Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Sponsor deadline: Monday, June 7, 2021
Internal deadline: Thursday, April 1, 2021

Award details

Previously known as the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships, NSERC awards six Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships annually. The Fellowship provides support to an early-stage faculty member for two years, free of teaching and administrative responsibilities.

As NSERC limits institutions to a maximum of six nominations, UBC has a simplified preliminary selection process (outlined below) to ensure that UBC’s strongest candidates are submitted in line with NSERC’s instructions and criteria. NSERC is strongly encouraging institutions to consider equity, diversity and inclusion in the nomination processes.

The Fellowships guidelines, eligibility and selection criteria were modified in 2020. These changes are summarized below:

  • To be eligible, candidates must have held an independent academic position for 10 years or less as of June 1, 2021. Eligibility calculations may incorporate career interruptions.
  • Candidates must self-nominate
  • Selection criteria (and their weightings) are: 
    • Research achievements and impacts (40%)
    • Outreach, mentorship and leadership (30%)
    • Future directions (30%)

Complete guidelines


As the fellowship requires a two-year release, candidates should inform their department heads prior to submitting a preliminary self-nomination.

As the complete McDonald Fellowship nomination is a time-consuming, multi-page dossier, a simplified preliminary self-nomination is used for the internal selection process.

The preliminary self-nomination consists of a one-page Accomplishment Statement and an up-to-date UBC CV  that must be submitted using the online form below.

    The Accomplishment Statement should be written by the nominee, in the first person. The formatting should be 12-point font. The title of the Accomplishment Statement should read “Research Accomplishments of [insert nominee’s full name]”. Please address succinctly each of the three selection criteria of the full nomination (see above).
  • UBC CV
    Note: Candidates should clarify their role in collaborative publications


If six or fewer preliminary self-nominations are received, the VPRI Office will immediately notify all candidates of satisfactory nominations, who can then start to prepare the complete McDonald Fellowship self-nomination.

If more than six preliminary nominations are received, the VPRI Office will activate an internal committee to evaluate the preliminary nominations in line with the NSERC criteria and select UBC’s six leading McDonald nominees.  This committee will determine its selections in April. Note that while the award is labeled an early career award, awardees tend to be closer to mid-career and near the end of their eligibility period

Full nominations must be prepared by nominees and submitted to the VPRI Office (approx. 1 week prior to NSERC’s submission deadline). Nominations will be endorsed and forwarded to NSERC by the VPRI Office before the national submission deadline.


The preliminary nomination should be submitted by filling out the online nomination form and uploading the two required documents (accomplishment statement and CV) in PDF format. 


The deadline to submit the preliminary nomination is Thursday April 1, 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact Pia Smets, Research Development and Awards Officer,

More information

Please review the NSERC nomination guidelines at this page: