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NSERC prizes - Herzberg

Call for nominations

Nomination deadline: April 1 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.

The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering will be awarded to an individual whose body of work, conducted in Canada in the natural sciences or engineering, has demonstrated persistent excellence and influence.

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.

Eligibility

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

As of the deadline, the nominee must be a scientist or engineer employed at a Canadian university, Canadian federal or provincial government lab or private firm active in Canada whose research is primarily based in the fields of the natural sciences and/or engineering. NSERC reserves the right to rule on the eligibility of nominees.

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

An individual may receive the NSERC Herzberg Medal only once. An individual may be nominated for the NSERC Herzberg Medal and other NSERC prizes (Brockhouse, Polanyi, McDonald, Synergy or Strickland) in the same year, but can only receive one prize in a given year.

Selection criteria and evaluation

The nominee's work must demonstrate a high degree of expertise, creativity, imagination, perseverance and dedication. Nominations will be reviewed on the basis of contributions to the areas of the natural sciences or engineering served by NSERC.

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

The nomination package must include

  1. a letter (four pages maximum; use the following points as headings) that clearly describes

    1. the nominee's achievements and how they relate to one or more of these categories:

      1. Contributions to knowledge

      2. Use of existing knowledge to develop novel solutions to practical problems

      3. Successful promotion or management of research activities

      4. Transfer of knowledge, communication of research to non-specialist audiences, and/or public outreach activities

      5. Training and mentoring of highly qualified personnel (HQP)—considering equity, diversity and inclusion in HQP training and mentoring is an asset

      6. Other appropriate contributions (refer to Contributions to research and their impact below for additional examples)

    2. the significance, benefit or impact of the nominee's achievements on society and industry

    3. the role of the nominee in bringing about the achievements

    4. the nominee’s most significant scientific and engineering contributions, by referring to the list included with the curriculum vitae (CV) (see item 2)

  2. the nominee's up-to-date NSERC personal data form (form 100) or This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV or an up-to-date CV in another format including detailed information about the achievements and contributions to research and training; the CV should contain relevant information over the entire career of the nominee

  3. the names and email addresses of six researchers at the forefront of the nominee's field, who, in the opinion of the nominators, could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the nominee's suitability for the award, 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/or international researchers; from a range of career stages; members of under-represented and marginalized 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

    3. A brief one-paragraph description of each person's background and the rationale for the person's suitability as a referee must be supplied

  4. a one-page demonstration of the nominee’s eligibility for this prize, addressing the items included under Eligibility

  5. a terms and conditions form for nominees signed by the nominee

  6. a terms and conditions form for nominators signed by each nominator

Contributions to research and their impact

As a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), NSERC recognizes that scholarly contributions are not limited to published journal articles but can also include, amongst other contributions, article preprints, datasets, software, protocols, well-trained researchers, societal outcomes and policy changes resulting from research. Some contributions that are often overlooked, such as communication and knowledge translation with the public, community service such as membership on committees, journal editorships and/or advisory boards, and work done by nominees to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the research ecosystem, are also important scholarly contributions.

Surrogate measures of quality and impact, such as the prestige of a publication venue or citation-based metrics (e.g., journal impact factor or h-index), must not be used as they introduce bias in the merit review process. Indicators of the impact of research contributions include influence on the direction of thought and/or activity of other researchers, in the specific field, in the discipline as a whole or in other disciplines, or beyond academia. Impact can be seen as advancing knowledge, developing technology, addressing socio-economic or environmental needs, or increases to equitable and inclusive participation in the research ecosystem, among other things. The relevance of such considerations may differ depending on the discipline and the nature of the research being conducted.

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

For nominations in engineering or the applied sciences, nominators should consult NSERC's Guidelines for the preparation and review of applications in engineering and the applied sciences and prepare the nominations accordingly.

Nominators are responsible for assembling 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 in comparison with those that meet the presentation standards. Only the 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 referees should also be updated to include new individuals.
Compile your documents into a single portable document format (PDF) and submit your nomination electronically via the ICSP Secure Submission Site.

The program collects self-identification data from all nominees. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This information increases NSERC’s capacity to monitor its progress on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in its programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI in the research enterprise. If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose “I prefer not to answer” for each question, but you are required to select a response for the questionnaire to be marked as complete.

Self-identification information is not part of the nomination and will be neither accessible to, nor shared with, external reviewers and/or selection committee members.

Signatures

Nominees

Before you, as a nominee, can submit your documents to the nominator, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions form for nominees. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

Nominators

Before you, as a nominator, can submit your documents to NSERC, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions form for nominators. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

Conditions and reporting

The NSERC Herzberg Medal recipient will be asked to confirm, by email or letter, acceptance of the prize and ability to use the full value of the accompanying research grant.

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

Announcement

The name of the recipient will be officially announced at a public ceremony.