Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP) Awards

The Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute CRTP Award competition provides funding to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical research fellows enrolled in the Cancer Research Training Program and undertaking cancer research at recognized institutions in Atlantic Canada.  A limited number of traineeship awards will be offered to outstanding applicants with an interest in cancer research. Please note that Supervisors must be Scientists, Senior Scientists or Associate Members of BHCRI and trainees must be part of the CRTP program to apply for Awards.

Eligibility: Trainees who are part of the Cancer Research Training Program and meet the eligibility requirements are invited to apply. PhD candidates may apply for postdoctoral funding but must have successfully defended their thesis prior to the start date of funding in order to qualify. Postdoctoral fellows may receive funding while in their first 6 years of postdoctoral study, PhD candidates may only receive funding while in their first 5 years of study and MSc students may only receive funding in their first 2 years of study. MSc students that transfer to a PhD program may only receive funding during the first 7 years of their combined program.

A maximum of two trainees may be funded per supervisor to assist as many research locations as possible and ensure a breadth of trainees. This amount would normally fund 1 graduate student and 1 postdoctoral fellow (PDF). In any competition, the number of applications from each supervisor is limited to two if the supervisor does not have any CRTP-funded trainees or one if the supervisor already has a CRTP-funded trainee (this includes co-supervisors). A trainee may not receive more than two two-year CRTP awards. The minimum CRTP term is eight months. The supervisor must be a Scientist, Senior Scientist, Associate Member or Honorary Member in Atlantic Canada (qualifying as a Senior Scientist, Scientist or Associate Member) of the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute (BHCRI). Residents in the Clinician Investigator Program (CIP) may only receive funding while in the 2-year program.


The spring 2024 Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute Cancer Research Training Program funding competition is now open.
Funding for these awards has been made available from a variety of sources.

To apply for the CRTP Award, the Intent to Apply Form must be completed and received by before the deadline of 4pm AST on 4 March 2024. If you are already a trainee in the CRTP Program, you only need to submit the Intent to Apply form. The Intent to Apply is to provide notification of a forthcoming award application and assists BHCRI in ensuring appropriate expertise on the Scientific Review Panels.

To apply for the CRTP Award, please download the Intent to Apply Form, CRTP Award Application, Guidelines and Checklist.

Please note: the Intent to Apply Form must be received by the deadline of 4pm AST on 4 March 2024 to apply for a CRTP award. CRTP Applications received without an Intent to Apply Form will not be reviewed. 

Please note the CRTP Award competition changes for 2024:

  • Awards for 2024 will be for one year only, subject to the availability of funds and the trainee’s fulfillment of the award requirements.
  • A supervisor may supplement the value of the trainee award from their grant support. BHCRI recommends that supervisors contribute to trainee awards to ensure trainees receive a living wage, if possible.
  • For the 2024 competition, trainees can hold a CRTP Award or another award but may not hold both.


The CRTP Award application deadline is 4:00pm ADT on 4 April 2024. Funding for approved awards will begin on 1 September 2024. 

A single pdf file (unscanned) of the application (including the supervisor(s) and co-supervisor(s) CV) must be emailed by 4pm ADT 4 April 2024 to: Receipt of the Intent to Apply form must be received by the BHCRI office to apply. Incomplete applications or applications delivered after the deadline will not be considered.

Peer review of applications is recommended prior to submission. If you would like to have your draft application pre-reviewed, please contact at least two weeks in advance of the CRTP deadline.


If you are not currently a trainee in the Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP) and would like to become part of the program and apply for the CRTP Award, please complete the CRTP Program Application via the link and the Intent to Apply form by 4pm AST on 4 March 2024. Please review the guidelines and follow the link to complete the CRTP program application:

Notification of acceptance into the program will be provided to applicants by email well in advance of the CRTP Award deadline. Once accepted, you may submit a CRTP award application.

All trainees working in cancer research in Atlantic Canada are encouraged to apply for the Program to become part of CRTP. Being part of CRTP has many benefits. Please visit the webpage for more information.

The CRTP Program application consists of confirmation from the trainee’s supervisor/program director, a description from the applicant (trainee) outlining their cancer program and commitment to CRTP, and a lay summary of the cancer research. Supervisors must be members of BHCRI for trainees to apply. Trainees who are accepted into the program will automatically become members of BHCRI.

For questions on the CRTP program or CRTP award, please contact:


Please view the Guidelines for Writing Lay Summaries

Turning on Readability Statistics (MS Word Office 365)


All BHCRI award applicants are invited to complete the optional self-identification form.

BHCRI encourages completion of the voluntary self-identification form to help determine whether our programs are reaching a broad range of applicants in an effort to create an inclusive environment and sense of belonging with a diverse community of contributors. Information provided is confidential and will only be used for statistical reporting on the representation of equity groups within the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute and will not be used for any aspect of the peer-review process. If you have submitted a form in the past, please do not submit another form.


Congratulations to the September 2023 CRTP Award Recipients:


Masters Students:

Riley Arseneau, Pathology, Dalhousie University

Supervisors: Dr. Jeanette Boudreau, Dr. Boris Gala-Lopez

Funding provided by GIVETOLIVE

“Integrating Cancer Genetics and Immunology to Design Precision Therapies for Pancreatic Cancer”

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and has a very poor five-year survival rate.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for new treatment options. Our research focuses on using
pancreatic tumor genetics to predict how immune cells, specifically natural killer cells, invade
and interact with the tumor. Natural killer cells can recognize multiple features of tumor cells
due to their wide range of receptors. However, their effectiveness at killing cancer cells varies
widely depending on both tumor and immune cell properties. If we can classify a way to use
genetic signatures to predict natural killer cell invasion and function within the tumor, future
studies can focus on defining strategies for genetic and immunology-informed approaches to
precision medicine for pancreatic cancer patients.


PhD Candidates:

Theresa Vo, Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University

Supervisors: Dr. Robin Urquhart, Dr. Wiesława Dominika Wranik

Funding provided by the Canadian Cancer Society’s JD Irving Limited – Excellence in Cancer Research Fund

“Canadians’ healthcare system literacy: validation of a new instrument and its application for lung cancer survivors”

Canada’s healthcare system is fragmented. Cancer patients must navigate this system, with many appointments across different providers and settings, uncoordinated care and support services, and many forms for coverage when beginning their treatments.

Navigating such a healthcare system requires healthcare system literacy (HSL). HSL is defined as one’s ability to access, understand, evaluate, and apply information in such a way that it is possible to navigate healthcare systems to get the most appropriate healthcare services. Challenges in navigating the health system can make patients end up delaying diagnosis and treatment, failing to get needed care, or being unsatisfied with the system. To date, although several tools are used to measure HSL, these tools do not reflect the Canadian landscape. For example, how patients can understand copay or insurance requirements for medical visits or for their medications. Also, little is known about the extent to which HSL in a problem in Canada. This study will develop a new instrument to assess Canadian’s HSL. The study will also describe how HSL is a challenge for lung cancer patients in Atlantic provinces. Findings from this study can help policymakers and healthcare providers develop better navigation programs and cancer interventions to improve navigational skills for cancer patients.


Postdoctoral Fellows:

Preethi Gopalakrishnan Nair, Pathology, Dalhousie University

Supervisor: Dr. Shashi Gujar

Funding provided by GIVETOLIVE

“Kynureninase hydrogels for immuno-metabolic glioblastoma therapy”

Metabolism of tumor and immune cells contributes to the survival and proliferation of cancer cells. If the metabolic pathways are targeted it can improve the effect of therapeutic regime that are being used. Immuno-metabolic therapy involves targeting of metabolic pathways to boost the immune system. So that host immune system will be able to fight against cancer. Tryptophan metabolism or the kynurenine pathway produces metabolic intermediates that have deleterious effects on immune cells and overexpression of IDO, rate limiting enzyme of tryptophan metabolism, has been reported for the poor prognosis in various cancers.

In this project we are aiming to prepare a hydrogel that can be used to deliver kynureninase to the cancer cells. These enzymes will degrade the kynurenine and will reverse the kynurenine induces immune suppression. The platform we preparing will increase the enzyme stability and reduce the protease degradation of enzyme.


Sample CRTP Competition Review Forms are located below. This is provided for your reference only and is subject to change.

Download the CRTP Competition Review Forms: Masters, PhD, PDF