Terms of Reference and Conditions

University Research Professor

University Research Professors have acquired a designation above the rank of full professor. The title is the most prestigious award the university gives for research and/or creative activity and goes to faculty members who have demonstrated a consistently high level of scholarship in their field, including graduate student supervision and other mentoring activities, and whose research and/or creative activity is of a truly international stature. The award carries with it a lifetime designation, an unrestricted research grant of $4,000 each year for five years, and a reduced teaching schedule.

Terms of Reference and Conditions

(a) Memorial University of Newfoundland shall establish the position of University Research Professor, a position that reflects excellence in research and/or creative activity.

(b) The title shall honour the leading scholars in the university and are made to encourage even greater scholarly achievements. Candidates will have a substantially superior and sustained academic record at the rank of full professor. These individuals must have demonstrated a consistently high level of scholarship in their field, including graduate student supervision and other mentoring activities. Their research and/or creative activity is of a truly international stature.

(c) Designation of the title of University Research Professor shall be limited to those academic staff members (ASMs) at the rank of full Professor. In considering possible nominations, care should be given to the time interval since promotion to full professor. It is essential that nominees have sufficient time to acquire a superior and sustained record of academic performance at that level. ASMs currently holding research chairs (i.e. Canada Research Chairs) are excluded from this competition. Vice-Presidents and Deans are not eligible for nomination or application during their administrative terms. Individuals are not eligible for this distinction if they are retired or are not an active faculty member when this honour is awarded (normally December of each year).

(d) Up to two University Research Professorships shall be awarded annually. There shall be no obligation to recommend an award in the absence of suitably qualified candidates.

(e) The award carries with it the lifetime designation of University Research Professor and an unrestricted research grant for a period of five years. The latter award is to be used at the discretion of the recipient with the sole purpose of supporting future research and/or creative activity.

(f) It is expected that University Research Professors will, at the very least, maintain the level of scholarship for which they were honoured.

(g) University Research Professors shall continue to engage in teaching duties but these will normally be reduced to allow more time for research and/or creative activity.

(h) Nominations for University Research Professor may be made by any full-time ASM of the University and shall be co-sponsored by four other persons (internal or external) who are fully knowledgeable of the candidate's qualifications. Applications are also accepted but must be accompanied by five sponsors.

(i) Nominations or applications should be submitted to the Office of the Vice-President (Research), no later than 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. Unsuccessful candidates will be automatically reconsidered for one additional year. Those being reconsidered will have the opportunity to update their application/nomination.

(j) The Adjudication Committee shall consist of at least five faculty members, appointed by the Vice-President (Research). The size of the committee will be based upon the number of nominations and the diversity of disciplines the nominees represent. In making these appointments, careful consideration is given to ensuring that the committee is diverse in its representation and includes individuals from underrepresented groups.

Membership must include at least one faculty member from:

  • Humanities or social science
  • Natural sciences or engineering
  • Health sciences

Committee membership will not include faculty representation from the academic units of nominated candidates, shall be comprised of individuals from more than one of Memorial’s campuses, and contain at least one member from the Grenfell Campus.

Standing committee members include:

  • Vice-president (Research) (votes only in the case of a tie)
  • Program Administrator (non-voting position)
  • Program Secretary (non-voting position)
  • Senate Committee on Research Chair or Co-Chair (observer)

The mandate of this committee is to review nominations and applications, and to make recommendations to the President.

(k) 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 the peers in their field will form a vital piece of the overall selection.


In the context of this award, research refers to peer-reviewed, adjudicated or equivalent research outcomes and/or creative activity (including performance). Separate awards have been established to recognize and honour distinguished teaching and exceptional community service.

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 University Research Professorship 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 the candidate's contribution in a way easily understandable to those outside the discipline. This will be used for public announcements about the successful candidates as well as for a reminder to referees of the candidate's major contributions.

(4)  A maximum of five (5) selected works of the nominee or applicant. If necessary, these will be returned at the end of the adjudication process.

(5)  The names of five external (preferably international) referees at the rank of full professor and the nature of any relationship the candidate may have with these individuals.. The Committee shall be free to use these and other referees in seeking national and international appraisal of the candidate's scholarly record. The Committee may also seek any other opinion or advice as deemed appropriate.


It is your responsibility to ensure all contact information for your referees is complete and up to date. Incomplete or incorrect contact information could result in these referees receiving a late request, or not receiving it at all.


Do not include more than 5 referees.
Do not recommend referees who:

  • Have collaborated with you or any member of your research team within the last six years;
  • Have published with you in the last six years;
  • Have had a personal relationship with you or with any member of your research team;
  • Are from the same institution – the five referees you suggest must be from five different institutions.



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


Completed materials are to be sent electronically to researchawards@mun.ca by 5:00 PM on January 31st. If the nomination package contains books they can be sent to Tina Winsor, IIC1001.

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 University Research Professor. 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 January 2020