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New $250,000 research prize honours John Polanyi


Toronto, ON – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has created a $250,000 science and engineering research prize in honour of Canadian scientist Dr John Polanyi, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Dr Joanne Keselman, Acting Chair of NSERC’s Council, said that NSERC’s objective is to provide outstanding researchers with a level of public recognition and financial support that is commensurate with the excellence of their contributions to world knowledge.

“We were absolutely delighted when Dr Polanyi agreed to have his name associated with the new award,” she says. “John Polanyi has for decades been one of the most outstanding researchers in Canada, an individual whose name is synonymous with the excellence of Canadian science, both at home and abroad.”

Dr Polanyi won the Nobel Prize for ground-breaking work in documenting the energy states and the movements of molecules during the moment of reaction. His discoveries dramatically advanced understanding of the physics of chemical reactions and led to the development of powerful new lasers. In recent years, he has been involved in landmark research in nanotechnology.

The NSERC John C Polanyi Award will recognize a recent outstanding advance made by a Canadian researcher or team of researchers in any field of the natural sciences or engineering. NSERC must have supported, at least in part, the research leading to the advance. Either the individual nominated or at least one team member must hold an NSERC grant. Other members may be from academia, government or industry and may include research associates, postdoctoral fellows or students.

The first competition for the NSERC Polanyi Award begins immediately.