The Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research award recognizes a significant contribution and broad impact of a career devoted to northern research by an individual who has demonstrated leadership, inspiration, and mentorship in research in the Canadian north. Nominations will be reviewed based on the significance and impact of each candidate’s contribution to northern research. A committee of peers with extensive experience in the North will review the nominations and recommend the prize winner.
$50,000 for a Research Fellowship of the recipient’s choice
$10,000 for Indigenous/Inuit engagement
$5,000 for northern travel
This award recognizes the significant contribution and broad impact of a career devoted to northern research by an individual who has demonstrated leadership, inspiration, and mentorship in research in the Canadian north.
- Nominees must be presently active in and demonstrate a sustained program of northern research in the natural sciences
- Posthumous or self-nominations will not be accepted
- An individual may win the prize only once, and may not win the prize if they are sitting on the Selection Committee
- Nominees must be citizens or permanent residents of Canada, for five years, at the time of nomination
The nominator will collect and submit the following:
- Nomination Letter (five pages)
- Nominee’s CV
- Three Letters of support (five referees)
Dr. Michel Allard
Dr. Allard is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Université Laval, researching permafrost in Nunavik, northern Québec. Dr. Allard has initiated multi-stakeholder, fundamental research on the physical processes of permafrost formation under past and current climates, and the impacts of permafrost thawing both in the natural environment and on infrastructure. His attentiveness to Inuit concerns has led him to collaboratively develop practical solutions that contribute to the overall wellbeing and safety of Inuit community members. Over his three decades of work in the North, he has authored over 130 scientific papers and mentored over 120 students, many of whom remain active in northern research at reputable institutions. He received the Northern Science Award of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Canada in 2006 and the Polar Medal in 2015.
Dr. John England
Dr. England has conducted research in the Canadian Arctic for 50 years. His research includes the reconstruction of ancient ice sheets, sea ice and sea level changes that provide the necessary context to understand the impact of modern climate change. Dr. England’s findings led to a complete reassessment of the last glacial period in the western Arctic islands that has contributed new insights to international research in the Arctic Ocean. In addition to his own research, Dr. England has been, and still is, a mentor and guide to early-career researchers in the Arctic and is a tireless polar advocate, promoting Arctic science, public outreach and education.
Dr. Ian Stirling
For more than forty years, Dr. Stirling has studied the ecology and behaviour of Arctic marine mammals, particularly polar bears, which las led to a new era of ecological understanding of the Arctic. Dr. Stirling is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and an Emeritus Scientist with Environment Canada. A highlight of his body of work is a study published in 1999, which confirmed for the first time that the negative impact of climate warming on polar bears was statistically significant. Specifically, his long-term study of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea led to the first scientific documentation on the sudden plummet of ringed seal’s reproduction, followed by a corresponding decrease in the survival of young polar bears.
Dr. Charles Krebs
Over the last 50 years, Dr. Krebs, one of the world’s preeminent field ecologists, has made an enormous contribution to northern research in Canada. His career began in the Northwest Territories in the late 1950’s, as his graduate work took him to the Inuvik area, Northwest Territories, to study the newly introduced reindeer and later to Baker Lake, Nunavut, to examine the cause of lemming cycles. Since the early 1970’s, Dr. Krebs has been working continuously in the southwestern Yukon on ecosystem dynamics of the boreal forest, particularly the snowshoe hare cycle and small mammal fluctuations. Throughout his career, Dr. Krebs has addressed fundamental questions that apply not just to the Canadian north, but to the ecology of life on the planet. His decade-long project at the Kluane Project has been expanded to become the Community Ecological Monitoring Program, with sites throughout the Yukon. This publicly accessible database continues to be maintained. Dr. Krebs’ influence has also been extended through his students, many of whom have gone on to their own northern careers.
Dr. John Smol
Dr. Smol is professor of biology (cross-appointed with the School of Environmental Studies) at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), where he also holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. Dr. Smol founded and co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), dedicated to the study of long-term global environmental change, particularly in lakes. Dr. Smol has authored over 450 journal publications and chapters since 1980, as well as 19 books. Smol was the founding Editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology (1987-2007) and is the current Editor of the journal Environmental Reviews. Since 1990 he has been awarded over 45 research and teaching awards and fellowships, including the 2004 NSERC Herzberg Gold Medal, and the Ontario Premier’s Discovery Award for Life Sciences and Medicine. He has won 10 teaching, mentoring and scientific outreach awards, and was named by Nature magazine as Canada’s Top Mid-Career Scientific Mentor. In 2013, the Governor General of Canada named Dr. Smol an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Dr. Louis Fortier
Trained at Université Laval and McGill University, a NATO postdoctoral fellow, and Professor at Université Laval since 1989, Louis Fortier studies zooplankton and marine fish population dynamics. He holds the Canada Research Chair on the response of arctic marine ecosystems to climate warming. Dr. Fortier has led Canadian participation in several international programs and domestic research networks since 1997. In 2002, Louis Fortier was head of the pan-Canadian consortium that retrofitted the Amundsen, Canada’s dedicated research icebreaker. Dr. Fortier is a founding researcher of ArcticNet, which aims to anticipate the impacts of climate warming and modernization in the Arctic on the health and economy of northern communities. Louis Fortier was elected « Scientifique de l’Année 2004 » by Radio-Canada and « Personnalité scientifique de 2005 » by La Presse and Radio-Canada. The Governor General named him Officer of the Order of Canada in February 2007. He received an honorary PhD from the University of Manitoba in October 2007.
Dr. Serge Payette
Dr. Serge Payette found his passion for the North in 1966, after spending time in the Arctic as a student. In 1969 he began lecturing at Université Laval, where he remains as a professor and researcher at the university’s Centre d’Études Nordiques (CEN). His many contributions to northern research include his work as director of the CEN for twelve years. He has held one of the six NSERC Chairs for Northern research since 2003. Dr. Payette has dedicated over 40 years of his life to northern research and to teaching and mentoring young scientists. A total of 81 post-graduate students—22 doctorate, 9 post-doc and 50 masters— as well as hundreds of undergraduate students have all had the privilege of learning and experiencing the North in the “Payette School”. To date, Dr. Payette has published over 170 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 14 book chapters and numerous research reports. He established the international Écoscience/Ecoscience journal specializing in ecology now entering its 17th year of publication. His next publication will be a four-volume set, Flore du Québec Nordique, in collaboration with several botanist colleagues.