health professionals to develop and sustain a new and innovative program of research in a defined clinical area. Aligned to Sunnybrook’s leadership in this area, a nursing chair in Trauma, Emergency and Critical Care Research has been identified as a priority.


Improving patient care with donor support

Philanthropic support at all levels is critical to our ability to offer opportunities that benefit our health professionals and, ultimately, our patients.