Our Story Since 1925

Canada's First Catalyst for Health Science Discovery

The Banting Research Foundation, named in honor of Frederick G. Banting, was founded on July 22, 1925, as a registered charity with a mission to fund health and biomedical research in Canada. Our inception followed the groundbreaking discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and his associates, an achievement that placed Toronto and Canada on the global map of medical science.

Our foundation was established to support ongoing research of Banting and other Canadian scientists, with the intent to create a fund for researchers who had “good ideas but no money”, much like the situation of Banting when he approached J.J.R. Macleod in 1921 with a request for resources to pursue his ideas about insulin. Today, we honor this legacy by investing in Canada’s most promising early-career researchers who exhibit exceptional research potential and need initial funding to catalyze further investment in their innovative projects.

What is an early-career researcher? BRF defines ECRs as those within five years of their first academic appointment. This crucial stage of early career researchers represents a unique and pivotal moment, characterized by limited time and a scarcity of stable funding. It is during this vulnerable period that these young scientists possess an immense potential to nurture and shape their innovative ideas.

Throughout our history, we have recognized and fostered rising talents in health science across Canada. To date, we have supported 1,366 early-career health and biomedical researchers through our annual Discovery Award Program, which provides research grants valued at $30,000 to the highest-ranked applicants in an annual peer-reviewed competition. Our alumni have made outstanding discoveries, secured major research funding, and emerged as leaders in medical science not only in Canada but also internationally.

Our foundation is a registered federal non-profit corporation in Canada, and is governed by a Board of Trustees comprising of members from academic, corporate, and public sector communities.

Our journey began with a fundraising campaign in 1925 led by Sir William Mulock, Chancellor of the University of Toronto, which raised $500,000 from individual and corporate donors to establish an endowment. This was further supplemented by a significant bequest in 1948 from the estate of Kate E. Taylor of Toronto.

We take pride in the fact that we were the first and virtually the only organization funding medical research in Canada until 1938 when the National Research Council included medical research in its funding programs. This pioneering spirit is at the heart of everything we do.

Today, as we look towards the future, we remain committed to our mission of supporting the brightest Canadian minds in health and biomedical research. We continue to be inspired by our history and the legacy of Sir Frederick Banting, committed to changing lives and making a lasting impact on the world of health science.

Welcome to the Banting Research Foundation, where the future of research and mentorship shines brighter than ever.


J.P. Bickell Foundation