1. Funding
  2. Prizes
  3. John G. Diefenbaker Award
  4. Guidelines: John G. Diefenbaker Award

John G. Diefenbaker Award


The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from individuals, groups and organizations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority communities. The Canada Council is committed to reaffirming and revitalizing its relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

The John G. Diefenbaker Award enables a distinguished German scholar in the social sciences or humanities to do research in Canada, which may include brief periods in the United States. While research must be the primary activity during the award period, the award winner will be encouraged to participate in the teaching activities of the host institution and to interact with the research communities in Canada and the United States by visiting other institutions.

The award is funded by an endowment given to the Canada Council by the Government of Canada. The endowment, announced by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney during his visit to Germany in the spring of 1991, honours the memory of former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker.

The award is administered by the Canada Council, in a shared history of collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. The spirit of this award is to encourage exchange between scholarly communities in Canada and Germany.

Deadline – 1 November 2023

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Your completed nomination form and required documents must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). Incomplete or late nominations will not be assessed.

Nomination limits

  • An individual may receive this award only once in a lifetime.
  • An institution may nominate only one individual per competition.

Notification of results – approximately 5 months after the deadline date

All nominators will be notified in writing. With the exception of the award winner, the Canada Council does not contact candidates.

Prize amount – up to $95,000

The amount of the award for a full year is Can$80,000. These funds are to be used by the host institution as a contribution towards the salary of the visiting scholar.

In addition, a grant of up to Can$15,000 is provided to cover the winner’s travel costs to the host institution (including travel of the winner’s immediate family for award periods longer than three months) and travel to other institutions in Canada and the United States.

Award periods of less than 12 months will be considered. The amount of the award for a shorter period will be prorated accordingly. The award period should begin on or after 1 August 2024.


Candidates may not apply directly for this award: they must be nominated by a department within a host university or research institute in Canada.

Eligible nominators

Nominations must be submitted by a department head of a Canadian university or research institute and be endorsed by an authorized representative of the host institution. If the nominator (the department head) is normally the signing authority for the institution, another senior official must sign the authorization for the institution instead (e.g., VP Research).

Eligible candidates

This award is open to German scholars who have demonstrated outstanding ability, especially through a substantial publication record over several years. The award is offered in support of research in any of the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.

Candidates must be German citizens with a contractual or working relationship with an academic institution in Germany. They must have a sound working knowledge of at least one of Canada’s two official languages.

Application/Nomination Assistance

Application/Nomination Assistance contributes to costs for services to help with a prize application or nomination for individuals who self-identify as: 

  • Deaf, hard of hearing, having a disability or living with a mental illness
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers.

To submit a request, contact the Prizes team 1 to 4 weeks prior to the deadline.

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. A peer assessment committee will assess the eligible nominations. The committee will be composed of experienced professionals selected for their disciplinary expertise. Committee members will also be selected with consideration to fair representation of, Canada’s two official languages, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, Deaf and disability communities, gender, age and the cultural and regional diversity of Canada.

The peer assessment committee may decide not to award the prize in a given competition.

All peer assessment committee decisions are final.

Assessment criteria

Nominations will be evaluated based on the following weighted criteria:

Merit (30%)

  • The creativity and originality of the project
  • The qualifications and achievements of the candidate

Impact (30%)

  • The potential contribution of the project to the advancement of knowledge
  • The potential value of the proposed research and other proposed activities to the Canadian research community

Feasibility (30%)

  • The proposed length of stay in Canada and the capacity of the host institution to support the candidate within the proposed timeline
  • The experience and capacity of the candidate to undertake the project within the proposed timeline

Relevance (10%)

  • The potential of this project to contribute towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society

Required information and support material – What you need to submit

Please refer to the nomination form for detailed instructions. Nominations must include the following:

A current curriculum vitae of the proposed candidate (10 pages maximum)

A description of the candidate’s proposed program of research and other activities (1 page maximum)

A signed letter of support from the department head or authorized representative of the host institution (1 page maximum)

Two (2) signed letters of support from distinguished specialists in the candidate’s field. (2 pages maximum for each)

Letters of invitation to participate in activities outside the host institution (include 2 letters maximum, optional)

Nomination preparation

  • The Canada Council will make eligibility decisions based on the information provided in the nomination.
  • The nominator is responsible for providing all the information and support material requested. Nominators must complete and submit the nomination form.
  • Submit only the material requested. Extra material will not be shown to the peer assessment committee.
  • Carefully choose your support material as committee members have limited time in which to review each nomination.
  • In addition to filling out your contact information in the nomination form, if you have an account on the Canada Council’s portal, please ensure that the information is up to date.

Personal information

Personal information collected in this nomination shall be used for purposes related to the program, service or activity of the Canada Council.

The Canada Council may share personal information from applications and nominations for awards with officials in other arts and cultural industry funding agencies and government institutions on a confidential basis. Shared information is limited to your name, contact information, discipline and project description, and is provided to assist with research, reporting, program planning and evaluation, to present networking or economic opportunities, or to respond to federal reviews. For more information on how your personal information is protected, see our Privacy Notice.

Prize terms and conditions

Once the award winner has been contacted, they must confirm acceptance of the prize and agree to keep the results of the competition confidential until the Canada Council makes its official announcement. If successful, the terms and conditions will be outlined in a notification letter.

Award payment

The award will be paid to the host institution. The institution will be responsible for administering the funds and reporting on their use to the Canada Council, according to the guidelines. The institution cannot receive the award money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved.

Participation in promotional activities

The winners must agree to allow their photographs and public information be used for promotion of the prize and in other Canada Council promotional initiatives. They must also agree to participate fully in all prize-related activities. Documentation submitted with the nomination may be used in publicity or promotional activities accompanying the award.

Reporting requirements

The award winner is required to submit a report, within three months of the completion of the award period, on the work accomplished with the assistance of the John G. Diefenbaker Award. This report should also include information about the impact of the award on the winner’s career and the usefulness of the award in allowing the winner to meet the proposed project’s objectives.

Additionally, the host institution must submit a full financial accounting and a report on the results of the winner’s stay in Canada, within three months of the completion of the award period.

Previous winners

Visit the John G. Diefenbaker web page to download a list of past winners.

Instructions – How to submit a nomination

Send your completed nomination form and required documents as 1 email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to diefenbaker-award@canadacouncil.ca. The total maximum file size including attachments is 25 MB. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 business days, please contact us to make sure we have received your nomination.

Contact information

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 4086