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Leading Ontario Researchers Awarded Polanyi Prize

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Leading Ontario Researchers Awarded Polanyi Prize

Province Supporting Innovation at Ontario Universities

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Ontario is recognizing leading researchers with the province's highest honour for exceptional contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine. 

The Polanyi Prize is awarded annually to five researchers who are in the early stages of their careers and are pursuing post-doctoral research at an Ontario university. These recipients represent the province's next generation of innovators. Among this year's recipients are researchers who are finding new ways to monitor treatment for Ontarians with cancer and other serious diseases, creating innovative solar and lighting technologies, and informing violence prevention efforts, among other notable achievements.

The 2015 recipients are:

  • Dr. Adam Shuhendler, University of Ottawa, for chemistry
  • Dr. Benoît Lessard, University of Ottawa, for chemistry
  • Dr. Riccardo Comin, University of Toronto, for physics
  • Dr. Matthew Teeter, Western University, for physiology/medicine
  • Dr. Kelly Babchishin, University of Ottawa, for physiology/medicine

Supporting excellence and ground-breaking research at Ontario universities is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario established the Polanyi Prizes in 1987 to honour the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, a 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry.
  • A panel directed by the executive heads of the Council of Ontario Universities selects prize recipients from a collection of nominees each year.
  • Ontario has increased funding for postsecondary education by 83 per cent since 2002.
  • In 2014, Ontario recommitted $250 million over three years for the Ontario Research Fund, which helps support the activities of world-class researchers.

Background Information


“The winners of this year’s Polanyi Prize provide us with evidence of the outstanding research and innovation being carried out at Ontario’s universities. Through their significant contributions each recipient illustrates a compelling desire to improve life. May Dr. Polanyi and his vital voice continue to inspire generations of scientists and scholars to come as we all work together towards building a more just and sustainable society.”

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

“Recipients of the Polanyi Prize truly represent the best researchers our universities have to offer and this year’s group is no exception. These individuals are strengthening our province’s reputation as a centre for excellence and innovation, while changing the way we approach key issues that directly impact Ontarians. It is truly a pleasure to honour and congratulate these promising researchers and their discoveries.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Minister of Research and Innovation

“The Polanyi Prizes recognize young researchers who have made great strides in the Nobel subjects. Each year, it is an honour to meet these promising scholars and learn about their work, and I thank the Ontario government for continuing to support the bravest new initiatives of the coming generation of researchers.”

Dr. John C. Polanyi

Nobel Laureate, Chemistry

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Education and Training