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NSERC prizes – Synergy

Call for nominations

Nomination deadline: April 19, 2022, 8:00 p.m. (EDT)

The Synergy Awards for Innovation honour partnerships of strong, complementary and collaborative teams who have generated new knowledge and accelerated the application of research results to create benefits for Canada and Canadians. The award recognizes outstanding teams who have combined their expertise and resources to create partnerships resulting in significant impacts.

Synergy Awards for Innovation include two categories:

  • University partnerships: A partnership between an eligible Canadian university and one or more partner organizations. The highlighted research partnership must primarily focus on the natural sciences or engineering.
  • College partnerships: A partnership between an eligible Canadian college and one or more partner organizations. The highlighted research partnership can be across the spectrum of natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities, or health.

Synergy Awards are an opportunity to showcase what Canadian ingenuity and collaboration can accomplish.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

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 and is aligned with the objectives of the Tri-agency EDI Action Plan.

Eligibility

For university partnerships:

The nominated partnership must be for research in the natural sciences or engineering. It must have also been supported, in whole or in part, by at least one NSERC Research Partnerships grant, i.e., Engage, Collaborative Research and Development, Strategic Partnerships (Projects or Networks), Industrial Research Chair, Idea to Innovation, Alliance or Calls for Collaborative Research Projects.

In addition, the partnership must be between a Canadian university professor or group of professors, and one or more partnering organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. One member of the academic team must be designated as the nominee and all others, as applicable, as co-nominees. All academic team members must meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria for faculty (at the time of the nomination). Partnering organizations must be recognized for cost-sharing based on the guidelines established for Alliance grants. Refer to the Role of partner organizations for more details. Partnering organization(s) must also be at arm’s length from the nominee, co-nominee(s), and academic institution(s). Refer to the Conflict of interest guidelines for partner organizations for more details.

For college partnerships:

The nominated partnership must be between an eligible Canadian college and one or more partnering organizations from the private, public or not-for-profit sectors who have implemented research results from a previous College and Community Innovation (CCI) grant. Partnerships falling under the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities, or health research disciplines are eligible. The leader of the research project at the college (researcher, faculty member or administrator, as applicable) must be designated as the nominee and all other college research team members (researcher or faculty member, as applicable) as co-nominees. Partnering organization(s) must also be at arm’s length from the nominee, co-nominee(s), and academic institution(s). Refer to the Conflict of interest guidelines for partner organizations for more details.

An individual (nominee or co-nominee) may be nominated for the Synergy Awards for Innovation and other NSERC prizes (Herzberg, Polanyi, McDonald, Brockhouse or Strickland) in the same year, but can only win one prize in a given year. There is no limit to the number of nominations for the Synergy Awards for Innovation that a university or college can put forward in a given competition.

How to prepare a nomination

Partnerships may be nominated by any individual or group; however, the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Self-nominations (either by a nominee, co-nominee or one of the partnering organizations) will not be accepted.

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

Since nominations are reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee, the nomination material should be written for non-specialists.

The nomination package must include the following*:

  1. The Synergy Awards for Innovation form, completed and signed by the nominator (electronic signature accepted).

  2. The Terms and conditions form for nominees, completed and signed.

    1. For universities, it must be signed by the nominee and each co-nominee, if applicable (academic researchers only, one form per person).

    2. For colleges, it must be signed by the nominee only.

  3. The Terms and conditions form for nominators, completed and signed by the nominator.

    Note: For a college, the nominator cannot be the college’s research grants officer.

  4. A letter of nomination (max. one page), signed by the nominator. The letter should describe why the proposed partnership is being nominated for a Synergy Award for Innovation.

  5. The Nomination template. See the template for instructions.

  6. Letter(s) from the partnering organization(s) (max. two pages per letter). If there is more than one partner, all letters combined must not exceed 20 pages. The letter(s) must be signed by the most relevant person designated as their authorized contact person. Letters must not duplicate the exact same information that is contained in the nomination and should describe

    1. how and why the partner organization was involved

    2. the resources (human, equipment, facilities, etc.) provided

    3. how the organization benefited from the outcomes of the partnership

  7. A concise profile for each partnering organization (max. one page each) that contains a description of the organization, its mandate and the nature of its operations in Canada. A reference to the partner organization’s website is not acceptable in lieu of the profile.

*You may use this checklist to ensure the nomination package is complete.

Nominators are responsible for assembling the required documentation, which must adhere to the General presentation guidelines. Documents must be assembled in a single portable document format (PDF) in the order outlined above. 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 requested documents will be made available to the selection committee; any additional material will be removed.

Nominations must be submitted electronically via the Secure Submission for NSERC’s Synergy Awards for Innovation site before 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on the deadline date. Only submit a single PDF document (do not upload PDF portfolios). Late nominations will not be accepted. Once you have submitted your nomination, you will not be able to update it.

Collection of self-identification data

The collection of self-identification data is a central piece of the agencies' commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds and is important for monitoring the fairness of our programs and informing future measures to increase EDI among all those involved in the research enterprise. The questionnaire covers eight dimensions: age, gender identity, sexual orientation, Indigenous identity, visible minority identity, population group, disability and language. Completion of the questionnaire is mandatory, however, each question includes the option “I prefer not to answer.” Self-identification data will not be seen or used by NSERC peer reviewers, and choosing to self-identify has no bearing on the outcome of the nomination. A link to the questionnaire will be sent to nominees and co-nominees once the nomination package has been received.

Review of your nomination

All eligible nominations will be reviewed by a selection committee of distinguished academic, government, not-for-profit and industry research representatives from a variety of disciplines. Committee members are selected according to NSERC’s Guidelines governing membership of selection committees

The selection committee will review your nomination, using merit indicators to rate each of the following evaluation criteria, and will recommend the winning partnerships to NSERC.

1. Partnership (30%):

    • Significance of the involvement from the partner organization(s) throughout the partnership (30%)

2. Impact and outcomes (70%):

    • Significance of the social, environmental and/or economic impact and outcomes realized in Canada, and internationally if applicable (35%)
    • Significance of the impact and benefits to the partner organization(s) (20%)
    • Quality of the training environment and enriched learning experiences for research trainees that led to the development of advanced research, technical and/or professional skills (15%)

The names of the award recipients will be announced at a public ceremony.

Reporting

Each year, and for the duration of the award, the principal nominee will be asked to report on the impact of their award.

Signatures

Nominees/co-nominees

Before you, as a nominee (or co-nominee if in a university), 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.

By signing and submitting a support letter, the authorized individual certifies that the organization