CAN New Investigator Award

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience New Investigator Award recognizes outstanding research achievements by a neuroscientist at the early stage of his or her career. The award is given based on (i) excellence in research and (ii) demonstration of leadership.

Award: The awardee will deliver a lecture at the CAN annual meeting. The award consists of economy class travel to the meeting (1), accommodation at the conference hotel for three nights, complimentary conference registration and a $1000 award and plaque presented at the CAN annual meeting.

Evaluation criteria

Evaluation criteria for CAN are informed and updated according to best practices and in alignment with Canadian tri-council (NSERC, SSHRC & CIHR) standards. CAN also supports the following statement from CIHR ( and the DORA principles.

The quality and impact of research cannot be measured through journal publications alone. Research results and outcomes are multifaceted, can reflect multiple types of knowledge and ways of knowing and must be assessed on their own merit. High-quality research outcomes are achieved in many ways, including but not limited to: publishing research articles; reporting new knowledge (such as presenting at conferences and other venues); developing new technologies, producing software and intellectual property; sharing data; contributing to policy decisions; producing highly trained personnel and working in partnership with various sectors of society. Increasingly, funding agencies, research institutions, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, citizens and patients, and researchers themselves, agree on the importance of including a broader set of research outcomes and adopting assessment processes that recognize their value.

The DORA principles are reflected in CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC’s overall approaches to research assessment, and in their shared commitment to continuous improvement toward equitable and inclusive assessment practices. A number of the Tri-council initiatives and policies support research excellence and align with the recommendations in DORA, including research data management practices, open access publishing, responsible conduct of research, ethical conduct of research involving humans; and the commitment to re-examine research excellence through the Tri-Agency Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan.

Nominations will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. Excellence in research

Nominees will have evidence of significant contributions and a strong record of research (as defined by – but not limited to – the typical tri-council metrics) in a field of neuroscience which clearly demonstrates independent thought and originality.

Significant contributions can include (but are not limited to) peer-reviewed publications, presentations, intellectual property, other knowledge translation activities, etc., Awards, degrees, credentials, etc., clinical practice, policy development, specialized training, strategic employment positions, etc.

  1. Demonstration of leadership

Nominees must demonstrate their commitment to science leadership within the broader community, such as, but not limited to, mentorship, commitment to EDI, advocacy work, science communication and outreach.

Evidence for excellence in science leadership can include academic leadership in science concomitant with their career stage. Examples of leadership activities include (but not be limited) to engagements as a trainee or early career researcher in communities of practice (e.g. science societies at the institutional, regional, national or international level), contribution to efforts aiming to increase diversity in neuroscience, sustained engagement with policymakers (local, provincial, federal) and decision making bodies (e.g. serving and contributing to boards and councils in a capacity as a scientific leader, serving on advisory committees to government, industry, education, policy-makers in a capacity as an expert scientist, etc.)


Candidates must hold a PhD or MD degree (or equivalent), hold an academic or independent research appointment, be within 7 years of their first appointment in a Canadian university or affiliated research institution at the time of application. Time taken for leaves (parental, family, relocation, etc.) will not count towards the 7-year total and should be noted accordingly (2).

CAN acknowledges that the best research comes from a richly diverse community and, therefore, encourages applications from women and members of under-represented groups.

Nomination process

A full nomination package will include:

  • A completed nomination webform
  • A one-page statement from the candidate, listing qualifications for the award
  • A 5-page curriculum vitae
  • A list of publications (including a clearly identified list of 5 most significant contributions)
  • Up to two letters of recommendations submitted independently to the following email address:

Nominees must submit all information and documents through the online nomination form on the CAN website. Letters of recommendation clearly stating the name of the candidate must be submitted to CAN directly by email by the nomination deadline.

To Apply: View the call for nominations.

(1) Travel to be arranged by the recipient. Hotel accommodation will be made by CAN. Receipts for travel to be sent to the CAN Secretariat within 14 days after the conference for reimbursement of expenses, plus the honorarium.

(2) Time spent in research appointments in a non-academic setting (e.g., industry, government) count towards the 7-year limit if the candidate has been actively engaged in research, as demonstrated by the candidate’s publication record, and the candidate was not considered to be in training (e.g., as a student or postdoctoral fellow). 

Read about past laureates: