Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research

Established in 1985, the Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research, one of UBC's most prestigious research prizes, is named in honour of Professor Emeritus Charles A. McDowell.

Professor Emeritus Charles McDowell was head of the Chemistry Department from 1955 until 1981 and one of the giants of UBC’s history. His vision, and his greatest achievement, was to create a vital, modern department, first class in both teaching and research. He realized in particular that the greatness of a university is set by its research achievements. 

The award, consisting of a medal and a certificate, will be made to an outstanding young member of the faculty of UBC who has demonstrated excellence in pure or applied scientific research.  



The Charles A. McDowell Award is available to fulltime faculty members with tenure or tenure-track at the University of British Columbia. The recipient must be currently in receipt of a research grant from NSERC, have spent at least five (5) years on the staff of the University of British Columbia, and be nominated in a year not more than 12 greater than the year they received the PhD degree.


October 15, 2017

Note: When the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.


Faculty members may not apply on their own behalf; two to three tenure track faculty members in the nominee’s Faculty must nominate them.

Nominators will complete all documentation.

The final nomination package is submitted via the form below for adjudication by the Faculty Research Awards Committee.   

Deans' Acknowledgement (signature no longer required)

For tracking purposes and to avoid duplication, nominators are encouraged to advise their respective Deans' offices of nominations. The signature of the Dean is NOT required for nominations.

Nomination submission

In addition to completing the fields and supplying a 50-word citation in the nomination form below, the following material must also be uploaded by the nominator:

  • Nomination letter (two-page maximum)
  • Official UBC CV format required 
  • Three External Letters of Support

Full details and requirements are outlined on the form below

Questions ?

Please ensure that ALL nomination material is gathered prior to starting the submission, as the form cannot be saved for later completion once started.

Nomination Form

Nominee Information



Nominators' Information
Nominator 1
Nominator 2
Nominator 3 (optional)

Nomination Letter

Please upload ONE collective letter (2-page maximum) signed by all nominating individuals in PDF format.

File should be named in the format:  Last_Name_of_Nominee_NominationLetter.pdf

  • Nominators are asked to submit ONE collective letter signed by all nominating individuals. The nomination letter should not be more than two pages in length, font size no smaller than 11 pt. Letters exceeding the two page maximum will not be accepted. The letter must be signed by all nominators and must include the name, title and affiliation of nominators.
  • The letter should frame the achievements of the candidate for a non-specialist, multidisciplinary, university-wide committee.  
  • It should set the subject matter and the contribution of the research in perspective. It should also illustrate how the candidate has had an impact in his or her field.
  • The letter should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and why the candidate should be selected to receive the award.
  • Scholarly publications, which form the basis for the nomination, should be cited but should NOT be included with the nomination. 
  • Other relevant evidence such as book reviews or letters of critical comment about the cited works may be included. Documentation submitted in support of a current nomination for the Killam Prize can be used


Files must be less than 20 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.

External Letters of Support
  • It is the responsibility of the nominators to collect three support letters for the nomination file. Letters must be signed. Letters in excess of three will not be considered.
  • Referees should be external to UBC and internationally recognized in their field (i.e. outside of UBC and preferably one from outside of Canada).
  • Referees must be at arm’s length and may not include thesis or dissertation supervisor(s), anyone the candidate has supervised, or anyone with the candidate has collaborated (as coauthor or co-investigator) within the past 24 months. References are deemed crucial in the selection process thus letters should be objective assessments of the nominee’s suitability for the prize. 
  • Files should be named Nominee_Last_Name_Referee1.pdf, Nominee_Last_Name_Referee2.pdf, Nominee_Last_Name_Referee3.pdf
external referee 1


Files must be less than 20 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.


External Referee 2


Files must be less than 20 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.


External Referee 3


Files must be less than 20 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.


Please include a brief 50-word citation of the candidate's research in lay language that a non-expert will be able to understand (the citation should not exceed the maximum of 50 words).



Files must be less than 50 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.