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The NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research

Nomination Process

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.

How to prepare a nomination

Eligible candidates may be nominated by any individual or group; however, the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

When assembling a team nomination, include individuals who participated in both the research and the knowledge mobilization (synthesis, dissemination, transfer, exchange and co-creation or co-production).

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.

As a nominator, you must prepare the following materials:

1. a letter of nomination signed by the nominator(s)—it must be no longer than four pages, and should contain

  1. a description of the research that has led to the exceptional benefits outlined in this nomination
  2. a summary of the impact the research has had within its field
  3. a description of the strategy for knowledge mobilization
    • include information about the challenge and the approach taken to involve the appropriate users or beneficiaries in the research and/or knowledge mobilization activities
    • provide supporting documentation in 4, below
  4. a summary of the significance of the benefits to Canadian society
    • significance is defined as the interaction between the magnitude of benefits and the extent or range of the benefits; the benefits must be demonstrated and realized
    • supporting documentation should be provided in 4, below
  5. an explanation of the ways in which the benefits described are underpinned by the research outlined in this nomination (“underpinned by” means that the research made a specific, demonstrable and essential contribution to the benefits taking place, such that the benefits would not have occurred or would have been significantly reduced without the contribution of that research)

2. a description of each nominee’s involvement in the research and/or knowledge mobilization (maximum 250 words per nominee)

3. a description of each nominator (maximum 150 words per nominator) including confirmation of Canadian citizenship or permanent resident of Canada status

4. up to four documents, totaling no more than 10 pages, providing evidence of

  1. knowledge mobilization (e.g., creating and distributing tool kits, infographics, fact sheets or plain-language reports in consultation or collaboration with users and/or beneficiaries; holding workshops, conferences or meetings with stakeholders, users and/or beneficiaries)
  2. societal impact (e.g., letters of impact, case studies)—these documents should contain information about
    • the number, distribution and characteristics of individuals benefiting (e.g., from specific marginalized or disadvantaged groups)
    • the realized benefits

5. the names, organizational affiliations and email addresses of six individuals who, in your opinion, could be approached by NSERC to conduct an impartial review of the nomination

  1. reviewers should be able to address the area of research and/or knowledge mobilization and/or societal impact, and should not 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)
    • indicate which selection criterion or combination of criteria these referees are most suited to evaluate
  2. nominators should suggest a cross-section of reviewers (e.g., Canadian and/or international; from a range of career stages; from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups; at a variety of academic and non-academic settings)
  3. nominees must not contact suggested reviewers in advance
  4. NSERC reserves the right to select all or none of the suggested reviewers

6. an 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 (maximum 10 pages) for each nominee

7. for team nominations only, a brief letter from the team identifying one of the members as the spokesperson; this individual must be eligible to hold an NSERC grant and will be the contact person for NSERC on any matter related to the outcome of the competition

8. a Terms and conditions form for nominees signed by each nominee

9. 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 nomination accordingly.

Your documents must follow NSERC’s General presentation guidelines. Documents that do not meet the presentation standards may be rejected or be at a disadvantage compared with those that meet the standards. Only the documents requested by NSERC will be given to the selection committee.

Compile your documents into a single document in portable document format (PDF). Submit your nomination electronically via Secure submissions for NSERC’s innovative collaborations and science promotion programs.

You must submit your nomination before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on the deadline date. Late nominations will not be accepted. Once you have submitted your nomination, you will not be able to update it.

The program collects self-identification data from all nominees. Self-identification data provide information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. These data are 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.

Review of your nomination

All eligible nominations will be reviewed by a selection committee of distinguished academic, government and industry research representatives from a variety of disciplines. Committee members are selected according to NSERC’s Guidelines governing membership of selection committees.   

The committee will review your nomination according to the following selection criteria:

Research (30%): impact of the research within its field
Knowledge mobilization (20%): involvement of the nominee(s) in the mobilization of research knowledge, resulting in the benefits described in the nomination
Societal impact (50%): significance of the benefits to Canadian society

The selection committee will recommend the successful candidates to NSERC. The committee may recommend not to award the prize in a given year if there is no outstanding nomination.