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Canada’s top scientists and engineers to be honoured at Rideau Hall

Governor General and Minister of Science to honour Canada’s premier researchers, including the 2017 Gerhard Herzberg award winner

News release

February 7, 2017

February 7, 2017 – Ottawa. Twenty of Canada’s top researchers and engineers will be honoured tonight for their longstanding commitment to making discoveries and innovations that can be found in virtually every aspect of society, from the slim batteries that power our smartphones to sensor technology that can detect easily preventable diseases. The Government of Canada is proud of their remarkable achievements in science and their ongoing contributions to society that support a strong middle class and those working hard to join it.

Tonight at Rideau Hall, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will be joined by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in an award ceremony celebrating 20 of the nation’s top researchers. One of them is Dr. Jeff Dahn, this year’s winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada’s most prestigious science prize.

Dr. Dahn, a Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries at Dalhousie University, is a pioneer of lithium-ion battery technology. The work accomplished by his lab has helped lead to longer-lasting batteries for mobile devices, power tools, grid energy storage and electric vehicles that are now part of our everyday lives.

See full list award winners.


“It is an honour to recognize the incredible accomplishments of these distinguished research leaders, whose groundbreaking discoveries and innovations act as a symbol of Canada’s commitment to science and its scientists. The breakthroughs made by the researchers we celebrate tonight have had a tremendous impact on the world today, and their future discoveries are bound to support a stronger, vibrant middle class.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“The researchers and their partners who we are honouring offer excellent examples of successful discovery research and innovation. Their breakthrough successes have been the result of bold, ambitious research programs backed by hard work and creativity. They are beacons to their peers and to the new generation of student researchers they are training.”
– Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERC

“I’m honoured to receive the Herzberg Medal for work done by my research team during the last 35 years. I acknowledge the generous support of partners including NSERC, 3M Canada, Dalhousie and now Tesla, which has made our work possible. Combining fundamental and applied science has been a trademark throughout my career. I will use the Herzberg award to help perpetuate excellence in battery research at Dalhousie University long after my own retirement.”
– Dr. Jeff Dahn, NSERC/Tesla Canada Inc. Industrial Research Chair, Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries, Professor of Physics and Professor of Chemistry, Dalhousie University

Quick Facts

  • Today’s ceremony celebrates the outstanding achievements of recipients who received six NSERC prizes totalling $3.72 million.
  • Honouring the memory of Canadian Nobel laureate Gerhard Herzberg, the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal is the agency’s highest honour. It provides recipients with $1 million in discovery research funding over five years.
  • 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.

Associated Links

Winner profiles and videos

NSERC 2020 Strategic Plan


Stefanie Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science
Tel.: 343-291-2600

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada
Tel.: 343-291-1777

Martin Leroux
Senior Communications Advisor
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-943-7618

NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries – valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Prize Recipients

Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering
Jeff Dahn Dalhousie University

NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

Sylvain Moineau Université Laval
Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering

André Longtin

University of Ottawa
Leonard Maler University of Ottawa

NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prizes for Interdisciplinary Research

Amir Abdi

The University of British Columbia
Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher   University of Toronto

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships

Tomislav Friščić McGill University
Elizabeth Gillies Western University
Darren Grant University of Alberta
Christian Landry Université Laval
Raquel Urtasun University of Toronto
Thilo Womelsdorf York University

Synergy Awards for Innovation

Category 1: Small- and Medium-sized Companies
Guy Dumont The University of British Columbia
Industrial partner: Lionsgate Technologies

Category 2: Large Companies

Laurent Drissen Université Laval
Industrial partner: ABB Inc.

Category 3: Two or More Companies

Zhangxing (John) Chen University of Calgary
Industrial partners: Brion Energy Corporation
  Computer Modelling Group
  Foundation CMG
  IBM Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies
  IBM Canada Ltd.
  IBM Research
  Nexen Energy ULC
  Suncor Energy

Category 4: Colleges

Maroun Massabki Optech CCTT, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Marc-André Blais Optech CCTT, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Richard Lang Optech CCTT, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Erick Jarry Optech CCTT, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Patrick Orsini Optech CCTT, Cégep André-Laurendeau
Industrial partner: Dental Wings

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