November 2 2010

Dr. Samarthji Lal

The Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research has been created in memory of psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Samarthji Lal, who passed away on November 1st, 2009.  Samarthji Lal, LRCP (Lond) MRCS (England) MB, BS (Guy’s Hospital Medical School, University of London), Dip Psy (McGill) (with distinction), FRCPC, ABPN, was Staff Psychiatrist at the Douglas Institute, Senior Psychiatrist at the Montreal General Hospital, Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and former Director of the McGill Centre for Research on Schizophrenia. In 1980, he set up Canada’s first brain bank at the Douglas Hospital Research Institute. He was a cofounder, with Dr. N.P.V. Nair, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre in 1979. He played a pivotal role in obtaining funds from the EJLB Foundation to set up the McGill Centre for Research on Schizophrenia, and from the Boeckh Family Foundation to establish the Graham Boeckh Chair in Schizophrenia at McGill.

Dr. Lal authored more than 200 publications in peer reviewed journals and books. In recognition of his research contributions, Dr. Lal was the recipient of the CCNP Heinz Lehmann Award in 1986; the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Distinguished Scientist Award for Schizophrenia Research in 1997 and the 2002 CCNP Innovations in Neuropsychopharmacology Award.

The Dr. Samarthji Lal award for mental health research

The Dr. Samarthji Lal award will recognize a researcher working in a Canadian institution in the area of psychiatry, with a focus on major mental disorders, who is mid-career and making an outstanding contribution to the field.  The recipient will demonstrate scientific excellence and innovative “out-of-the-box” thinking that will contribute in a concrete way to bringing hope and relief to patients.

In order to be considered for the award, each candidate must be nominated by a colleague or mentor who is familiar with the Nominee’s work.  The recipient will be selected on a competitive basis, by an expert review panel composed of four eminent scientists from across Canada and outside, and a representative of the Graham Boeckh Foundation.  The panel will make their recommendation of the recipient based upon the award criteria.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction and the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology are marketing partners respecting this award.

Purpose: To recognize an outstanding researcher working in a Canadian institution in the area of psychiatry, with a focus on major mental disorders.

Amount of award: $25,000 in Canadian funds, to be directed to the institution (the recipient cannot receive the funds personally).

Number of awards: One per year for ten years, with a mid-term review after the fifth year.

Nomination deadline:  Nominations are typically submitted by the end of January and the recipient of the award is announced at the Graham Boeckh Foundation’s annual dinner in the spring.

Eligibility: Open to all researchers in the field affiliated with a Canadian academic or clinical institution, who are in the mid-stage of their career, and therefore seven to 15 years from their initial appointment at the time of the submission. Under exceptional circumstances, the committee may consider a candidate who is outside of this limit.


The Nominator must submit:

  • A short introduction and summary of the candidate’s contribution to mental health research. Note that, as stated above, all nominations in the field of psychiatry qualify;
  • An outline of how the candidate meets the award criteria of demonstrating excellence and innovation, setting them apart from others in the field;

[For parts 1) and 2), eight pages total maximum]

  • A CV of the candidate, listing academic history (degrees obtained, professional history), awards and honors, and publications; and a brief biographical sketch of the candidate;
  • Two letters of support for the Nomination, from colleagues/mentors familiar with the candidate’s work;
  • Manuscripts and reprints, written by the nominee, which are considered by the sponsor to be pertinent to the nomination and which highlight the nominee’s work;
  • The Nominator’s and Nominee’s full contact information (address, telephone number, e-mail).

Applications should be sent to:

Ms. Gwen Rotenberg
Executive Assistant
Graham Boeckh Foundation

The preference is to receive nominations in electronic format (MS Word or pdf):

Mailing address:

1002 Sherbrooke Street West
Suite 1725
Montreal, QC H3A 3L6

Telephone:  514-904-0551
Fax:  514-287-8944