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It’s become somewhat of a tradition these last few years for me to look at the gender (im)balance of the major prizes and awards dished out by NSERC in Canada, because they don’t have a great track record of recognizing women (see my original post here, and update on the 2014 awards here).

It is therefore with mixed feelings that I present below the 2015 results.

For the FIRST TIME in 25 years, a woman was awarded the Gerhard Herzberg Medal (colloquially known as the prize for “Canada’s top scientist”) – Dr Victoria Kaspi from McGill.

And for only the second time, a woman was awarded the John Polyani Award – Dr Barbara Sherwood Lollar from the University of Toronto. A hearty congratulations to both!

But, sadly, the exuberant news ends there…

  • Brockhouse Canada Prize: 1 of 2 recipients a woman
  • Steacie Fellowships: 1/6
  • Brassard Prize: 0/1
  • Synergy Awards: 0/12

That gives an overall total of 4/23 recipients being women (or 17%). The long-term average is now 39 women of 239 recipients, or 17% (which I will sadly point out is still higher than last year’s 13%), and unchanged from where it was when I did the original analysis in 2013.

So while this is a huge day for Canadian science (regardless of gender), we still have work to do.


Footnote: see the 2013 post for more background and discussion on the issue