The NSERC Synergy Awards recognize outstanding collaborations between university researchers and industry partners. Winners of the award are selected based on the impact of their research collaboration and the potential for future commercialization. The NSERC Synergy Awards are a great way to celebrate successful collaborations between university researchers and industry partners. The awards recognize the extraordinary impact and potential commercial achievements, so they are such an essential part of the Canadian innovation landscape. This year’s winners come from all across Canada, and they are a testament to the strength of our research ecosystem.
What Are NSERC Synergy Awards?
The Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize strong, complementary, and collaborative teams that have developed new knowledge and accelerated the application of research findings to benefit Canada and Canadians. The award honors remarkable teams who have pooled their knowledge and resources to form partnerships that have had a significant impact.
NSERC is acting on the evidence that a more fair, diverse, and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is critical to producing the high-quality, innovative, and impactful research needed to increase knowledge and understanding and address local, national, and global concerns. This principle underpins the pledges outlined in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion and the EDI Action Plan’s goals.
What Are the Two Categories of These Awards?
There are two categories in the Synergy Awards for Innovation:
- Cooperation between an eligible Canadian institution and one or more partner organizations is a university partnership. The highlighted research partnership must be predominantly focused on natural or engineering sciences.
- Cooperation between a qualified Canadian college and one or more partner organizations is a college partnership. The featured research collaboration could be in the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities, or health.
The Synergy Awards are a chance to show off what Canadian creativity and collaboration can achieve.
For University Collaborations
The proposed collaboration must be in the natural sciences or engineering. At least one NSERC Research Partnerships grant, such as Engage, Collaborative Research, and Development, Strategic Partnerships (Projects or Networks), Industrial Research Chair, Idea to Innovation, Alliance, or Calls for Collaborative Research Projects, must have also supported it, in whole or in part.
A Canadian university professor or group of academics must also form a partnership with one or more collaborating entities from the corporate, public, or non-profit sectors. If applicable, one member of the academic team must be chosen as the nominee, with the rest of the team serving as co-nominees.
All academic team members must meet NSERC’s faculty eligibility requirements (at the time of the nomination). Partnering organizations must be acknowledged for cost-sharing following the Alliance grant standards. For further information, see Partner Organizations’ Role. The candidate, co-nominee(s), and the academic institution must all be kept at arm’s length by the partnering organization(s) (s). For further information, see the Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations.
For College Collaborations
A nominated partnership must consist of an eligible Canadian college and one or more collaborating entities from the business, public, or non-profit sectors that have applied research findings from a previous College and Community Innovation (CCI) grant. All eligible for natural and social sciences, engineering, the humanities, and health research collaborations. The nominee must be the college research project leader (researcher, faculty member, or administrator). As applicable, all other college research team members (researcher, faculty member, or administrator) must be co-nominees. The candidate, co-nominee(s), and the academic institution must all be kept at arm’s length by the partnering organization(s) (s). For further information, see the Conflict of Interest Guidelines for Partner Organizations.
In a given year, an individual (nominee or co-nominee) can be nominated for the Synergy Awards for Innovation and other NSERC prizes (Herzberg, Polanyi, McDonald, Brockhouse, or Strickland), but they can only win one prize. A university or institution can submit an unlimited number of nominations for the Synergy Awards for Innovation in any competition.
Latest Updates on the Awards
Once again, it’s that time of year! The deadline for nominations for NSERC’s top research prizes has passed. This year, the Synergy Awards for Innovation submission has undergone some exciting modifications to be more flexible and inclusive and provide an even more tempting prize to deserving recipients. The following are some of the changes:
Colleges and Universities
- Partner eligibility has been expanded to include governmental and non-profit organizations and private sector partners.
- The Synergy Awards’ scope has been broadened to encompass social and environmental benefits to Canada and Canadians.
- The voucher amount has been increased to $50,000 for winning partners (it was previously $30,000 for university partnerships and $20,000 for college partnerships), and it is now available to most Research Partnerships programs.
Only for Colleges
- Partnerships in the social sciences, humanities, health and natural sciences, and engineering are now eligible.
- The reward has been increased to a $200,000 research grant (from a $100,000 equipment grant).
In addition to the preceding, the criteria for nominators have been broadened—now, anyone who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can submit a nomination.
How to Prepare a Nomination?
Any individual or organization may propose a partnership, but the nominators must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Self-nominations (by a nominee, a co-nominee, or one of the collaborating organizations) will be rejected. According to NSERC, nominators and university authorities are particularly encouraged to consider equity, diversity, and inclusion in their nomination processes. The nomination information should be written for non-specialists because a diverse committee considers nominations.
PANominators are in charge of putting together the necessary paperwork, following the General Presentation Guidelines. Documents must be combined in the order mentioned above in a single portable document format (PDF). Documents that do not match the presentation standards may be rejected or put at a disadvantage in contrast to those that do. The selection committee will only be given the necessary documents; any additional material will be eliminated. Nominations must be submitted electronically by 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on the deadline date using the Secure Submission for NSERC’s Synergy Awards for Innovation webpage. Only one PDF document should be sent (do not upload PDF portfolios). Nominations received after the deadline will not be accepted, and you will not be able to withdraw your nomination after it has been submitted.
Review of your Nomination
A selection committee of eminent academic, government, non-profit, and industrial research professionals from various disciplines will assess all qualified nominations. Members of the committee are chosen following the NSERC Guidelines for Selection Committee Membership. The selection committee will review your nomination and score each of the following evaluation criteria using merit indicators before recommending the winning partnerships to NSERC.
1. Partnership (30%): Importance of the partner organization(s)’ involvement throughout the partnership (30 percent)
2. Outcomes and impact (70 percent): Importance of social, environmental, and economic impacts and consequences in Canada and worldwide, if appropriate (35 percent). The impact and advantages to the partner organization(s) are significant (20 percent)
Quality of the training environment and enriched learning experiences for research trainees resulted in advanced research, technical, and professional skills development (15 percent). At a public ceremony, the prize recipients’ names will be announced.
The major nominee will be requested to report on the impact of their award every year during the length of the award.
Nominees/co-nominees: You must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions form for nominees before submitting your documents to the nominator as a nominee (or co-nominee if at a university). It is your responsibility to record the agreed-upon terms and conditions.
Nominators: You must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions form for nominators before submitting your documents to NSERC as a nominator. It is your responsibility to record the agreed-upon terms and conditions.
Nomination deadline: April 19, 2022, 8:00 p.m. (EDT)
To sum it all up
Universities, colleges, polytechnics, and their partners contribute to a better society through collaborating to produce new and improved goods and processes. They work together to define Canada’s future, helping us be at the vanguard of the rising knowledge-based economy worldwide. The Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize these innovative teams that have created new knowledge and accelerated the application of research findings to benefit Canada and Canadians. The award honors remarkable teams who have pooled their knowledge and resources to form partnerships that have had a significant impact.