To honour the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in
Chemistry, the Ontario Government established a fund to provide John Charles Polanyi Prizes
annually to up to five outstanding researchers or scholars who are in the early stages of their
careers and at Ontario universities. The prizes, each of which is currently valued at $20,000, will
be conferred in the fall of 2018. They are available in the areas of Physics, Chemistry,
Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Science, broadly defined.
To be eligible for an award, an applicant must:
1. be normally resident in Ontario;
2. have received their doctoral degree from any recognized university in the world on or after
September 1, 2014, or, if the doctoral degree has not yet been awarded, be confident that
they will have completed all degree requirements by April 30, 2018 (an applicant who was
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);
3. either be planning to continue to post-doctoral studies, or hold a faculty appointment, in a
recognized publicly assisted university in Ontario.
Enquiries about these criteria may be directed to
Notes for Applicants
Application forms (in English and French) are available at
. A complete application requires:
an application form completed by the applicant;
the applicant’s curriculum vitae (updates to which will not be accepted after submission);
a one-page summary of the applicant’s doctoral thesis, written by the applicant;
a brief statement of the research or scholarship to be undertaken during the period of the
award, prepared by the applicant and not to exceed two pages (one additional page is
allowed for diagrams, bibliography, etc.);
a non-technical summary of the statement of research or scholarship, written by the
confidential letters from four assessors; at least two of the assessors must not have had any
member of the applicant’s supervisory committee) and ideally are not at a university at which
the applicant is, or has been, a student or an employee.
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the Dean of Graduate Studies of the sponsoring university (i.e., the university at which the
applicant proposes to undertake the research supported by the award) by December 1, 2017,
by which date the applicant must ensure that the remainder of the application package is
submitted to the Dean of the applicant’s sponsoring university, also in electronic format.
Notes for Assessors
An assessor’s letter should provide an evaluation of the applicant’s research or scholarship to
date and the research or scholarship to be undertaken. In particular, the assessor should
explain why the research is worthy of a John Charles Polanyi Prize, paying particular attention
to the selection criteria outlined below.
Each assessor’s letter should be sent electronically to the Dean of Graduate Studies of the
sponsoring university (i.e., not via the applicant) no later than December 1, 2017.
John Charles Polanyi prizes recognize truly outstanding researchers and scholars for their work
during their doctoral program and, where relevant, in their research and scholarship after
doctoral study. The Selection Committee, when it makes its decisions about the applicants to be
awarded the prizes, reviews both the record of research and publications and the description of
planned research; neither, alone, is sufficient for recognition with a Polanyi Prize.
The sponsoring university’s Dean of Graduate Studies must submit all applications electronically
by an electronic copy of a signed letter from the Dean that, among other things, clarifies the
nature of the position the applicant will hold during the period of the prize.
No more than three applications from each of the five areas of study covered by the John
Polanyi Prizes (Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Science)
may be submitted by any one sponsoring university; it is therefore expected that every
application will be reviewed by the university before a decision is made on which applications to
The ten members of the Selection Committee, all of them highly respected academics from
Ontario’s universities, are nominated by the universities’ Deans of Graduate Studies, and
selected by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. Two members of the committee come
from each of the five areas of study covered by the John Polanyi Prizes (Physics, Chemistry,
Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Science).
The prizes, which are tax-exempt, are to be spent solely at the discretion of the recipients and
may be held in conjunction with other salary and research funding support.
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Send an email to
, or call 416-979-2165, extension 235, if you wish
to enquire about any aspect of the John Charles Polanyi Prizes. To submit applications, Deans
of Graduate Studies should send them to