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NSERC prizes celebrate exceptional researchers in Canada

Top minds in science and engineering honoured at Rideau Hall

News release

May 1, 2018

May 1, 2018 – Ottawa. Canada will honour 20 of its world-leading scientists and engineers and five industry partners today for their outstanding contributions to international science and technology. By investing in these talented researchers, we will allow them to thrive in areas like brain research, computer simulation, high-performance radio hardware, and green energy.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will be joined by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in an award ceremony this evening paying tribute to these exceptional individuals.

The awards celebrate achievements in science, engineering, interdisciplinary research and successful partnerships between universities and industry. Individual prizes range from scholarships and fellowships that will enhance the career development of highly promising researchers, to prizes awarded for outstanding innovations and lifetime achievement.

This year’s winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, Canada’s most prestigious science prize, is Dr. Lewis Kay, a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Thanks to his advances, we are able to watch the behaviour of larger, more complex proteins as they interact at the cellular level. Dr. Kay’s breakthroughs give researchers powerful tools to examine the most fundamental components of life and set the stage for breakthrough discoveries.


“I applaud these award-winning researchers for their invaluable contributions to science, engineering and industry. Their hard work inspires young minds while advancing research in areas such as computer science, ocean protection and human health. We all stand to benefit from these groundbreaking projects and inventions that help place Canada at the forefront of scientific discovery.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“Each year, every year, NSERC bestows its highest honours on select individuals at different stages of their research careers. NSERC award winners have demonstrated their critical thinking and creativity to produce breakthrough findings in response to new but also timeless research questions. We are extremely pleased to valorize their accomplishments as NSERC marks its own achievements in service of Canada and Canadians over the past 40 years.”
– Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERC

“It is an honour to receive the NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal in recognition of my NMR spectroscopy research. With the support of my colleagues at the University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children, and the generosity of the Government of Canada, I’ve been able to attract a team of talented individuals to my lab. With this award, we’re going to continue to do what we do best: listen to what the molecules are trying to tell us.”
– Dr. Lewis Kay, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Toronto and Senior Scientist, the Hospital for Sick Children

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • Today’s ceremony celebrates the outstanding achievements of recipients who received six NSERC prizes totalling $3.72 million.
  • 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.
  • Budget 2018 is making a record-setting investment of nearly $4 billion in new support for science, so that Canadians can make the world-changing discoveries we can’t even yet imagine.
  • Budget 2018 committed $354.7 million for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) specifically, in order to continue building on Canada’s culture of scientific discovery and innovation.

Associated Links

Full list of NSERC prizes, this year’s winners and their profiles

NSERC 2020 Strategic Plan


Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science
Tel.: 613-404-2733

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

Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-2341

NSERC invests over $1.2 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 research and development and solve scale-up challenges.

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.

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