The Nurse Innovator Award (NIA) was conceived by the RNFOO Honorary Life Members to design and build a mechanism whereby 100+ Nurses Who Care, will enable, encourage, support and celebrate nursing innovation.  Nurses with new and original ideas and methods can find financial support and mentorship to create the changes they imagine. For the purposes of this award, an innovative approach is an idea that has not been tried before and one that will enhance practice, education and/or the patient experience. 

Nurse Innovators applying for this award will be using creative thinking and idea development, and be willing and prepared to embark on an initiative that will advance practice, education and/or the patient experience. Nurse Innovators, turning their ideas into action, will play a key role in driving the nursing profession and health care forward, now and into the future.

In this inaugural year RNFOO will allocate Award(s) totaling up to $40,000 in November 2019.


Applicants for a Nurse Innovator Award must be an RN, RPN, or NP currently registered in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and living or working in Ontario. In the event of a team application, the lead professional must be an RN, RPN or NP.

There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. 

The Application Process

The application process for 2019 is now closed.  Information about the process is provided here for those looking to apply in 2020.  There is a 2-step process for applicants: (see details below)

  • Step 1: requires: a letter of intent, an abbreviated résumé, and two supporting letters by (2020 date to be determined - TBD)
  • Step 2: if short-listed, applicants will be informed by (TBD), and asked to provide a self-made video approximately 1 month later.

STEP 1:  Applicants must register (using the NIA Applicant login box that will be available), pay the $25 application fee, and provide all information requested through this on-line form.  In addition to basic contact information, applicants must submit:

i) A letter of intent (3-page maximum) describing:

  • the issue, background and importance of the issue being addressed
  • description of the innovation, plan for implementation, timeline and the stated aims
  • target audience and impact on practice, education and/or the patient experience
  • desired outcomes and planned deliverables
  • funds requested and how they will be spent
  • evaluation methods and thoughts on how the innovation can be scaled and spread to others

ii) An abbreviated résumé (2-page maximum) that focuses on professional experiences, positions, education and other pertinent information that is relevant to the focus of the application.

iii) Two supporting letters from people who can attest to the value and potential of the innovation and the applicant’s ability to complete the project.

Applications must be marked complete by the stated deadline in order to be considered for the 2020 awards.  Complete applications will be reviewed, and a short-list of candidates will proceed to the second step.  

STEP 2. If short-listed, applicants will be asked to provide a self-made video. The video must be clear, compelling and brief (5-minutes maximum). It can be self-filmed on a cell phone, and must include the following descriptions:

  • the innovative idea
  • how it proposes original ideas for addressing an important issue
  • the impact, how it will make a difference to practice, education and/or the patient experience
  • why you think you are the person who can lead the successful innovation
  • what you will do to tell others about this innovation and spread it to other places

Instructions for uploading videos will provided.  Videos must be submitted by (TBD)

Other Information 

Click here for some resources on how to pitch an idea.
At least one interactive teleconference (Q&A) about the application process will be held. 
It is expected that the innovation will be carried out within twelve months of receiving funding.
Awards will be distributed at or immediately after the Reception in November.
Income tax receipts will be issued for all awards, as required by CRA.
Successful applicants will be required to provide a progress summary report (3-page maximum) six months after the commencement of the project and a final report and deliverables (5-page maximum) upon completion.
RNFOO Nurse Innovator Award funding must be acknowledged in any publications or presentations that result from the project.
The Nurse Innovator Award has some mentors who are willing to help successful award winners as they implement their innovations.

Questions about the application process can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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