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2017 John Charles Polanyi Prizes


Thursday, December 1, 2016 11:59 pm - Thursday, December 1, 2016 11:59 pm


See application details below.


In honour of the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Government of the Province of Ontario has established a fund to provide up to five prizes to outstanding researchers in the early stages of their career who are continuing to postdoctoral studies or have recently started a faculty appointment at an Ontario university.  One prize is available in each of the 5 areas broadly defined as: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Economic Science (the areas of the award are the same as the Nobel Prize areas).

The John Charles Polanyi Prize is a prestigious award and The University of Toronto is well represented on the list of prize winners.  It is our aim to remain successful in this competition and we continue to encourage graduate units to nominate their strongest, eligible candidates.

Read about the 2015 UofT Prize winner and past the UofT recipients of the 2014 Polanyi Prize and 2013 Polanyi Prize.

Applicant Deadline to IMS December 1, 2016
Value/Duration: $20,000
Level of Study: Postdoctoral or has faculty appointment
Required Legal Status: Ontario resident
Results: November 2017 by agency

Eligibility to Apply

  1. Any person who is planning to continue to postdoctoral studies (or has a faculty appointment) in a recognized Ontario university who meets the following criteria may apply for one of the prizes:
  2. is normally a resident in Ontario and has completed or is near completion of doctoral studies in any recognized university in the world, or has completed or is nearing completion of doctoral studies in an Ontario university; and
  3. has received the doctoral degree between September 1, 2013 and April 30, 2017, or if the doctoral degree has not yet been awarded, will have completed all the requirements for the doctoral degree by April 30, 2017. Applicants holding faculty appointments within these time limits may apply. (Note: Applicants who have been on parental leave between the time of completion of the doctorate and the time of application may have their period of eligibility extended by six months.)
  4. The prizes are awarded to recognize truly outstanding researchers and scholars for their work during their PhD program and/or in their post-doctoral research
  5. The Selection Committee reviews the record of research and publications as well as a description of planned research when it makes its decisions about the applicants to be awarded the Prizes. The Committee looks for the evidence from past research in very concrete terms and sees a plan for future research – both are considered but a good plan without a truly meritorious record of past achievement would not be recognized with a Polanyi Prize.
  6. The tax-exempt Prizes are awarded directly to recipients who have discretion over the use of the funding. The prizes may be held along with any other financial support or research funds received by the winners.
  7. It is hoped that the prizes will be conferred by September 2017.

Nomination/Application Process

All applicants must submit to their graduate unit or their supervisor’s affiliated graduate unit complete electronic copy of the following documents in a single PDF package by December 1, 2016:

  1. The completed application form – available from Council of Ontario Universities’ (COU) website: http://www.cou.on.ca/about/chairs-and-awards/john-charles-polanyi-prizes
  1. Curriculum vitae (no page restrictions), including information concerning the application. Updates to curriculum vitae will not be accepted after submission;
  2. A brief summary of the doctoral thesis (1 page max, to be written by the applicant);
  3. A statement of research (or writing) to be undertaken during the period of the award (maximum of 2 pages, plus an additional 1 page for diagrams, bibliography, etc., to be prepared by the applicant);
  4. A non-technical summary (maximum 500 words, to be written by the applicant) ;
  5. Confidential letters (on letterhead and signed) from four assessors (emailed directly to your unit’s graduate administrator before December 1, 2016).
  • Letters should focus on an evaluation of the applicant’s research (or writing) to date, and the research (or writing) being undertaken.
  • Assessors must read and comment on the statement of research (or writing) being submitted as part of the application.
  • Two of the assessors must not have been associated with the candidate as either a supervisor, or a member of the applicant’s supervisory committee, or a co-author and should preferably be from another university.

Note: Only those applications selected to receive the endorsement of the University will be forwarded to the COU accompanied by a letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies at the university at which the candidate will undertake the research supported by the award.