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NSERC has updated the E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowships to promote equity, diversity and inclusion. Key changes include:

  • New eligibility and selection criteria
  • Change to the nomination process
  • Updated nomination materials
  • Requirement for institutions to report how nominees were identified and selected


Early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering

How much?

$250,000 total

How long?

Two years

Application deadline

June 7, 2020

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships1 recognize early-stage academic researchers in the natural sciences and engineering and support them to enhance their research capacity, so that they can become leaders in their field and inspire others. NSERC awards up to six Steacie Fellowships each year. Steacie Fellowships honour the memory of Dr. Edgar William Richard Steacie.

Dr. Steacie was born in Montréal on Christmas Day in 1900 and received his early education there. Following a year at the Royal Military College in Kingston, he studied chemical engineering at McGill University and received his B.Sc. degree in 1923. He then enrolled in the graduate school to work in physical chemistry. Having achieved his Ph.D. in 1926, he continued as a lecturer at McGill and, shortly after, started the research in chemical kinetics that became his lifelong major scientific interest. In 1939, he joined the National Research Council (NRC) as Director of the Division of Chemistry.

For a period during World War II, Dr. Steacie was second-in-command to Sir John Cockcroft at the British-Canadian Atomic Energy Project in Montréal, in addition to being Director of NRC's Chemistry Division. After the war, he resumed his research and quickly established his laboratory as one of the leading centres in the world for the study of chemical kinetics. It was at this time that he devised the imaginative program of NRC postdoctoral fellowships which contributed so greatly to the vitality of the NRC laboratories. In 1950, Dr. Steacie became Vice-President (Scientific) of the National Research Council and, in 1952, its President. His role as President of the National Research Council brought increasing involvement in the international aspects of science and culminated, in 1961, in his election as President of the International Council of Scientific Unions.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Steacie received numerous honours, including honorary degrees from many universities in Canada and abroad. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, a Foreign Member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. and an Honorary Fellow of the Polish Chemical Society and the Belgian Chemical Society. He also served terms as President of the Royal Society of Canada, the Chemical Institute of Canada and the Faraday Society.

Dr. Steacie believed that young researchers are a great national asset and should be given every opportunity to develop their own ideas. He nurtured Canadian talent and drew many promising scientists to Canada through his philosophy that:

  • fundamental research is essential to the development of science
  • the individual is key to research, and individual ideas are ultimately responsible for important advances in science
  • there are no national boundaries in science
  • complete freedom is required for creative work

Who can apply?

If you are an early-stage academic researcher, meaning that you have held an independent academic position for 10 years or less as of June 1 of the year of the competition and currently hold a grant from NSERC, you can prepare a nomination for this award.

An independent academic position is a position that:

  • is a university faculty appointment (tenured or non-tenured);
  • requires that the researcher engages in research that is not under the direction of another individual;
  • authorizes the researcher to supervise or co-supervise the research of students registered in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, or postdoctoral fellows.

A candidate submitting a nomination in June 2020 would have been hired on or after June 1, 2010. The 10-year eligibility window is adjusted to take into account eligible delays in research or periods of inactivity (for example, due to parental leave, bereavement or illness). For example, a candidate submitting a nomination in June 2020 who took a seven-month parental leave after starting their appointment must have been hired on or after November 1, 2009, in order to be eligible. You must identify any such periods in the Delays in Research Activity section of your Personal Data Form (Form 100), and the impacts of the research delay should be clearly and fully described.

NSERC reserves the right to rule on the eligibility of nominees.

Research topics

Your research must be primarily in the fields of the natural sciences and/or engineering.

Funding for Steacie fellows

If your nomination is successful, you will receive a research grant of $250,000 over two years, held at a Canadian university or affiliated research institution. You will also be relieved from teaching and administrative duties so that you can devote your time and energy to research.

In addition, NSERC normally contributes up to $90,000 per year to the university toward your salary. NSERC expects the university to fund a replacement for the Steacie fellow’s teaching and administrative responsibilities, as part of the Steacie Fellowship agreement. NSERC reduces the contribution to the university if the Steacie fellow already holds another federal award that has a salary component, such as a Canada Research Chair or an Industrial Research Chair.

The start date of the Steacie Fellowship should be between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, and the award is normally paid in two instalments of $125,000 per year.

1Note: Another distinct but similar prize of the same name is administered by the This link will take you to another Web site E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fund, a private foundation dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering in Canada.