Distinguished James McGill Professors, James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars

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General |Distinguished James McGill Professor |Funding | Nomination | Internal Review Procedure | Standing Internal Review Committee | Evaluation Criteria | Minerva Appointment Form | Budget and Administration Guidelines | Awardees |

McGill Internal Awards

William Dawson Scholars

James McGill Professors

Distinguished James McGill Professors


In 2000, McGill created two internal recognition awards, namely the William Dawson Scholars and the James McGill Professors. Created in parallel with the federal Canada Research Chair (CRC) Program, these McGill awards aimed to recognize the outstanding research contributions of tenure-track and tenured academic staff members at the University. The names of the first award holders were announced 1 November 2000, and the awards took effect on 1 January 2001.

William Dawson Scholar The William Dawson Scholar award recognizes a scholar developing into an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber who is poised to become a leader in his or her field, similar to that of a CRC Tier 2 chair holder.

William Dawson Scholars must be tenure-track assistant or associate professors. They hold the award for a five-year term. The award is renewable once, upon performance review.
James McGill Professor The James McGill Professor award recognizes a senior scholar’s status as an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber and an international leader in his or her field similar to that of a CRC Tier 1 chair holder.

James McGill Professors must be tenured full professors. Their award will be held for a seven-year term, and is renewable once upon performance review.

Distinguished James McGill Professor

A new recognition award has been introduced in 2017, the Distinguished James McGill Professors. This award recognizes the sustained scholarship and achievements of McGill's most accomplished tenured academic staff currently at the University. With the introduction of this new distinction, conditions of the the James McGill Professor have been revised as indicated below.

The Distinguished James McGill Professor award recognizes a late-career scholar's sustained scholarship of world-class caliber and international leadership, similar to that of a CRC Tier 1 chair holder.

Nominees for these awards will include current James McGill Professors who have held the award for at least two terms of seven years and have maintained an outstanding research record. In light of the CRC regulations announced on 2 November 2017 regarding the maximum term of 14 years for Tier 1 Canada Research Chair holders, CRC Tier 1 chair holders who can no longer renew may also be nominated for the Distinguished James McGill Professor award.

The award may be held until retirement. After retirement, the awardee will be allowed to carry the title Emeritus Distinguished James McGill Professor

Funding The William Dawson Scholar and the James McGill Professor awards include both:
  • a temporary annual salary supplement in the form of a fixed academic stipend, and
  • an annual research allowance

The combined total of the salary stipend and research grant may not exceed $25,000. The award holder may decide in consultation with his/her dean how he/she wishes to receive the award. Academic stipends are normally selected at either $10,000 or $15,000, with the balance of the award being allocated to a research fund. 

The Distinguished James McGill Professor award provides for either a $10,000 academic stipend or a $15,000 research grant allowance. DJMPs will choose one of these options at the time of appointment, and may request a change once annually.

Nomination Process Nominations are submitted to the Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies) jointly by the dean and department chair on behalf of the nominee.

All nominations will be subjected to an internal review process. Particular consideration should be given to staff from the four designated groups: women, persons with a disability, Indigenous peoples, and visible minorities.

The file submitted on behalf of the nominees should include:
  • An updated curriculum vitae showing current peer-reviewed funding, graduate student supervision and Highly Qualified Personnel training, and a list of publications and scholarly contributions during the previous 6 years;
  • For renewals only, the file includes a performance report of achievements prepared by the candidate according to CRC Guidelines;
  • A project title and a 3-5-page summary of the proposed research for the upcoming term of the award;
  • A letter of recommendation from the department chair and the dean. For joint appointments, the letter of recommendation should include the signature of  the department chair of each department and/or dean of Faculties to which the nominee is appointed.
The nominee’s complete file is to be submitted in electronic format to the Office of the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic) via e-mail to naomi.belinsky [at] mcgill.ca (Naomi Belinsky).

Deadlines for submission of dossiers is 1 February.
The Internal Review Procedure The internal review of each submission, whether for the initial award or the renewal, will be carried out by the members of the Standing Internal Review Committee with selected CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC-disciplinary expertise. This is the same committee that reviews the CRC applications in the current term. Renewals are not automatic but made following a review of the award holders’ activities during the preceding term of the award. For a favorable recommendation the Committee will consider not whether award holder achieved the expectations that gave rise to the initial award, but whether the award holder currently meets the standards for renewal of an equivalent CRC award (see CRC Guidelines).

The Standing Internal Review Committee will make a recommendation to the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic), who will consider the Committee’s recommendation and decide whether to grant or renew the award, as applicable. Awardees will be notified of the PVPA’s decision by letter, with a copy to the department chair and dean.

A William Dawson Scholar who is promoted to full Professor in the first term of the award may not be renewed as William Dawson Scholar. There is no promotion from a William Dawson Scholar to a James McGill Professor, or from a James McGill Professor to a Distinguished James McGill Professor. The staff member may be recommended for the higher level award by way of the same nomination process and will be subject to the same internal review as other candidates for that award.
The Standing Internal Review Committee


The nominee’s file will be reviewed by the Standing Internal Review Committee (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) matched to the content expertise of the candidate.

The committee consists of the Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies) and six tenured professors of the University chosen by the Associate Provost, in consultation with deans, so as to ensure appropriate representation of Faculties and disciplines (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC). The Senior Employment Equity Advisor is also a member of the committee as the Equity Advisor.


Members are normally assigned staggered terms of two years each starting 1 September or 1 January.
Evaluation Criteria
For James McGill Professors and for Distinguished James McGill Professors For William Dawson Scholars
The file must demonstrate that the nominee:
  • is an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber and leader in his or her field;
  • has successfully attracted, and continues to attract, excellent trainees, students and future researchers to the university or affiliated institute; and
  • is carrying out a program of research that is producing leading-edge results that are making a significant impact at the international level.
The file must demonstrate that the nominee is developing into an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber who is poised to become a leader in his or her field.
The more specific criteria for evaluation are the same as those described by the CRC program, and can be found on the CRC webpage Selection criteria.
Minerva Appointment Form Once the PVPA's letter is issued confirming or renewing the award, a Minerva Appointment Form must be issued using the appropriate DJMP/JMP/WDS position code as indicated on the Award, Stipend and Other Payment Codes page.

Faculties and Departments are reminded that changes in academic stipends require prior approval by the Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies).
Budget and Administration Guidelines

Research Allowance Usage

The research allowance can be used as follows:
  • The amount and duration of the grant are specified in the letter of notification of the award.
  • The research fund associated with the award is to be used exclusively for purposes of research and scholarship. It is not a supplement to the awardee's income.
  • The use of the research fund is subject to all applicable University policies and regulations on research, especially those related to ethics and conflict of interest.
  • Travel expenses and personal expense reimbursements for the awardee must be approved by the awardee's Chair/Director/Dean, as applicable, and must adhere to the University's policy.
  • All software, books, equipment, or other property acquired by the awardee with funds from this award are the property of the University. The awardee is expected to make such acquisitions available to the awardee's department, school or Faculty insofar as this is compatible with the awardee's own research program.
  • All administrative and office equipment, including cellular phones, tablets, and furniture are not eligible research fund expenditures without adequate justification.
  • Distinguished James McGill/James McGill/William Dawson awards adhere to the CRC Administrative Guidelines and the Tri Agency Financial Administrative Guidelines.

End of Fiscal Year Balances and Top-Up Policy

To ensure award holders make full use of their research allowance, if there is a balance in the research fund at the end of the fiscal year (i.e. April 30), for the following fiscal year the award holder’s research fund will be topped-up with a research allocation which takes into account the unspent amount as follows.

For example:
Annual Research Allocation Amount Spent in FY Balance at FY End Top-up Amount
(Start of New FY)
Balance at Start of New FY Carry-Forward of Unspent Amounts
$15,000 $3,000 $12,000 $3,000 $15,000 $0
If there is a need to carry forward part or all of the unspent end-of-year amount, the chair holder is asked to present a written request to the Associate Provost (Equity and Academic Policies) with a copy to naomi.belinsky [at] mcgill.ca (Naomi Belinksy) before March 15th. The request must provide details of the special circumstances that resulted in the unspent amount, the compelling reason to be allowed to carry forward part or all of the unspent amount, and a spending plan for use of the funds in the next fiscal year. Requests received after the stated deadline cannot be accommodated.
Awardees See McGill's current  Distinguished James McGill Professors, James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars by visiting the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic)'s Distinguished Professors portal webpage.