NSERC John C. Polanyi Award– Call for Nominations




John C. Polanyi Award

For More Information

Program Information


The NSERC John C. Polanyi Award was created in 2006 to recognize and support a university researcher or team of researchers whose work has led to a recent outstanding Canadian advance in the field of natural sciences or engineering. The award was established in tribute to the excellence in research that John C. Polanyi continues to exemplify. Dr. Polanyi won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. NSERC is proud to offer a prestigious research prize in his name.


Candidates may be nominated by any individual or group, however, the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.  Self-nominations will not be accepted.  At least one of the candidates must hold an NSERC research grant. Also the research that led to the advance described in the nomination must have been supported by NSERC. In the case of a team nomination, members may be from academia, government or industry, and may be research associates, postdoctoral fellows or students. An individual or team may be nominated for the John C. Polanyi Award and other major NSERC prizes in the same year, but can receive only one such prize in a given year.

The selection committee may recommend not to award the prize in a given year if there is no outstanding nomination.

Funding Availability

As part of the award, the winning individual or team will receive a research grant of up to $250,000. Research grant funds paid to the winner of this prize are subject to the Tri Agency Financial Administration Guide.


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

External Deadline

Nominators submit electronically via the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion Programs directly to NSERC. Nominations must be submitted in Portable Document Format (PDF) as a single document.  

How to Apply

The nomination package must include:

  • A letter of nomination signed by the nominator(s). The nomination letter must be no longer than three pages and must clearly describe the recent outstanding advance, outlining the nature of the advance, its significance and impact. The letter must also include a summary of the advance for public release;
  • A brief, one-paragraph description of the nominator including confirmation of Canadian citizenship or permanent resident of Canada status and background;
  • Up to four documents relating to the recent, outstanding advance that provide evidence of recognition by the scientific and engineering community. At least one of these must be a peer-reviewed article. The other documents may include proof of prizes received with their accompanying citations, testimonials attesting to the significance and impact of the advance, journal articles and reports;
  • The names and addresses (mail and email) of six Canadian and/or international researchers who, in the opinion of the nominators, could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the nomination. The majority of these proposed referees should be from outside Canada, and none should be in conflict of interest (see Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations). Applicants must not contact suggested external reviewers in advance. Please note that NSERC reserves the right to select all or none of the suggested referees;
  • An up-to-date NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100) or Canadian Common CV or an up-to-date CV in another format (maximum 10 pages) for each member of the team;
  • A brief letter from the team identifying one of the members as the spokesperson of the group. This spokesperson must be eligible to hold an NSERC grant and will be the contact person for NSERC on any matter related to the outcome of the competition (team nominations only);
  • Terms and Conditions Form for Nominees signed by each nominee; and
  • Terms and Conditions Form for Nominators signed by each nominator.
For Questions, please contact

NSERC John C. Polanyi Award
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1H5
Tel.: 613-943-7653
Fax: 613-947-3847
E-mail: polanyi@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Office of Research

Carolyn Osborn, Director, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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