NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

The NSERC John C. Polanyi Award honours an individual or team whose Canadian-based research, conducted in Canada, has led to a recent outstanding advance of high significance and impact in the natural sciences or engineering. The research leading to the advance must have been funded at least partially by an NSERC grant. As part of the award, the winning individual or team will receive a research grant of up to $250,000. Note that the stature of the candidate(s) is not an evaluation criterion for this prize.

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.


  • nominators can be any individual or group of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • at least one of the candidates must hold an NSERC grant.
  • 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.

Nomination Process

Nominators should consult NSERC's Guidelines for the Preparation and Review of Applications in Engineering and the Applied Sciences.

The nomination consists of:

  • a letter of nomination (max 3 pages) describing the advance, its significance, and its impact. The letter must also include a summary of the advance for public release;
  • a one-paragraph description of the nominator’s background;
  • up to four documents relating to the advance that provide evidence of recognition by the scientific and engineering community - one must be a peer-reviewed article;
  • the names of six Canadian and/or international researchers who could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the nomination;
  • NSERC Personal Data Form 100 for NSERC-eligible researchers and, if a team is being nominated, an up-to-date CV for any non-NSERC-eligible researchers;
  • for teams, a letter from the team identifying one member as the group spokesperson
  • Terms and Conditions Form for Nominees signed by each nominee; and
  • Terms and Conditions Form for Nominators signed by each nominator.

*Please note:  NSERC is in the process of integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations into its evaluation criteria. Nominees and Nominators should refer to the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information.

Deadline and Submission

Nominations must be received by NSERC by March 1, 2020

Nominations are submitted using the online using the Secure Submissions for NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion Programs.


Interested parties are encouraged to consult with Julaine Hall (julaine.hall@uwo.ca) at Research Development & Services regarding this award and the nomination process.

website: http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Prizes-Prix/Polanyi-Polanyi/Nomination-Nomination_eng.asp