Why Prizes and Awards

Prizes and awards recognize UBC faculty researchers’ innovative and impactful scholarly achievements at the provincial, national and international level.

These accolades celebrate accomplishments of faculty at all career stages and establish UBC as a global centre of research excellence, helping us to attract funding partners and the world’s leading academic researchers.

UBC’s strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, emphasizes the critical importance of engaging, retaining and supporting the scholarship of our outstanding faculty through Strategy 1: Great People, and Strategy 10: Research Culture.

Tips on navigating the research awards landscape:

  • Awards and prizes recognise demonstrated research achievements and impacts at all career stages, and across all disciplines. Consider an awards laddering strategy, where for example early- and mid-career faculty may aim for disciplinary or divisional awards prior to national or international awards. Also consider UBC’s internal research awards as part of an overall awards strategy.
  • UBC award winners are encouraged to “give back” and nominate their colleagues for prizes, as well as mentor their junior colleagues on award nominations (finding nominators, selecting arm’s length referees, award laddering, etc.). Certain awards and honours require previous winners or inductees to nominate, for example Royal Society of Canada – consult our directory of UBC award winners as one means of finding a nominator.
  • Oftentimes, there is no way to know if a nominee was a finalist for an award, so unsuccessful results should not necessarily be interpreted as a reflection of the nomination package or the nominee. Unsuccessful results can be discouraging, but resubmissions are often allowed and encouraged by award sponsors the following year. Any nomination package takes a lot of time and effort to prepare – consider revising and submitting to another competition, and contact ORPA for help with this.
  • Even though many competitions do not allow self-nominations, potential nominees are encouraged to advocate for themselves within their department, school or faculty to be nominated. Annual, tenure, or promotion reviews can be an occasion to discuss potential nomination opportunities with department heads.
  • Award and prize winners are typically severely lacking in representation from historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized populations. Equity, diversity and inclusion must be integrated into all processes of award nominations. In consultation with the Institutional Council for Research Prizes and Awards (ICRPA), ORPA is developing guidance and materials around better practices in EDI in award nominations – these will complement UBC’s many EDI-related resources around hiring, training, research practices, etc. UBC VPRI strongly encourages faculties, departments, schools and institutes to consider EDI in award nominations and to make special efforts to nominate colleagues from historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized populations.

ORPA can support you with all of these steps, and more – please consult our services and contact us for support.

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