Services for Researchers - archive

Take advantage of services we offer for your research preparations, from application support to methodology design and more.

Biostatistical and Research Methodology Support Services

The DFCM Research Program offers a wide range biostatistical and research methodology support services including assistance writing grant applications, designing studies, data management, data analysis, and dissemination of findings (see the form below for more information).

The following applies to the DFCM research support services:

  • There is no cost for research support services related to core DFCM program activities.
  • There is no cost associated with a consultation during the grant writing stage.
  • Time permitting, DFCM faculty may schedule up to 4 hours of consultation per year at no cost. It is strongly encouraged that this consultation takes place early in the research planning writing stage.
  • For those applying for a research grant, a line item should be included in the budget to cover the costs of these and future support services at the rate of $100/hr for a senior biostatistician or methodologist; $50/hr for a biostatistician (under the direction of a senior biostatistician); and $50/hr for data management services.
  • For existing projects, methodological/biostatistical services are available on a cost recovery basis at the rate of $100/hr for a senior biostatistician or methodologist; $50/hr for a biostatistician (under the direction of a senior biostatistician); and $50/hr for data management services.*

* Commitments to projects currently (i.e., February 2016) receiving biostatistical support will be honoured. All new projects must follow the procedures above.

To access DFCM Research Program support services, please complete the following form. It is a means to collect information on research needs so that we can allocate our resources to better serve the DFCM research community. Please plan well in advance so that we have sufficient time to respond to your requests.

If you have any questions/concerns about this process, please contact the DFCM Research Administrator.

Please complete the online request form

Research Ethics Board Applications

The standards by which the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board (REB) evaluates submissions are informed by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) . If you are unfamiliar with research ethics, the Council offers an excellent, online introductory course on research ethics. It consists of eight modules that focus on generalizable principles applicable to all research.


Answers to six questions about research ethics applications:

1. When do I require an REB and where do I submit my application?

You will require University of Toronto REB approval if you are conducting research involving humans under the auspices of the University of Toronto.

Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) hospitals have their own REBs, and researchers should submit REB applications to their respective hospital REB for review. Researchers should also submit REB applications to the University of Toronto if recruitment, intervention, or interaction with human participants will take place on campus.

Administrative Review

For TAHSN-based projects where the University of Toronto plays a peripheral role (administration of funds, graduate student involvement, and/or analysis or storage of personal data or biological samples), an Administrative Review must be completed.

Determining What Requires Approval

Refer to TCPS2 Article 2.5 for types of activities that are recused from REB approval. For example, quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) projects do not necessarily require REB approval. If the intent of the QA/QI project is internal use for assessment, management, or improvement purposes, then you may not require REB approval; however, if the intent is research (e.g., using a program evaluation as a generalizable case for the purpose of extending knowledge to other similar programs), then you may require REB approval.
Intent to publish and the use of rigorous data collection/analysis methods are not indicative of whether a project requires REB approval.  Both research and QA/QI can be published, and both can use similar methodologies. Note that if data are collected for the purposes of QA/QI, and later used for research purposes, it is considered secondary use of data and may necessitate REB approval. Refer to this QA/QI research checklist (Word doc) to help determine if your project requires REB approval.

2. Which REB form do I have to complete?

Which University of Toronto REB submission form you require depends on your project and your role. The most commonly used forms are:

  • New Application form for Faculty Researchers (if you are the PI on the project),
  • New Application form for Supervised and Sponsored Research (if the PI is a supervised student and the supervisor is a faculty member)
  • Cover Sheet for TAHSN-approved applications for Administrative Reviews

3. Who is allowed to submit an application to the University of Toronto REB as a PI or supervisor?

PIs and supervisors must be University of Toronto faculty members with research privileges. Research privileges authorize the PI/supervisor to submit REBs, and they are outlined in your employment letter with the University of Toronto. Please refer to your employment letter for further information.

4. How do I obtain the Chair’s signature for my REB submission?

All DFCM faculty, staff, and students submitting REB applications through the DFCM requiring the signature of our Chair must first submit their REB application, relevant appendices (if applicable), and completed DFCM Resource Implication Form (Word doc) for REB Submissions to the Research Program for review. Once your REB application package is signed by the Chair, it will be returned to you, and it is then your responsibility to submit it to the University of Toronto REB.

Your submission to the University of Toronto REB has separate requirements. Please visit the Research and Innovation site for full instructions on their submission requirements and process. 

To determine whether a QA/QI project requires REB review, submit your QA/QI research checklist to the Research Ethics Manager, Health Sciences.

5. What are the timelines for my REB submission?

The DFCM internal review of your REB application will take a maximum of two weeks. Once you have made necessary changes to your application, as suggested by the DFCM Research Program, and the Chair has signed your application package, you can submit it to the University of Toronto REB.

Applications for delegated review: the deadline for delegated review is every Monday (or first business day of the week) by 4 pm. You can expect to receive a response from the REB within 4-5 weeks.

Applications for full board review: the full board usually meets on a monthly basis. Considering the schedule of meeting dates and corresponding due dates, investigators are advised to submit well in advance of their anticipated start date.

6. What if I need to make a change to my approved REB protocol?

Minor variations to protocols are acceptable without the need for submission of an amendment. These changes should be addressed in the annual renewal or study completion form.

Any other proposed changes to an approved REB protocol require submission of an Amendment Request (Word doc). An amendment is any change to the study that affects scholarly intent, study design, or human participant protection. Any change to the protocol that alters the risk to participants, regardless of whether that change increases or decreases risk, requires an amendment.

Internal Peer Review of Grant Applications


This voluntary internal peer review process for research grant applications is being provided to help improve grant writing skills and the overall success rates of peer reviewed grant applications.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to submit a grant application for internal peer review, you must:

  • be a DFCM faculty member;
  • be the Principal Investigator;
  • not have an internal peer review process available to you at your primary research site.


At least six weeks prior to the date required for internal signatures, complete and submit the on-line request form located below.

Once submitted, you will be contacted to submit the penultimate version of your grant application (that includes background/literature review; research objectives/questions; research plan; data management & analysis; dissemination; time line; research team; and budget/budget justification). Applicants will receive feedback at least two weeks prior to the internal signature deadline.

 Additional Help Developing/Polishing Your Grant Application

Apart from our internal peer review process, the Faculty of Medicine offers grant development and research proposal support including: writing and editing support; ensuring applications clearly demonstrate the impact of the research; reorganizing for most effective content and structure; clarification of meaning and improvement of readability; correction of grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation; and ensuring proposals adhere to agency formatting guidelines.

If you have any questions/concerns about this process, please contact Noah Frank, DFCM Research Administrator.

Please complete the online request form

For many health workers, the pandemic added multiple layers of stress, grief and exhaustion to already challenging roles. Through the Docs4Docs initiative, family doctors are helping physicians cope with the added pressures of the pandemic and care for their own health, so they can continue to care for others.

While COVID-19 cases have finally fallen, pressure on the health care system continues as hospitals and clinics work to clear a backlog of nearly 16 million medical procedures. For physicians, the pandemic is far from over.

“Healthcare professionals, particularly those working ICUs, have been under incredible strain for a prolonged period of time. We wanted to make sure they have the support required to look after their own health, so they can continue to care for others,” explains Dr. David Tannenbaum, a family doctor at Sinai Health and Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) Interim Chair.

Family doctors are an invaluable resource for comprehensive health management, continuity of care and personal attention. But anecdotally, we know that many physicians don’t have their own family doctor, says Dr. Tannenbaum.

At the height of the pandemics third wave, DFCM launched Docs4Docs to connect physicians significantly impacted by the stress of working in ICUs and other similar environments, with a family doctor.

Each participating family doctor volunteered to take on one physician-patient for immediate and long-term support and to coordinate care for specific issues.

“Family doctors have been under intense pressure, continuing to care for patients while leading vaccination efforts at mass vaccination sites and in our communities,” says Dr. Karen Weyman, a family doctor and Chief of Family Medicine at St. Michael's Hospital. “The fact that family doctors have stepped up to support our physician colleagues during this difficult time reflects the compassion and strength of our community.”

Initially offered to critical care staff physicians, the initiative has expanded to include anesthesiology, internal medicine, OBGYN and surgery staff physicians. To date, 40 physicians have been matched with a family doctor. With many other groups also under strain, the Docs4Docs team is considering expanding to other similar environments.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, critical care doctors have been put under stress and have been working really hard,” says Dr. Laurent Brochard, Director of the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine at U of T. “Their job has been enormously facilitated by the support and help of many other colleagues. Among those, the initiative taken by family doctors through this Docs4Docs initiative has been a source of major relief for several intensivists, helping them in their personal well-being. We are sincerely grateful for this fantastic initiative offered at the right moment!”

Throughout the pandemic, barriers between specialism have melted away as clinicians pulled together to reach a common goal. 

“The Docs4Docs program provided a tangible message of support for anesthesiologists at a time when support was needed most,” says Dr. Beverley Orser, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine at U of T. “A heartfelt thank you to DFCM and all the family physicians who volunteered for the program.”