Government of Canada celebrates natural sciences and engineering research excellence
Top prize awarded to researcher for her breakthrough work on the balance between human needs and wildlife conservation
October 25, 2022
Canada is home to a deep pool of exceptional scientists and engineers whose accomplishments range from innovative discoveries to lifetime achievements and influence in the science community. The Government of Canada is committed to celebrating and supporting these talented Canadians as they work to enhance the economic prosperity and well-being of Canadians.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Professor Alejandro Adem, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced this year’s recipients of NSERC prizes. Twenty-six of Canada’s world-leading scientists and engineers, and 28 of their industry partners, received NSERC prizes recognizing their exceptional work and contributions to research and training in a range of research fields. Their achievements include advancements in climate change science and plant response, major discoveries in the field of Artificial Intelligence for mobile robots, pioneering contributions in scalable quantum technology, and groundbreaking partnership work on energy storage solutions.
Pr. Lenore Fahrig was awarded Canada’s most prestigious science prize, the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, worth up to $1 million. Pr. Fahrig’s research and career have had transformative impacts for wildlife conservation the world over, inspiring a vast shift in perspective not just in how efforts should be focused, but also in how much impact relatively small actions can have on wildlife preservation. By demonstrating the greater benefit of small patches for species conservation, Pr. Fahrig is empowering communities and individuals to lead small-scale conservation efforts on their farmland, in local parks or in their own backyards with the knowledge that their energies are having a positive effect.
Dr. Kerry Rowe, a pioneer of geoenvironmental engineering, is the inaugural recipient of the NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research. Dr. Rowe has transformed the knowledge foundation of landfill barrier systems around the world. His research and experimentation identified new engineering criteria for landfill design that could prevent significant groundwater problems. This work has resulted in two commercialized computer-modelling tools, named POLLUTE and MIGRATE, that are widely used to guide the safe development of waste containment sites globally.
Dr. Tomislav Friščić is this year’s recipient of the John C. Polanyi Award in recognition of his outstanding advancements in the field of mechanochemistry. Solvents account for a significant proportion of waste in chemical-based industries and their elimination remains one of the holy grails of sustainable chemistry. An alternative methodology for clean, solvent-free chemical synthesis and manufacturing is taking hold thanks to Dr. Friščić. The work conducted and influenced by Dr. Friščić is poised to lead the ‘green’ revolution of chemical manufacturing, and his breakthroughs have revolutionized the field of mechanochemistry.
The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) team, composed of world leaders in cosmology, pulsars, high energy astrophysics and galactic emission, is awarded this year’s Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. Together, this powerful collaboration of experts has designed and built one of the most novel and extraordinarily powerful radio telescopes in the world.
NSERC also announced the six inaugural recipients of the Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships, which recognize early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering, and recognized outstanding examples of collaboration that stand as models of effective partnership between partner organizations and colleges or universities by awarding five Synergy Awards for Innovation.
- The exceptional researchers we honour today highlight the incredible talent that can be found in Canada’s research community. Congratulations to the recipients this year, whose incredible work will transform and positively impact the lives of Canadians and inspire the next generation of great Canadian scientists and engineers.
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
- The recipients of this year’s NSERC prizes are responsible for important scientific and technological breakthroughs, and act as role models within the research community and for future scientists and engineers. By celebrating their work, we recognize the invaluable contributions of the people behind the Canadian discoveries and innovations that will advance knowledge, enhance the well-being of Canadians and make the world a better place.
Professor Alejandro Adem, President of NSERC
- It is a huge thrill to receive the Herzberg Medal for my research on biodiversity and species conservation. I am very grateful for the support I have received for this work for more than 3 decades. I hope the award will throw a spotlight on our need to protect the nature that surrounds and sustains us.
Professor Lenore Fahrig, Professor of Biology, Carleton University
- Honouring the memory of Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal is the agency’s highest honour. It provides recipients with up to $1 million in discovery research funding over five years.
- Today’s ceremony celebrates the outstanding achievements of 26 recipients and 28 of their industry partners who received an NSERC Prize from one of the six award categories, with funding totaling up to $4.25 million.
- For the first time ever, NSERC is honouring Canada’s most recent science Nobel laureates by awarding prizes in their names that highlight Canadian research excellence. The prizes are the NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research and the Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships.
- NSERC-funded researchers are honoured every year for achievements that showcase the high caliber of talent and the innovative research taking place in Canadian universities and colleges.
Senior Manager, Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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