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NSERC prizes - Brockhouse

Call for nominations

Nomination deadline: November 28 before 8 p.m. (ET). If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, your nomination must reach NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) the following working day.

NSERC is seeking nominations of research teams for the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. This prize recognizes highly collaborative Canadian teams of researchers from different disciplines who have combined their expertise to produce achievements of outstanding significance in the natural sciences and engineering.

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.


Candidates may be nominated by any individual or group. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Current NSERC Council members are not eligible for nomination.

NSERC strongly encourages nominators and university officials to consider equity, diversity and inclusion in their nomination processes.

Research teams nominated for the Brockhouse Canada Prize must have at least two members who are independent researchers, one of whom must hold an NSERC research grant. The team can be part of an international effort, but the majority of the nominated team members must be employed at a Canadian university or public or private organization. NSERC recognizes that teams may change between the time of the specific research achievements and the time of nomination. Nominations will be accepted when changes have occurred, but only where the core of the team remains intact. Contributions must be primarily in the natural sciences and engineering, and of an interdisciplinary and collaborative nature (consult NSERC's Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in interdisciplinary research for a definition of interdisciplinary research). NSERC reserves the right to rule on the eligibility of nominations.

A team may be nominated for the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize and other NSERC prizes (Herzberg, Polanyi, McDonald, Synergy or Strickland) in the same year but can only receive one prize in a given year. Nominees may not receive more than one of the following prizes for the same achievement: Brockhouse, Polanyi or Strickland.

Selection criteria and evaluation

Nominations will be reviewed on the basis of contributions to the areas of the natural sciences or engineering supported by NSERC, according to the following selection criteria:

  • Significance, novelty and impact of the achievements
  • Quality of the contribution to the training and mentoring of highly qualified personnel in a collaborative and interdisciplinary setting, including consideration of equity, diversity and inclusion in their training and mentoring
  • Excellence of the interdisciplinary team, including the complementarities of the members' expertise

NSERC recognizes that the entire research ecosystem is strengthened by equitable, diverse and inclusive access and participation. In support of its ongoing commitment to cultural and systemic change in Canadian research, NSERC has updated and improved guidelines concerning contributions to research and training. The intended outcomes of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan and recommendations from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) inform these changes. NSERC’s revised Guidelines on the assessment of contributions to research, training and mentoring diversify the principles and considerations regarding contributions and assessing their quality and impact.

Engineering and applied sciences research may differ significantly from natural sciences research because it is more focused on the direct application of knowledge for practical purposes, including economic, environmental, or social impact. The forms of contributions to research and the indicators of quality and impact recognize the diversity of natural sciences and engineering (NSE) research.

The nominator should clearly describe the quality and impact of contributions within this larger context for the multidisciplinary selection committee members.

A diverse selection committee of academic, government and industry research representatives from a variety of disciplines will review the nominations and recommend the successful candidates to NSERC. Members are selected according to NSERC’s Guidelines governing membership of selection committees. Since the selection committee is multidisciplinary, the nomination material should be written for non-specialists.

The committee may recommend not to award the prize in a given year if there is no outstanding nomination.

Nomination process

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the prize, nominators should consult NSERC's Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in interdisciplinary research when preparing the nomination package.

The nomination package must include

  1. a letter of nomination signed by the nominator(s) – it must be no longer than four pages and include a title describing the research achievement(s). Use the following points as headings:
    1. the team’s achievements built on
      1. contributions to research, highlighting their significance, novelty and impact; contributions may include advancing knowledge, using existing knowledge to develop novel solutions to practical problems, transferring knowledge, communicating research to non-specialist audiences and engaging in public outreach activities, among other things (refer to Guidelines on the assessment of contributions to research, training and mentoring for additional examples)
      2. contributions to the training and mentoring of highly qualified personnel in a collaborative, interdisciplinary setting, emphasizing their impact, extent and importance; also describe the co-supervision provided by the various members of the team, and how equity, diversity and inclusion were considered in the training and mentoring of highly qualified personnel
        Note: The achievements must have been made jointly by the members of the nominated team and not realized before joining the team, or as individual researchers separate from the team's activities.
    2. the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the team and its achievements, including the complementarities of expertise between members of the group; the interdisciplinary nature of the team must be clearly defined, particularly in cases where it may not be immediately obvious—if the interdisciplinary nature of a team is not evident, the nomination may be ruled ineligible
  2. a description of the team's five most important joint contributions; provide bibliographic information where relevant (maximum one page).
  3. the names and email addresses of six researchers who, in the opinion of the nominators, could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the nomination, and who are not in conflict of interest (see This link will take you to another Web site Conflict of interest and confidentiality policy of the federal research funding organizations)
    1. NSERC strongly recommends that nominators suggest a cross-section of reviewers with expertise in the nominee’s area of research (i.e., Canadian and international researchers; from established and early-career stages; members of under-represented groups, including women; researchers at a variety of academic and non-academic institutions)
    2. Nominees must not contact suggested external reviewers in advance; please note that NSERC reserves the right to select all or none of the suggested reviewers
  4. a brief letter from the team identifying one of the members as the spokesperson of the group; this spokesperson must be eligible to hold an NSERC grant and will be the contact person for NSERC on any matter related to the outcome of the competition (refer to NSERC's Eligibility requirements for faculty to apply for or hold grant funds)
  5. identification of any eligible leaves of absence (optional one-page) in consultation with NSERC’s Interruptions in research, training and mentoring webpage. In the case of medical leave, it is not necessary to explain the illness or the treatment but rather its impact on your research activity. Please:
    1. provide the duration of the circumstances
    2. include the impact of the interruption(s)
  6. a terms and conditions form for nominees signed by each nominee (do not use the encrypted digital signature function) – it is the nominee’s responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for their records
  7. a terms and conditions form for nominators signed by each nominator (do not use the encrypted digital signature function) – it is the nominator’s responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for their records

Submitting a nomination

Nominators are responsible for preparing the required documentation, which must adhere to NSERC’s General presentation guidelines. Documents that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or at a disadvantage compared to those that meet the standards. Note that hyperlinked material will not be considered as part of the review process. Compile your documents into a single portable document format (PDF) and submit your nomination electronically via the ICSP This link will take you to another Web site Secure Submission site. Only documents requested by NSERC will be made available to the selection committee.

For re-nominations, nominators are asked to submit a complete and updated nomination package. The list of suggested reviewers should also be updated to include new individuals.

Nominations must be submitted before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. Late nominations will not be accepted. Once submitted, nominations cannot be updated.

In January, nominees will receive a system-generated email from NSERC with instructions to complete a This link will take you to another Web site self-identification questionnaire. The program collects and uses disaggregated self-identification data from all nominees to monitor levels of diversity and its policies and processes for potential systemic barriers. Although completing the questionnaire is required before peer review, each question is optional by selecting “I prefer not to answer”, and no self-identification data are seen or used by NSERC peer reviewers.

Conditions and reporting

The spokesperson will be asked to confirm, by email, their team’s acceptance of the award and ability to use the full value of the accompanying research grant.

The team will be asked to report on the impact that the award has had on its research activities.

Notification of results

NSERC will electronically inform all nominees of the results of the annual competition by the end of June and publicly announce the names of the award recipients in the fall.