John Charles Polanyi Prizes

What are the John Charles Polanyi Prizes?

In honour of the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Ontario Government established a fund to provide up to five prizes annually to outstanding researchers who are in the early stages of their career and at Ontario universities. The prizes (tax-exempt) are valued at $20,000 each and are available in the areas broadly defined as Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Science.

For full information, including eligibility, application form and selection criteria, and notes for assessors, please visit the Council of Ontario Universities official John Charles Polanyi Prizes web page.

What is the application deadline?

Applicants wishing to receive endorsement from the University of Waterloo, must email a pdf of their application materials to Heidi Mussar in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) by December 1, 2020. A complete application is comprised of the following:

  • An application form completed by the applicant and found on the agency website;
  • The applicant’s CV;
  • A one-page summary of the applicant’s doctoral thesis;
  • A brief statement (max 2 pages) of the research to be taken during the period of the award. One additional page is allowed for diagrams and/or bibliography;
  • A non-technical summary (max 500 words) of the statement of research;
  • Confidential letters from four assessors*. At least two of the assessors must not have had any prior personal or professional association with the applicant (e.g., as a supervisor, a member of the applicant’s supervisory committee, or a co-author) and ideally are not affiliated with the same institution as the applicant.

*Reference letters must be emailed directly to Heidi Mussar by December 1, 2020. The letters should be on letterhead and must be signed. 

What is Waterloo’s administrative process?

  1. Applications will first be reviewed by the Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies who will determine which applications should be considered by the institutional selection committee for possible endorsement. A supporting letter from the Faculty Associate Dean will accompany each application package selected to go forward by the Faculty to the institutional committee. The letter should, among other things, clarify the nature of the position that the applicant will hold during the period of the prize, should they be successful. The deadline for Faculties to advise GSPA which applicants they wish to be considered by the selection committee is January 8, 2021.
  2. Depending on the number of application packages received by GSPA, an institutional level adjudication will occur to determine which applicants will receive institutional endorsement and go forward for agency review. Institutions are limited to submitting a maximum of three applications from each of the five areas of study (Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Science).

Questions regarding this competition at Waterloo can be directed to Heidi Mussar in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Updated September 22, 2020