Terms of Reference and Conditions

President's Award for Outstanding Research

The President's Award for Outstanding Research (PAOR) recognizes young researchers who have made outstanding contributions to their scholarly disciplines. Each award includes a $5,000 research grant.

Terms of Reference and Conditions

(a) An award for outstanding research may be made to faculty members holding tenure or tenure-track appointments (or in the case of the Marine Institute, a permanent or contractual appointment) who have received a doctoral degree, or a disciplinary equivalent, within the fifteen-year period immediately pre-dating the closing date for nominations and applications of this award (e.g.for the purpose of the 2020 competition, your degree or disciplinary equivalent must be received in 2005 or later). Please note that eligibility is based on the calendar year not the month the PhD or equivalent was received. In cases where legitimate leave has impacted the nominee’s research program; such as parental leave, extended illness and military service, the committee will consider extending the 15 year eligibility period. Such leave must be clearly identified in the letter from the nominator/applicant.

(b) The researcher must have served a minimum of two years at Memorial prior to nomination/application. The researcher must also be an active faculty member when the honour is awarded (normally December of each year).

(c) Normally there shall be up to two awards given in any one calendar year. There shall be no obligation to recommend an award in the absence of suitably qualified candidates. No individual shall receive the award more than once.

(d) The award shall carry with it a research grant ($5,000) to be used at the discretion of the recipient for the sole purpose of supporting future research and/or creative activity.

(e) Nominations for the award may be made by any one person but must be supported by two other sponsors. Applications for the award must be supported by three sponsors.

(f) While this award is intended to be based on individual accomplishment, it is recognized that there may be cases where the work of two or more individuals are so intertwined that they can only be considered as a team. Under such circumstances, a team nomination may be submitted. However, care will be taken to evaluate only those activities that have been carried out as a team. In addition, any award made as a result of such a team nomination will be of the same value as that which would be awarded to a single individual.

(g) Nominations or applications should be submitted to the Vice-President (Research), not later than November 1st. Unsuccessful candidates will be automatically reconsidered for one additional year provided their eligibility status remains unchanged. Those being reconsidered will have the opportunity to update their application/nomination.

(h) The evaluation of nominations and applications shall be undertaken by a diverse selection committee and chaired by the Vice-President (Research) or designate. A member of the Senate Committee on Research (SCOR) will either sit on the PAOR selection committee or act as an observer and is responsible for communicating the awardee recommendations to SCOR for their information and then to the President for final approval.

(i) Nominees will be adjudicated based upon the quality, excellence and impact of their research and/or creative activity. The candidate’s national and international stature as assessed by their peers will form a vital piece of the overall selection. Nominees/applicants currently holding research chairs will be expected to have demonstrated a higher level of research performance including evidence of research leadership.


In the context of this award, research refers to peer-reviewed, adjudicated or equivalent research/scholarly work including creative activity and performance. The President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the President’s Award for Exceptional Community Service are bestowed upon those who have made outstanding contributions in these other areas.

Nominees will be evaluated on the quality, innovation, and importance of their research and/or creative accomplishments.

Indicators of outstanding performance, reflective of international recognition, that may be considered include:

  1. Evidence of scholarly dissemination (e.g., publication in refereed journals or series or by publishers recognized as leaders in the field, performances of artistic works, leadership performances (conducting, directing), juried art shows, archival projects, etc.).
  2. High ratings of the publications and other research or creative work as attested (where appropriate) by citations indices, by references in published literature, or in letters from distinguished scholars or critics in the field.
  3. Favorable published reviews of the publications or creative works.
  4. Awards by professional associations for outstanding research or creative work.
  5. Grants based on competitive jury recommendations.
  6. Research leadership, as evidenced by team achievements.
  7. Breadth of expertise.
  8. Any other clear evidence of exceptional contribution to the chosen field.


Nominations or applications for a President’s Award for Outstanding Research should consist of the following documents:

(1)  Nomination form

(2) Letter of nomination or application that describes how the candidate meets the criteria listed above. The letter should be no more than 2-pages in length. Supporters of the nomination/application may add their signature to this letter or supply an email that indicates their support for the candidate. Separate messages from supporters are not to include an appraisal of the candidate’s research.

(3) A one-page citation or appraisal of the candidate's research describing their contributions in a way easily understandable to those outside the discipline. This will be used for public relations purposes for the successful candidates as well as for a reminder to referees of the candidate's major contributions.

(4) The names of three external referees who can be contacted with respect to the candidate's research and a description of the nature of any relationship they might have with the candidate. At least three independent reviewers, suggested by the selection committee, will be contacted for additional references.


Ensure that the contact information for all of your referees is complete and up to date. Incomplete or incorrect contact information could result in your referees receiving our request for letters late, or not receiving it at all. It is your responsibility to supply complete, up-to-date information.


Do not choose referees who:

  • Are affiliated with Memorial or are from the same institution as any member of your research team (including co-authors or collaborators);
  • Are from the same institution – the three referees you suggest must be from three different institutions;
  • Have collaborated with you or any member of your research team within the last five years;
  • Have published with you in the last five years;
  • Have had a personal relationship with you or with any member of your research team;
  • Have served as your thesis supervisor or who have had a similar supervisory or mentoring relationship with you within the last five years.

(5)  A curriculum vitae using Memorial’s online template 

 Completed materials are to be sent electronically to tinaw@mun.ca by 5:00 PM on November 1st.

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy

The information on this form is collected under the authority of the Memorial University Act (RSNL 1990 Chapter M-7) and is needed for and will be used to assess the nomination or application for the President’s Award for Outstanding Research. If you have any questions about the collection and use of this information contact the office of Awards and Honours at 709-864-2740.


Revised October 2018


Awards and Honours

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000