Awards, prizes, and honors are a way to recognize excellence, service, collaboration and advancement at all levels within the Faculty of Science community. These prizes can be awarded by internal units (e.g. Faculty of Science; University of Calgary Killam Awards etc.) or externally supported by national or international organizations (Research honours and awards include distinctions such as the Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada; national and international prizes such as the Killam Prize and the Canada Gairdner International Award; and nomination-based research fellowships such as the Trudeau Fellowships and the Sloan Research Fellowships).
These honors are different from other funding opportunities such as grants. Grants are typically externally funded research or teaching projects/programs where the faculty member applies for a specific amount. Awards and prizes, on the other hand, may or may not be accompanied by a financial prize, and are not tied to a specific research project.
Honors and recognitions have enormous impact for the awardee, research, institution, and scientific community. Awards are an important way to recognize excellence, which can lead to further opportunities. As such, they can be seen as stepping-stones for career advances. Some awards provide funding which can be used towards advancing your work. Awards play a large role in promoting science, service, research, and pedagogy. Recognition can boost confidence, broaden connections, and increase research visibility and impact. In receiving recognition, the awardee is noted within their community, their work is introduced to and acknowledged by a wide audience.
Each competition will have different rules about self-nominations. Checking the competition guidelines is the best way to confirm if self-nominations are permissible. If you are unsure, please contact the Awards Specialist.
Should you wish to be nominated and self-nominations is not allowed, it is important to self-advocate and work with colleagues (and/or the Awards Specialist) to identify an eligible and appropriate nominator who will write letters of support/reference as well as champion the nomination.
- View our Deadline list. This table summarizes numerous awards which are pertinent to science. This is not exhaustive. For society or discipline specific awards please contact your departmental awards committees or the Awards Specialist who can help identify opportunities.
- Research Services – Prizes and Awards Calendar (sign in required). You can search this database for “science” to narrow the results. These postings include institutional deadlines.
Yes! As awards opportunities can lead to further opportunities it is important to start thinking about awards as early as possible. Consider departmental, faculty, and society awards first. Provincial and national organizations also offer fellowships, prizes and medals for early career researchers and instructors.
Don’t give up! There are many competitions which, for different reasons, require two or three attempts. Submitting applications for awards or asking to be nominated is a worthwhile task in and of itself. Developing a nomination package is an excellent way to reflect about skills and progress. It may highlight a gap (e.g., applying for a higher-level award requires a mid-tier award that you do not have yet) and presents the opportunity to address this gap. Approaching senior colleagues who can act as a champion and support as you seek to increase your visibility may help you expand your CV. Lastly, competing for awards also provides a great opportunity to receive useful feedback about your work and how it is perceived by awards committees. Ultimately, an unsuccessful nomination should not be the end of the process, instead they can be seen as opportunities to improve and perfect your application.
Before you begin, ensure you have a copy of the nominee’s CV as well as any other material which will provide insight into their work and excellence. It is also important to have a copy of the eligibility guidelines from the funder to ensure the letter responds to any criteria they have requested. In addition to that, a strong letter will:
- Provide concrete examples to support statements about the nominee’s excellence
- Ensure metrics are qualified for the discipline
- Include key recognitions and publications, along with why they are significant (e.g., impact on the field)
- Be jargon-free, complex concepts and terms are explained for non-experts
- Have a clear structure and organization
- Avoid bias (research clearly demonstrates how subtle and often-unconscious bias letters disadvantage underrepresented groups in academia):