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Canada’s top science prizes, including Herzberg Gold Medal, are awarded


Ottawa, ON – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced the winners of Canada’s top natural sciences and engineering prizes awarded by NSERC.

Among the six prestigious prizes was the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, a $1-million grant that was awarded to Geoffrey Hinton, a renowned computer scientist from the University of Toronto. Dr Hinton’s work in machine learning has led to major advances in artificial intelligence, with applications that include monitoring industrial plants for improved safety, creating better systems for voice recognition and reading bank cheques. The NSERC Gerhard Herzberg Gold Medal guarantees Dr Hinton $1 million in research funding over the next five years.

“Canadian scientists and engineers are conducting some of the most ambitious, creative and successful research programs in the world,” said Suzanne Fortier, NSERC president. “These award winners represent the full spectrum of our country’s research talent, from students just embarking on their careers to seasoned researchers making internationally recognized discoveries.”

Other prize winners included:

The team of Guy Dumont and Mark Ansermino, both of the University of British Columbia, winners of the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering.

The Brockhouse Canada Prize recognizes outstanding Canadian teams of researchers from different disciplines who have combined their expertise to produce achievements of outstanding international significance in the natural sciences and engineering in the last six years. The winners receive a $250,000 team research grant.

Victoria Kaspi, of McGill University, winner of the NSERC John C Polanyi Award.

Created in 2006, the NSERC John C Polanyi Award is named in honour of Canada’s 1986 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The NSERC award is given to an individual or team whose research, conducted in Canada, has led to a recent outstanding advance in any NSERC-supported field of the natural sciences or engineering. The winner receives a $250,000 research grant.

Six winners of EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowships:
– Andrea Damascelli, of the University of British Columbia;
– Alexander Litvak, of the University of Alberta;
– Roberto Morandotti, of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique;
– Ruth Signorell, of the University of British Columbia;
– David Vocadlo, of Simon Fraser University; and
– Boris Worm, of Dalhousie University;
– Rowan Barrett, of Harvard University, winner of the NSERC Howard Alper Postdoctoral Prize.

The NSERC EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowships honour the memory of Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made major contributions to the development of science in Canada during, and immediately following, World War II. Steacie Fellowships are awarded to enhance the career development of outstanding and highly promising university faculty who are earning a strong international reputation for original research. Each of the six winners receives a $250,000 research grant over two years and the host university receives up to $90,000 per year to fund a replacement for the fellow’s teaching and administrative duties during the course of the fellowship, allowing the Fellow to concentrate only on research for two years.

Two winners of NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prizes:
– Audrey Kertesz, of the University of Toronto; and
– Haley Sapers, of the University of Western Ontario.

The prizes will be formally presented during an evening ceremony hosted by Governor General David Johnston. Recipients of NSERC’s Synergy Awards for Innovation, which were announced last fall, will also be recognized at the ceremony.