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New focused strategy targets external awards for Concordia faculty

The university expands its efforts to support recognition and prizes for researchers and research creators
November 8, 2021
By Amy Sharaf


Concordia’s approach to securing external awards and prizes is shifting gears. The goal is to garner more success and further the innovative research and research-creation efforts and outside opportunities available to faculty.

Since 2019, the university has been moving away from an ad hoc approach to nominating researchers and research creators for external honours, to a focused, process-driven strategy. This approach connects all levels of the university and significantly expands both the pool of high-quality nominees and their success with major prize opportunities.

“Instead of scrambling to find nominations each year for particular awards, we’re establishing an institutional process to support this,” says Monica Mulrennan, associate vice-president of research, development and outreach, in the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies (OVPRGS) and professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment.

To do so, OVPRGS has created new positions and expanded existing ones to better focus their efforts. This includes everything from liaising with the University Research Committee at the institutional level to working with associate deans of research and faculty research committees to establish faculty-level awards, honours and prizes committees.

The university is putting significant emphasis on embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in these processes.

External prizes and awards database

To bolster their work, OVPRGS recently launched an external awards database to allow researchers to proactively search through the nearly 800 awards themselves. Mulrennan calls it a more inclusive, democratized and grounded approach to nominations.

It enables colleagues to find items of interest, put forward their peers, suggest their own candidacy or apply themselves. And it provides the added benefit of faculty support during the process, with concerted help from Concordia’s Office of Research for major provincial, national and international prizes and awards.

The database was specifically designed to facilitate multiple pathways to nominations.

“Prizes and awards bring important recognition to the achievements of individual researchers and research creators. But they also have implications for departments, faculties and the university because prizes and awards, as a measure of the quality of our scholarship, enhance our institutional reputation and influence global rankings,” Mulrennan says.

“These in turn contribute to a culture of excellence at the university allowing us to recruit and retain top researchers.”

Paula Wood-Adams, interim vice-president of research and graduate studies, says she hopes faculty will make use of the new database and take an active role in helping secure external honours.

“By adopting a longer-term perspective, proactively seeking out opportunities and leveraging institutional support in the process, my hope is for Concordia researchers to obtain awards that will not only benefit their careers, but also the overall university research community.”

On November 17, OVPRGS will hold a town hall for faculty members only on external prizes and awards. Those interested should reach out to their faculty research development advisors for more information.

Learn more about
research at Concordia.

Read more about the University Prizes and Awards Strategy.


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