University Research Professorship provides valuable time for awardees

Nov 16th, 2021

Jeff Green

Memorial is encouraging nominations for its most prestigious award for research.

University Research Professors (URP) have acquired a designation above the rank of full professor.

The award 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.

Candidates will have a substantially superior and sustained academic record at the rank of full professor. They also must have had the time to advance their research program and gain international recognition.

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.

The URP honour has proven to be an important milestone in the careers of recent honorees.

Significant impact

Since being named URP three years ago, Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, says she’s been able to expand her research activities.

“I have been receiving more invitations to give keynote speeches at major conferences, to join journal editorial boards and to participate in high level, intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder forums, a lot of which can be attributed to the URP honour,” she told the Gazette.

Through her Too Big To Ignore: Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries Research, Dr. Chuenpagdee champions the multidisciplinary collaboration of more than 450 researchers and 20 organizations from approximately 55 countries to elevate issues and concerns affecting viability and sustainability of small-scale fisheries.

A dynamic researcher, Dr. Chuenpagdee’s work is rooted in real-world change. She has contributed to critical initiatives such as the development of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.

She is considered a world leader for fisheries governance research.

“The award has freed up time and enabled me to remain active in research,” she noted.

“Students and staff working in the projects seem to enjoy the distinction, too, when talking about who they work with.”

‘New projects’

Dr. Stephen Piercey, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, was named URP last year.

A Memorial alumnus, Dr. Piercey, is recognized as one of the top researchers in Canada and internationally for the study of volcanogenic massive sulphide mineral deposits.

His research has led to a much better understanding of the tectonic setting, style of mineralization and genesis of these deposits.

Dr. Piercey says the URP honour is providing him extra time to spend on his research.

“Time being the most valuable commodity on the planet, the bit extra that accompanies this award will be super helpful for finishing up existing work and moving into new areas and on to new projects,” he said.

Deadline Nov. 30

Completed nomination packages for University Research Professor, as well as the President’s Award for Outstanding Research, are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and must be submitted electronically to the vice-president (research), via

Terms of Reference and Conditions for both honours are available online.

Please contact your unit’s grants facilitator (or, if the unit has no grants facilitator, the person with signing authority for your unit) to confirm if there are earlier, internal deadlines. These internal deadlines must be factored into the timing of the development and submission of these awards.