Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

NSERC prizes - Herzberg

Call for nominations

Nomination deadline: April 1, 2021, 8 p.m. (ET)

The Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering will be awarded for both the sustained excellence and overall influence of a body of work conducted in Canada in the natural sciences or 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; however, the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. 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 win 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 win one prize in a given year.

Selection criteria and evaluation

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

A selection committee of distinguished 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

Nominations must include

  1. a brief one-paragraph description of the nominator including confirmation of Canadian citizenship or permanent resident of Canada status and background
  2. a letter or document of up to four pages 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. Leadership in the 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
    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 3)
  3. 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 contributions and achievements described in the above categories (e.g., lists of works published and HQP trained); the CV should contain relevant information over the entire career of the nominee
  4. the names and addresses (mail and email) of the six most influential Canadian or international researchers in the nominee's field from whom NSERC may request objective assessments of the nominee's suitability for the award; the majority of these proposed referees should be from outside Canada, and none should be 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 nominees suggest a cross-section of reviewers with expertise in their area of research (i.e., from early career to established researchers, including women and other under-represented groups, researchers at a variety of academic and non-academic institutions)
    2. Applicants must not contact suggested external reviewers in advance; please note that NSERC reserves the right to select all or none of the suggested referees
    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
  5. a terms and conditions form for nominees signed by the nominee
  6. a terms and conditions form for nominators signed by each nominator

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.

The nominators are responsible for assembling the required documentation, which must adhere to the 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.

Nominations must be submitted electronically via NSERC’s Innovative Collaborations and Science Promotion (ICSP) Programs Secure Submissions Site. Documents must be submitted in portable document format (PDF) as a single document.

The program collects self-identification data from all nominees. Self-identification data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This data is important for monitoring the fairness of our programs and informing future measures to increase equity, diversity and inclusion among all those involved in the research enterprise. The questionnaire covers age, gender, Indigenous identity and/or identity as a member of a visible minority group and/or as a person with a disability. Completion of the questionnaire is mandatory, but each question includes the option “prefer not to answer.” Self-identification data will not be seen or used by NSERC peer reviewers.



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.


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 winner 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 winning individual will be asked to report on the impact that the award has had on their research activities.


The name of the winner will be officially announced at a public ceremony in 2022.