Policy, Guidelines & Information


The PITCH seminar series increases networking and knowledge exchange for researchers at the BC Children’s Hospital site by providing a venue to share expertise, build collaborations, and catalyze research progress. It is also an opportunity for trainees to develop communication skills. PITCH aims to foster a supportive research culture, with researchers and staff attending talks about subjects outside of their regular field of work.

Presenters & Audience

Presenters are members of the Childhood Diseases (CD) Theme, or an invited speaker hosted by a CD Theme member. Any employee from BCCHR, UBC, BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital, or affiliated institutes are welcome to attend.

Dates & Location

PITCH seminars occur on Thursday mornings between 9 and 10 a.m. during the academic year (September through June). The seminars are held in Room 2108 in the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. In cases when the Foundation requires that room, the seminar will be in room 3113. For seminars that expect larger than normal attendance, and enough notice has been given, the Chan auditorium may be used. The room for each talk will be communicated in the poster advertised around the institute as well as in reminder emails the week leading up to the seminar.

Time Allocation

The PITCH seminar lasts one hour. This will usually be split into two 25 minute talks with 5 minutes of question time each. Most faculty guest speakers outside the CD Theme will have 50 minutes of presentation time with 10 minutes questions and discussion time.

How to Book

The Research Coordinator (RC) of the CD Theme organizes the PITCH seminar schedule. To book a session, contact them directly via email,  phone or in person. The RC will organize room bookings, catering, and promotion through Research Services and BCCHR Communications.

Information Needed From Presenters

If an invited speaker is expected to draw a crowd larger than 40-50 people, please inform the RC when organizing the booking, as the larger Chan auditorium may be available. Please note that no food or drink is allowed in the Chan auditorium. For promoting the talk, the RC will require the speaker name, position & affiliations, and talk title 2-3 weeks in advance.


Once a PITCH talk is confirmed, cancellation requires at least 48 hours notice (Tuesday morning). Whenever possible, canceling speakers are expected to try to find another presenter to fill their time slot.

Equipment Provided

Speakers have access to a projection screen, projector, PC desktop, laser pointer, and a Mac adapter (Mac video plug to VGA). If the speaker wishes to present through their own laptop, there are connections available, but they should also bring a back-up copy of the presentation on USB in case there are any technical issues with their laptop.

Guest Speakers

PITCH encourages each CD affiliated research group to nominate a guest speaker over the season. Preference is given for invited speakers that are already in the area and do not have significant travel and accomodation expenses. Extra costs beyond normal seminar catering costs (coffee and baked goods for 40 people; potential breakfast/lunch for trainees) for invited speakers must first be approved by CD Theme Research Manager or Theme Lead. Invited guest speakers will be allotted a full PITCH session for their presentation.

Priority Booking for Student Exit Seminars

PhD and Masters students about to conclude their studies are welcome to present an exit seminar in preparation for their defence. These students will be given priority booking for the upcoming season, when booked prior to the end of September. To organize a booking, please directly contact the Research Coordinator, with as much notice as possible to avoid having that date booked by others.


Trainees should be introduced by their supervisor, with some background given on the presenter; past studies, key interests and some context to where their work fits into the group’s goals. If the supervisor is absent, a research associate or postdoctoral fellow from the research group should introduce the presenter. Guest speakers are introduced by the CD Theme member who invited them.

Trainee Feedback

Attending faculty might be called on to provide feedback for presenting trainees; a one page, comment-based review of the presenter will be filled out during the presentation. Direct supervisors will not be asked to provide feedback on their own trainees.

Group ‘Focus’ Talks

Each affiliated research group in the CD Theme is encouraged to hold a ‘Focus’ session each season. This full hour session is dedicated to translational research activity in the group, with both a clinician, and wet-lab researcher collaborating to present on a childhood disease or disorder that they are both working on.

Sign In

Signing in to record attendance at PITCH is needed in order to (1) assess engagement with CD Theme personnel and the larger BCCHR community, (2) track trainee attendance to determine eligibility for the PITCH travel awards (see below), and (3) document event details so that the Theme can pay the catering costs.

Travel Awards

At the end of the fiscal year (March), attendance records, based on legible names from the sign in sheets,  from April – March*, will be tallied. The top attending trainees will be nominated for travel awards. The requirements for the award are that:

  • The travel award must be used within the following financial year (April 1 - March 31).
  • The travel award must be used for an ‘international’ conference. This does not mean it must be held at an international location, but should be attracting international guests. Travel awards may be used for national conferences if approved by Theme Manager.
  • The trainee must present boarding passes (if applicable) for flights, proof of conference registration and conference attendance certificate.

*The 2018 awards will have attendance recorded from September 2017-March 2018.

Ad Hoc Talks

The CD Theme welcomes guest speakers invited and hosted by CD Theme members. When possible, in order to better ensure a good audience, it is best to book these speakers into the regular PITCH schedule. Well-known and ‘big name’ speakers with a large draw in the research community should be considered for the Discovery Talks series. If scheduling the speaker into the regular PITCH schedule is not possible, CD Theme admin (RC) can coordinate a seminar on different date and time as a “special PITCH”, with the same level of support as a normal PITCH seminar.

If support beyond the level of a normal PITCH is needed to cover additional hosting costs, like flights and hotel, then the hosting CD Theme member should apply for funding through the Knowledge Exchange & Team Building Support (KET) initative. For more more information on KET and the application process, go to the ResearchHub.


The PITCH Steering Committee (listed below) consists of representatives from each of the four CD affiliated research groups (Cancer & Blood Research, Diabetes, Immunity in Health & Disease, and Rare Diseases) and a student representative. They provide recommendations to CD Theme leadership on the logistics, content, and administration of the PITCH series. The committee meets once a year, at the end of the season (June/July) to review the metrics and outcomes of the previous season and make suggestions for improvement and/or new inititatives for the upcoming season.

PITCH Steering Committee

Kelly Brown   IHD 
Jeffrey Helm     Theme Manager  
Phillip Lange     CCBR  
Megan Levings     Theme Lead  
Dan Luciani     Diabetes  
Elizabeth Marchant     Student Representative  
Margaret McKinnon     Rare Diseases  
John Priatel      IHD
Gregor Reid     CCBR  
Kaija Strautins      Theme Research Coordinator  


Theme Lead Megan Levings   mlevings@bcchr.ca  
Theme Manager   Jeffrey Helm    jhelm@bcchr.ca  
Research Coordinator             Kaija Strautins    kstrautins@bcchr.ca