Early Career Investigator Award

2024 call for nominations is now closed.

This award, supported by CIHR – Institute of Cancer Research, honours a new investigator for outstanding contributions to research in the field of psychosocial oncology. Candidates must be within seven years of completing their postgraduate, fellowship or equivalent specialist training (defined as a PhD or MD or equivalent). Please note times of prolonged leave (e.g. medical leave, maternity leave, compassionate leave) should not be counted towards the seven years.

Recipients are distinguished by the level and quality of research output at this early career stage.


  • The nominee must be within seven years of completing his or her highest level of training (e.g., graduate training, medical or postdoctoral fellowship, or equivalent specialist training).
  • Eligibility is limited to members in good standing of CAPO (for at least one year prior to the nomination).
  • Award recipients must register and attend the annual CAPO conference (in person or virtually) in order to be eligible.

Application Criteria

  • Nominator must be a CAPO Member (Regular, Affiliate, Retired) in good standing.
  • Application for the award will consist of:
    • A confidential letter of nomination from the nominator.
    • One letter of support from other individuals to whom the nominee is known, also specifying why the nominee meets the award description above (supporters need not be CAPO members).
    • Complete curriculum vitae, with details of specific termination dates of degrees and post-graduate training.
    • Statement from the nominee, not to exceed 500 words, highlighting significant research accomplishments in the area of psychosocial oncology.

Application Process

  • Complete nomination packages must be submitted ONLINE to the Chair(s) of the Awards Committee (c/o the CAPO office) by no later than April 12, 2024
    • Nominations and supporting documentation can be submitted in either French or English.
    • The Awards Committee will invite members of the CAPO Board (barring those with real or perceived conflicts of interest) to review the nominations and vote for a recipient of the award. In the event of a tie vote, the last three CAPO past presidents, excluding the immediate past president (who are clear of any conflict of interest) will review the tied nominations and vote amongst themselves to select a winner.
    • If no suitable recipients are nominated, no award will be given.
    • There is no monetary value to this award.

    2023 Early Career Investigator Award Recipient:

    Dr. Nicole Alberts

    Dr. Nicole Alberts is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Behavioural Health Intervention in the Department of Psychology, Concordia University. Following her undergraduate studies at the University of Saskatchewan and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Regina, she completed her pre-doctoral residency at the Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. She also completed a one-year clinical and research fellowship in Rehabilitation Psychology at the University of Washington.

    In 2016, Dr. Alberts joined the Department of Psychology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, USA as an Assistant Member (clinician-scientist track) and Attending Psychologist. There she examined pain and psychosocial outcomes within pediatric oncology as well as the development of digital health interventions. In 2020, she joined the Department of Psychology, Concordia University.

    Dr. Alberts has established herself as an expert in chronic pain and childhood cancer survivorship as well as in the development and testing of digital health interventions targeting pain and psychological outcomes among medical populations. She has been recognized through a variety of awards and honours including the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study Career Development Award and the Editor’s Choice award in the journal PAIN for her topical review on chronic pain in survivors of childhood cancer, in which she proposed a developmental model of pain across the cancer trajectory. In 2020, Dr. Alberts was invited to speak to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Expert Committee on Childhood Cancers and Disability about the nature and impacts of chronic pain in childhood cancer and survivorship. To date, she has received 6 research grants as a principal investigator (e.g., Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and her scholarly work has resulted in 45 publications, 3 book chapters, 10 invited talks, and over 20 conference presentations.

    Dr. Alberts’ program of research is aimed to improve behavioural health and psychological outcomes among individuals across the lifespan – with an emphasis on those diagnosed with childhood cancer. In doing so, she also seeks to better characterize pain among those completing childhood cancer treatment and surviving childhood cancer as well as to identify biopsychosocial risk factors for the development of pain in childhood cancer. She also leverages digital health approaches to answer key research questions and to develop and test innovative interventions targeting pain and psychological outcomes.

    Past Winners

    • 2022 – Dr. Amanda Wurz (BC)
    • 2021 – Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Bender (ON)
    • 2020 – Dr. Jennifer Bell (ON)
    • 2019 – Dr. Sheila Garland (NL)
    • 2018 – Dr. Sylvie Lambert (QC)
    • 2017 – Dr. Shane Sinclair (AB)
    • 2016 – Dr. Jennifer Brunet (ON)
    • 2015 – Dr. Sophie Lebel (ON)

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    Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO)

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