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The Canada Council for the Arts Announces the 2021 Killam Prize Winners

February 3, 2021

Ottawa, February 3, 2021 ― The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the winners of the 2021 Killam Prizes. This distinguished program recognizes the work of active researchers who have devoted their careers to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and finding solutions to the issues we face every day.

The challenges of the last year have reminded us how crucial advanced research is to our lives. Today, we salute the innovative work of researchers whose outstanding contributions are changing our present and our future.

Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Mrs. Killam’s purpose in establishing the Killam Trusts was to help in the building of Canada’s future by encouraging advanced research and study. The 2021 Killam Prize winners join an elite group of researchers who contribute to global excellence in a sustainable, inclusive and flourishing Canada, to the benefit of all Canadians. We warmly welcome them to the Killam family as we celebrate their passion, drive, creativity and accomplishments.

Bernard F. Miller, QC, Managing Trustee, Killam Trusts

The Killam Prizes

The Killam Prizes honour eminent Canadian researchers in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. The work of these researchers has an outstanding impact on the lives of Canadians and people around the world. They each receive a $100,000 prize.

The 2021 winners

Health sciencesMichel Bouvier

Michel Bouvier is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and the CEO of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal. His ongoing scientific research is shifting paradigms and advancing knowledge in the fields of physiology, pharmacology, and medicine—and it will have significant, long-lasting implications in the development of new strategies for personalized therapeutic interventions.

Social sciencesStephen Gill

Stephen Gill is a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science, Communications and Culture at York University and Senior Associate Member at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. His scholarship points out the growing conflict between the unrestrained pursuit of profit and life-sustaining processes, emphasizing the dire need for radical changes in public policy to mitigate the root causes of many major health problems around the world.

EngineeringGilbert Laporte

An honorary professor at HEC Montréal, professor at the University of Bath (UK), adjunct professor at Molde University College (Norway), Gilbert Laporte is a world authority in the development of mathematical tools. Laporte has been instrumental in the development of solutions for many real-world problems, including the routing and scheduling of delivery vehicles, the promotion of green transportation practices, the adoption of electric vehicles for goods transportation, the transportation of people with disabilities, the creation of electoral maps and the stationing of ambulance fleets.

HumanitiesArthur Ripstein

A professor of Law and Philosophy and University Professor at the University of Toronto, Arthur Ripstein is a leading philosopher whose work has been at the forefront of renewed scholarly interest in the legal and political philosophy of philosopher Immanuel Kant. Ripstein has contributed to some of the most pressing conversations of our time, including those around the connections between individual responsibility and social equality, the legitimate use of public power, and the morality and legality of war.

Natural sciencesDouglas Stephan

A University Professor in Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Inorganic Materials and Catalysis at the University of Toronto, Douglas Stephan is a world leader in organometallic and inorganic chemistry. His discoveries have also profoundly changed the way chemists understand the working of catalytic and chemical reactions, thereby opening new possibilities for the development of health care treatments, alternative fuels, greener chemical processes in manufacturing, and the carbon capture of greenhouse gases.

To learn more about the Killam Program

  • The Killam Prize winners are selected by a peer assessment committee.
  • The Killam Prize was first awarded in 1981.
  • Previous winners include renowned scholars such as Brenda Milner, Victoria Kaspi, Mark Wainberg, Molly Shoichet, John Borrows, Yoshua Bengio and Nobel Prize winners Arthur McDonald and John Polanyi, to name but a few.
  • The Canada Council received a donation through the will of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in 1965 to establish a fellowship program (1967).
  • In total, the Killam Trusts are valued at approximately $500 million, of which the Canada Council portion is nearly $70 million.

About the Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts contributes to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and supports its presence across Canada and around the world. The Council is Canada’s public arts funder.

Its grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments support Canadian artists, authors, and arts groups and organizations. This support allows them to pursue artistic expression, create works of art, and promote and disseminate the arts.

Through its arts funding, communications, research, and promotion activities, the Council fosters ever-growing engagement of Canadians and international audiences in the arts.

The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) Program makes annual payments to creators whose works are held in Canadian public libraries.

The Council’s Art Bank provides the broader public with a collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary art works to enjoy through its rental, loan, and dissemination programs.

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the authority of the Council. It shares a common history and future with the Council in terms of sustainable development characterized by the arts, science, culture, equality, and peace.


To book interviews with the winners:

Charlene Coy

C2C Communications



Canada Council for the Arts

Canada Council for the Arts

Communications and Engagement



1-800-263-5588, ext. 5151