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2021 Killam Prizes

23 June 2021 @ 9:00 am

Please find below information regarding the 2021 Call for Nominations for the Killam Prizes which recognize scholars of exceptional ability who are engaged in research of broad significance and widespread interest. Further details are in the attached memo. 

This information should be circulated to faculty members to ensure their familiarity with the nomination process. All Research Offices and interested nominators/nominees should check for updated nomination forms and guidelines on the Canada Council’s website after April 30, when new materials are expected to be posted. 

Killam Prizes 

The Killam Prizes honour active, distinguished Canadian scholars who have been engaged in research in universities, hospitals, research or scientific institutes, or other similar institutions and are making a signification impact in their respective fields. Valued at $100,000 each, they are awarded annually on a competitive basis to distinguished Canadian scholars doing research in any of the following disciplines: 

  • humanities 
  • social sciences 
  • natural sciences 
  • health sciences 
  • engineering 

Normally, one prize is awarded each year in each of the five disciplines. 


Killam Prizes are intended for active (not retired) Canadian scholars who have made a substantial and distinguished contribution to scholarly research over a significant period of time. It is not intended as an “end of service” reward, as recognition for one great accomplishment, or in expectation of future distinguished contributions. 

Scholars may not apply for the Killam Prizes; they must be nominated by an expert in their field. 

Only Canadian citizens are eligible for this honour, and prizes are awarded only to living candidates. 

Applications from women and members of under-represented groups are particularly encouraged. 

Assessment of Nominations 

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. The Killam Selection Committee is selected with consideration to fair representation of various artistic and scholarly disciplines, gender, generations, Canada’s two official languages, Indigenous peoples, and the cultural and regional diversity of Canada. The Killam Selection Committee will choose the prize recipients by evaluating the nominations on their merit, compared with each other in a national context. The prizes will be offered to those candidates considered outstanding by the committee. 

The following points will figure prominently in the selection of the candidates being considered for the Killam Prize: 

  • the exceptional quality of the candidate’s research achievements; 
  • evidence of the candidate’s outstanding commitment, creativity and efforts to share research knowledge beyond the academic community; 
  • the enduring contribution of the candidate’s ideas and research results to Canadian society, including the nation’s intellectual and/or cultural life; 
  • the scope of the candidate’s research contributions, taking into account the norms of the field of study; and 
  • where appropriate, the international stature of the candidate. 


The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority artists, groups and organizations. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments. 

Nomination Process 

The Strategic and Institutional Research Initiatives (SIRI) unit will support nominations as requested. Nominees and nominators will work with the SIRI Specialist and Faculty-based research support personnel (as appropriate) to prepare the full nomination package for submission. As such, nominees are asked to notify the SIRI Awards and Nominations Specialist (see Contact below) as soon as possible of their intent to pursue a Killam Prize. 

SIRI will also arrange for a peer review of the draft nomination package utilizing support from University Canada’s Global Excellence Initiative. 

Anyone pursuing a nomination that will not be directly supported by SIRI is still asked to inform their Research Offices. 

Relevant Deadlines 

April 30 Faculties to request support for nominations 
May 19 Draft of materials due for external peer review 
June 23 Full nomination and signed ORS Checklist due to ORS 
June 30 Canada Council for the Arts deadline