National program expands to help Canadian researchers gain recognition

December 8, 2020
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OTTAWA – Thanks to a new partnership between The Rideau Hall Foundation and Universities Canada, Canadian researchers now have added support in their efforts to apply for and receive career-boosting national awards. The Global Excellence Initiative, which has assisted Canadian researchers apply for major international awards since 2012, is expanding its mandate to include national prizes and fellowships.

To be considered for major international awards, researchers often must have received national honors. By broadening its scope to include prestigious national prizes, the Global Excellence Initiative will assist early- and mid-career researchers prepare nomination dossiers. The initiative will also support a more diverse group of candidates — notably from underrepresented groups such as women, Black, Indigenous and researchers of colour — at all stages of their careers.

The initiative helps by identifying meritorious candidates to nominate for prizes and working with them and their institutions throughout the application process, including coordinating external review of their submission.

Canada’s researchers are renowned worldwide for advancing the frontier of knowledge and providing solutions to the most pressing global challenges. However, Canada has traditionally been under-represented among award winners of prestigious international prizes.

The Right Honourable David Johnston, 28th Governor General of Canada, established the Global Excellence Initiative during his time in Office to address this imbalance. The initiative is administered by Universities Canada and receives funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the National Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. And now the Rideau Hall Foundation, which is funding this new expansion.

“The Rideau Hall Foundation is honoured to partner with Universities Canada to help grow the reach and impact of the Global Excellence Initiative,” says Teresa Marques, president and CEO of the Rideau Hall Foundation. “Canadian researchers are already leaders in their fields and deserve to be recognized and championed here at home and around the world. We are very excited to be able to share their stories and help inspire the next generation of great Canadian researchers and scientists, especially those from underrepresented communities from across the country.”

2020 was a banner year for Canadian research, with 23 researchers at Canadian institutions receiving prestigious international research prizes, including University of Alberta’s Dr. Michael Houghton, who, with his collaborators, received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus.

“Canadians conduct world-class research that is tackling global challenges and improving lives,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “Helping more brilliant Canadian researchers — especially those from underrepresented groups — gain much-deserved recognition on the national and international stage will help Canada attract more top-tier researchers and strengthen our ability to pursue international research collaboration.”


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About Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation is an independent and non-political charitable organization established to mobilize ideas, people, and resources across the country to tap into our national spirit and help realize our shared aspirations. Learn more at

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Research and innovation

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