Terms of Reference and Conditions

President's Award for Outstanding Research

Terms of Reference and Conditions

The President's Award for Outstanding Research (PAOR) recognizes early career faculty who have made exceptional contributions to their disciplines and have demonstrated a potential to become international research leaders.

In the context of this award, research refers to peer-reviewed, juried, adjudicated or equivalent research/scholarly work including creative activity and performance.

(a) Normally, there shall be a maximum of two awards given in a 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.

(b) 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 OR 1 course release (3 credit hour equivalent course). The award recipient shall consult their administrative head to determine the form of the award subject to the operational requirements of their academic unit.

(c) Applications must be supported by three sponsors (one of which must be the applicant’s administrative head) who are full-time employees of Memorial University and who are qualified to assess the research contributions of the applicant.

(d) 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 application may be submitted. Each member of the team must meet the eligibility criteria noted below. In the case of team applications, only activities that have been carried out by the team will be considered in the assessment. In addition, any award made to a team will be of the same value as that which would be awarded to a single individual.

(e) Applications must be submitted electronically to the Vice-President (Research), by Friday, March 1st at 5:00 pm NST. If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will automatically be scheduled for the next business day.

(f) Unsuccessful applicants will be automatically reconsidered for one additional year providing they continue to meet the award criteria. Those applicants being reconsidered, and eligible, will have the opportunity to update their application materials.

(g) The evaluation of applications shall be undertaken by a diverse adjudication committee, chaired by the Vice-President (Research) or designate, with representation from the Senate Committee on Research (SCOR). The SCOR representative acts as an observer and is responsible for communicating the awardee recommendations to SCOR (for information) and to the President for consideration and approval.

(a) Applicants for the President’s Award for Outstanding Research must be faculty members who hold tenure-track, tenured or regular term (minimum of two year term) appointments at Memorial. Applicants from the Marine Institute must hold a permanent or contractual appointment of at least two years at the time of application.
(b) Award recipients must continue to hold a full-time academic appointment at Memorial when the honour is awarded (normally December of each year).
(c) Applicants must (1) have received their doctoral degree, or a disciplinary equivalent and (2) have held their first academic appointment (consistent with the type of appointments described in (a) above) within the ten years prior to the application deadline (e.g. for the purpose of the 2020 competition, the degree or disciplinary equivalent received in 2010 or later). Please note that eligibility is based on the calendar year, not the month the PhD or equivalent was received or date of first appointment. The eligibility period will be extended for individuals who have experienced career interruptions. The period of such career interruptions must be clearly identified in the letter of application. Examples of career interruptions that may impact research opportunities and achievements include parental leave, early childcare, eldercare, illness, cultural, community or family responsibilities, socio-economic factors or relocation of your research environment.
(d) Individuals currently holding or who held research chairs within the last 3 years (e.g. Canada Research Chairs) are excluded from this competition.

Evaluation Criteria
Applicants will be adjudicated based upon the quality, innovation, and impact of their research. The applicant’s national and international stature, as assessed by their peers, will play a major role in the adjudication committee’s recommendation.

Indicators of exceptional contributions and international recognition to be considered include:

  • Evidence of refereed scholarly or creative dissemination (books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers, conference proceedings, invited and plenary lectures, juried art shows, invited performances of artistic works, invited leadership performances, music and writing competitions.
  • Non-refereed contributions including book reviews, research reports, policy papers, public lectures. This category may also include creative outputs (exhibitions of candidates’ work, curated exhibits, film, video, audio recordings, and websites, as examples).
  • Other contributions to research and the advancement of knowledge to non-academic audiences (general public, policy-makers, private sector, not-for-profit organizations, as examples), service to national/international agencies, external examination of theses and dissertations, editorship roles for publications.
  • Published reviews of publications or creative works, media and content expertise requests and coverage.
  • Awards for outstanding research (e.g. from professional associations).
  • Funding record – external grants awarded as a result of peer review by national and international funding bodies with your role in securing the funding specified
  • Evidence of research and creative leadership as by team achievements, editorships, invitations to deliver keynotes, conference and workshop organization, board membership, membership on national/international committees or juries for funding and/or awards and honours.
  • Impacts from research (e.g., creative or scientific advancement), to the economy (e.g., new companies, products and procedures), to people (e.g., skills), and to society (e.g., quality of life, improved health, policy development).
  • Contributions to training postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate, masters and doctoral students, and community-based research assistants and staff relevant to the candidate’s supervisory environment. Consideration will be given for those disciplines that do not have graduate degree programs at Memorial.
  • Any other clear evidence of exceptional contribution to the chosen field.

Note - 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 areas.

Application Guidelines
The onus is on the applicant to provide all information necessary for referees and adjudication committee members to assess applications in accordance with the evaluation criteria. It is the applicant’s responsibility to explain how their research output is outstanding in comparison to others in their field at a comparable stage of career. In particular, applicants must:

  • describe and contextualize their most significant research results or creative work and highlight their impact;
  • explain their roles in securing funding;
  • describe clearly their role and contributions to team research activities;
  • explain the significance of the awards and honours they have received, such as prizes, keynote addresses, invited presentations, national and international board memberships or professorships;
  • discuss, if relevant, connections with community and academic collaborators and describe their roles in specific groups and networks;
  • address their mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff and community members, including through skills training; assisting them with securing their own funding for independent research; or through involving them in the applicant’s research program; and
  • describe their contributions in cases of the co-supervision of students, postdoctoral fellows, and research staff.


Applications for a President’s Award for Outstanding Research must consist of the following documents:

(1)  Application form

(2) Application letter that describes how the applicant meets the criteria listed above. The letter should be no more than 2 pages in length.

(3) Three sponsors of the application, including the applicant’s administrative head may add their signature to the application letter or supply a separate letter that indicates their support. These indicators of support are not to include an appraisal of the candidate’s research and should not exceed 50 words. In sponsoring an application, the sponsor is attesting that the applicant promotes an inclusive research culture and adheres to the university’s core values - https://www.mun.ca/regoff/calendar/sectionNo=GENINFO-0402. In particular, the applicant shows integrity (being honest and ethical in all interactions), is collegial (engages others with respect, openness, and trust in pursuit of a common purpose), and inclusive (responsible for guaranteeing diversity and equity including the duty to accommodate those they work with to ensure full participation).

(4) A one-page citation or appraisal of the applicant’s research describing their major contributions in language that is easily understandable to those outside of the applicant’s discipline. This will be provided to referees and used for public relations purposes for the successful applicant(s).

(5) The names and contact information for three external referees who can comment on the applicant’s research. A description of the nature of any relationship they have with the applicant must also be included. At least three additional, arm’s- length reviewers suggested by the adjudication committee will be contacted for 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.


Do not choose referees who:

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


(6)  A curriculum vitae using Memorial?s online template

 Instructions for preparing and formatting the required documents:
• Use a font size of 12 point, black type;
• All materials should be single-spaced;
• No condensed/narrow fonts, type, or spacing;
• Insert a margin of 2 cm (3/4 inch) - minimum - around the page;
• Indicate your name at the top of each page. Indicate the page number clearly at the bottom of each page;
• Observe page limitations indicated above; and,
• Use only letter size (21.25 X 27.5 cm / 8.5" X 11") white paper/background for all attachments.

Completed materials are to be sent electronically to researchawards@mun.ca by 5:00 PM on January 31st.

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 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 2020