Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

Updated Information

Revised External Deadline: July 7, 2020


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships


Up to six Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships are awarded annually to recognize early stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and to enhance their research capacity so that they can become leaders in their field and inspire others. Prior to 2020, Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships were known as the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships.

Program details and timeline are not yet confirmed. This information will be updated when the program launches. 


If you are an early-stage academic researcher, meaning that you have held an independent academic position for 10 years or less as of June 1 of the year of the competition and currently hold a grant from NSERC, you can prepare a nomination for this award.

An independent academic position is a position that:

  • is a university faculty appointment (tenured or non-tenured);
  • requires that the researcher engages in research that is not under the direction of another individual;
  • authorizes the researcher to supervise or co-supervise the research of students registered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, or postdoctoral fellows.

A candidate submitting a nomination in June 2020 would have been hired on or after June 1, 2010.

Your research must be primarily in the fields of the natural sciences and/or engineering.

As an eligible candidate, you may self-nominate. Your institution must certify its support for your nomination. The institution confirms that you are eligible and explains how the institution will fully relieve you of teaching and administrative responsibilities while you hold the award.


  • Each fellow receives a research grant of $250,000 over two years. The start date of the Fellowship should be between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022; and the award is normally paid in two installments of $125,000 per year.
  • The Fellowship normally includes a contribution of up to $90,000 per year to the university toward the fellow's salary.
  • As part of the Fellowship agreement, the university is expected to fund a replacement for the fellow's teaching and administrative responsibilities.

Special Notes

The nominations will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Candidate's stature in the scientific or engineering community—both national and international;
  • Importance and scope of the candidate's research and its impact on the field, society and, if applicable, on industry;
  • Candidate's specific accomplishments within his or her field;
  • Candidate's overall suitability for the award.

If your nomination is successful, you will receive a research grant of $250,000 over two years, held at a Canadian university or affiliated research institution. You will also be relieved from teaching and administrative duties so that you can devote your time and energy to research.

In addition, NSERC normally contributes up to $90,000 per year to the university toward your salary. NSERC expects the university to fund a replacement for the McDonald fellow’s teaching and administrative responsibilities, as part of the McDonald Fellowship agreement. NSERC reduces the contribution to the university if the McDonald fellow already holds another federal award that has a salary component, such as a Canada Research Chair or an Industrial Research Chair.

The start date of the McDonald Fellowship should be between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, and the award is normally paid in two instalments of $125,000 per year.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

As this prize involves time release from teaching, interested candidates must seek approval from their School Director/Department Chair.  If approved, please notify your CRM/ADR and submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to by the internal deadline.

External Deadline

This is the anticipated deadline for the sponsor as program details are not yet released. Please also submit a copy of the application and your OR-5 to

How to Apply

You must obtain approval from your School Director/Department Chair in order to apply for the NSERC Arthur B. Fellowships. If your Chair agrees to your application, please notify your CRM/ADR of your interest.    The Vice-President (Research) will serve as nominator for those nominees recommended by the Honours and Awards Advisory Committee.  If you wish to be considered for VPR nomination, please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) by the internal deadline.

An Expression of Interest will include:

  • A draft letter (two-three pages) addressed to the VPR which outlines how you meet the criteria of the Fellowship;
  • An up-to-date CV (up to 10 pages); and
  • An email or letter from the School Director/Department Chair confirming support for the nomination.

For more information, please contact or visit the NSERC Prizes-Arthur B. McDonalds Fellowships website

Alert Classifications
Honours and Awards

Physical Sciences and Engineering