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NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

Instructions to Referees – Form 140

Before Proceeding

Please read  Instructions to Referees on the Privacy Act, Confidentiality and the Use and Disclosure of Information.

Note: Your signature on the paper version of the review form, or transmission of your final evaluation to NSERC either by mail or by using the electronic evaluation process, means that you have read these instructions and that you consent to these uses and disclosures.

In addition, you may refer to:

Information on the following topics is provided below:

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Conflict of Interest

If you are in a conflict of interest or for any other reason unable to act as a referee, please contact us directly or send us an e-mail at as soon as possible. In order to identify yourself and the application(s) you are unable to review to NSERC, please indicate your Personal Identification Number and the application number in the SUBJECT line of the electronic message followed by your message.

Suggested referees should not be in a conflict of interest. Refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy of the Federal Research Funding Organizations for more information. In addition, referees (external reviewers) must sign the This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Agreement for Review Committee Members, External Reviewers, and Observers before they access the application material.

Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct must be treated separately from the peer review process. Should your review reveal concerns of possible misconduct, please report any allegation separately to the Research Ethics Coordinator. Your report should only address the application and selection criteria and make no mention of the misconduct concerns.

How to Evaluate the Nomination

The selection committee for this prestigious award is a multidisciplinary group of distinguished scientists and engineers and relies heavily on the opinions of external referees in reaching a final decision on each nominated individual or team. Therefore, when preparing your appraisal, please bear in mind that you are writing to non-specialists. The selection committee would greatly benefit from specific as well as general comments about the recent achievement(s) for which the individual or team is nominated.

The NSERC John C. Polanyi Award was created to recognize and support a university researcher or team of researchers whose work has led to a recent outstanding Canadian advance in a field of the natural sciences or engineering.

Nominations will include:

  1. A letter of nomination that describes the recent outstanding advance, outlining the nature of the advance, its significance and impact;
  2. A brief description of each nominator’s background;
  3. Up to four documents relating to the recent outstanding advance, that provide evidence of recognition by the scientific community; and
  4. The nominee’s up-to-date NSERC Personal Data Form (Form 100). If a team is being nominated, an up-to-date NSERC Form 100, for NSERC-eligible researchers and, if applicable, an up-to-date curriculum vitae for non-NSERC-eligible researchers.

In assessing the merits of the nomination, please comment on the following:

  • The breadth, significance, novelty, benefit or impact of the recent achievement(s) as related to the following categories (where applicable):
    • contribution to knowledge;
    • the use of existing knowledge to develop novel solutions to practical problems; and
    • other appropriate contributions.
  • The role of the nominated individual or team in bringing about the achievement(s).

Please note that stature of the candidates is not an evaluation criteria for this prize. The focus is rather on the significance and impact of the advance.