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NSERC prizes - Herzberg
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.

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.


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.

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

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 Guidelines on the assessment of contributions to research, training and mentoring 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 international researchers; 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
    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. 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)
  5. a terms and conditions form for nominees signed by the 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
  6. 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 NSERC Herzberg Medal recipient will be asked to confirm, by email, 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.

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.