1. Funding
  2. Prizes
  3. Killam Prizes
  4. Guidelines: Killam Prizes

Killam Prizes


The Canada Council is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority artists, groups and organizations. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications and nominations from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

My purpose in establishing the Killam Trusts is to help in the building of Canada’s future by encouraging advanced study. Thereby I hope, in some measure, to increase the scientific and scholastic attainments of Canadians, to develop and expand the work of Canadian universities, and to promote sympathetic understanding between Canadians and the peoples of other countries.

—From the Will of Dorothy J. Killam, who died 27 July 1965


The Killam Prizes are intended to highlight distinguished Canadian scholars who have been engaged in research in universities, hospitals, research or scientific institutes, or other similar institutions. They are awarded annually, on a competitive basis, to eminent Canadian scholars doing research in any of the following disciplines:

  • humanities
  • social sciences
  • natural sciences
  • health sciences
  • engineering

Deadline – 30 June 2021

Your completed nomination form and supporting documents must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). The Canada Council will not assess late or incomplete nominations.

Nomination limits

  • Normally, 1 prize is awarded each year in each of the 5 disciplines.
  • Only 1 nomination in 1 category per nominee per competition is allowed.
  • An individual may receive this award only once in a lifetime.

Notification of results – approximately 5 months after the deadline date

All prize recipients and their nominators will be notified by phone and in writing. The Canada Council will notify other nominators in writing. Except for the notification of the prize winners, the Canada Council does not contact nominees.

Prize amount – Up to 5 prizes of $100,000 each


Eligible nominators

Candidates must be nominated by one nominator, either an individual or an organization. Anyone or any organization with an interest in, and capacity for, nominating appropriate individuals is eligible to do so.

Eligible candidates

These prizes are for individuals. Candidates must:

  • be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. They do not need to be residing in Canada.
  • have made a substantial and distinguished contribution over a significant period.
  • still be active and productive in their career.

In keeping with the Canada Council’s commitment to equity and inclusion, the Killam Program encourages the participation of women scholars and researchers and members of under-represented groups.

Ineligible candidates

Members of the Canada Council Board and members of the Killam selection committee are not eligible to be considered for these prizes during their term as members, and for 6 months following the end of their term.

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 officer 4 weeks prior to the deadline.

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. The nominations will be evaluated, and final decisions made, by the Killam selection committee. The Canada Council appoints the committee members, taking into account the recommendations of specialists in the Canadian and international academic and research communities. Committee members will also be selected with consideration to fair representation of Canada’s 2 official languages, First Nations, Inuit and Metis 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 recommendations are final.

Assessment criteria

The prizes will be offered to those candidates considered outstanding by the committee. Nominations will be evaluated based the following weighted criteria:

Merit (50%)

  • the exceptional quality of the candidate’s research and overall career achievements
  • where appropriate, the international stature of the candidate

Impact (40%)

  • the scope of the candidate’s ongoing research contributions to the scholarly and intellectual heritage of Canada, taking into account the context of their academic field of study
  • evidence of the candidate’s outstanding commitment, creativity and efforts to share research and knowledge beyond the academic community

Relevance (10%)

  • the influence of the candidate and their work on enriching and evolving current thinking and practice in their area of expertise
  • the candidate’s contributions towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society.

Required information and support material – What you need to submit with the nomination

  • Nomination letter (4 pages maximum)
  • Nominee’s biography (1 page maximum)
  • Nominee’s curated curriculum vitae (30 pages maximum)
  • Letters of support from experts in the field (3 maximum)

Nomination preparation

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


  • A nominator may resubmit a nomination for a specific nominee as many times as desired.
  • However, a nominator may only use the same nomination package for 2 consecutive deadlines. To do this, the nominator must send a letter to the Canada Council requesting that the nomination package be resubmitted, and include an updated curriculum vitae for the nominee, on or before the competition deadline date.
  • A new nomination package is required for a third consecutive nomination, or if more than 1 year has elapsed since the last nomination.

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, field of practice 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 prize winners have 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.

Prize payment

The Canada Council will send you the prize money after it has received your acknowledgement form from the winner. Winners cannot receive the prize money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved. This prize will not be awarded posthumously.

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.

Tax status

Killam Prizes are not taxable. Prize recipients should contact the Canada Revenue Agency or their provincial or territorial revenue department with any tax-related questions.

Previous winners and general information

Visit the Killam Program website for the list of recipients of the Killam Prizes. For information on the Killams and the Killam Trusts visit the Killam Laureates website.

Instructions – How to submit a nomination

Send your completed nomination as 1 email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to killam-prizes@canadacouncil.ca. The total maximum file size including attachments is 25 MB. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 48 hours, please contact us.

Contact information

Jill Zmud

Program Officer, Prizes


1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 4068