Governor General’s Innovation Awards

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards are given to individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations or innovative activities are truly exceptional, transformative, and positive in their impact on the quality of life in Canada. They celebrate excellence in innovation across all sectors of Canadian society and inspire Canadians, particularly Canadian youth, to be entrepreneurial innovators. There are six awards given annually.

Awards are not intended for lifetime achievement or innovations that have not yet demonstrated impact. They recognize active, current projects and innovators with demonstrated impact.

What does “innovation” mean?

According to the Governor General’s Innovation Awards, increasing productivity through the creation of new products and services, improving public sector performance, and building an inclusive, compassionate society will be the keys to Canada’s success as a caring, efficient, and prosperous nation. Innovation can have a transformative, positive impact, regardless of whether it is in the private, public, or not-for-profit realms. The awards encompass all sectors of Canadian society.

Projects and initiatives in all academic disciplines qualify, including the social sciences and humanities. The key is that the initiative is transformative and has evidence of significant impact in Canada.

To view the full roster of past winners, visit the Governor General’s Innovation Award winners website.

Recent winning projects include:

  • AI technology for monitoring wound care patients
  • 3D printing software for the treatment of cancer
  • Distributed Acoustic Sensor (DAS), an ultra-sensitive and precise optical fiber-based technology installed in civil structures and capable of detecting dynamic stress and high and low frequency vibrations indicative of crack formation
  • Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, a collective of communities in NS with an approach to education that allows indigenous culture to thrive while meeting educational outcomes
  • A research team that integrates traditional Inuit knowledge and western science, leading to the creation of new routes for Arctic shipping that better protect culturally significant marine areas
  • An international collaboration of researchers (the International Tobacco Control Evaluation Project) based at the University of Waterloo who produce innovative research supporting effective tobacco control policies around the world

What is the nomination process?

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards solicit nominations through a network of organizations designated as nominating partners. The University of Guelph submits nominations through either the Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities (exclusive focus on social sciences and humanities) and/or Universities Canada. We are permitted to submit one application to each organization.

We request Expressions of Interest for this award, which are evaluated by the Honours and Awards Advisory Committee with support from the Research Innovation Office. Those selected to move forward will work with RSO to develop the nomination.

What is required in the nomination package?

The application form requires:

  • A 500-character summary of the nature, significance, and impact of the nominee’s innovation or innovative activities.
  • A 2000-character summary how the process leading to this innovation, its implementation and its developer inspire future innovators in Canada.
  • A 2000-character summary of how the innovators demonstrate leadership in their work (addressing initiative, collaboration, risk-taking, and problem solving in developing the innovation).
  • A 2000-character summary of the impact of the innovation, quantifying the impact whenever possible.

What are the deadlines?

The deadlines from the nominating partners are typically September and October. The internal deadline for Expressions of Interest is normally late spring/early summer.

For more information, contact

Honours and Awards Facilitator