New $50,000 Bloomberg Manulife Prize 
to promote research into active lifestyles


Initiative aims to reward ideas that impact healthy lifestyle choices

McGill University, together with Lawrence S. Bloomberg and Manulife Financial is taking an instrumental step to combat the declining health of North Americans by establishing a major academic prize to recognize research achievements in the area of active health. The Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health is valued at $50,000 annually – making it the largest prize of its kind in Canada.

The Bloomberg Manulife Prize was created through two generous $1-million gifts – one from McGill graduate Lawrence Bloomberg, MBA’65, and the other from corporate partner Manulife Financial. The two have also established a fellowship fund in McGill’s Faculty of Education to support PhD students entering the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and studying in an area related to physical activity, health and lifestyle. The creation of the prize was announced today at a ceremony at McGill University.

“I want the Bloomberg Manulife Prize to help create a shift in people’s attitudes toward healthy living and I am confident that McGill – with its skills and talents and its international reputation for excellence and innovative research – can help achieve that,” explained Mr. Bloomberg.

McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum saluted Lawrence Bloomberg and Manulife Financial for their generosity and vision in creating the Prize and fellowships. “We are delighted that they chose to invest their support here at McGill, in our Faculty of Education, where healthy living is a cornerstone of innovative research, teaching and scholarship,” she said. “More broadly, the Bloomberg Manulife Prize and fellowships represent one of the most powerful paradigms for generating meaningful social change: a dynamic partnership that unites individual and corporate philanthropic vision with the unique capacity of a research university to develop and realize concrete advancements that help build a better, healthier world.”

The inaugural winner of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize is expected to be announced in the fall of 2011. The annual award will honour a researcher at a North American university whose work within the past five years has broadened our understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and well being.

The prize will take the form of a stipend to fuel ongoing research, and the recipient will be invited to deliver a public lecture and participate in a roundtable discussion before a live audience.

Lawrence S. Bloomberg, O.Ont., a Toronto-based financier, has had a long and distinguished business career and has also been actively involved in numerous community initiatives related to health, including many years as chair of the board at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. These experiences led him to focus his energies on improving health care and finding ways to better educate the population on issues related to health. In 2009, Mr. Bloomberg was presented with the prestigious Order of Ontario, in recognition of his volunteerism and philanthropic contributions to health care, innovation and education.

“The Bloomberg Manulife Prize will provide a welcome boost to the much needed research that still needs to be carried out at McGill and at universities across North America, not only to understand the issues behind illness, but to foster active health behaviours and positive lifestyle choices,” said Hélène Perrault, McGill’s Dean of Education and a Professor of Exercise Physiology. “The fellowships will allow the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education to attract new talent and to spearhead new initiatives aimed at enhancing Canadians’ health and physical activity.”

“Manulife Financial firmly believes in encouraging and promoting forward-thinking academic research that enhances healthy lifestyle choices. Our belief is that this work will lead to individuals benefitting significantly from a better quality of life,” said Donald A. Guloien, President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife. “As a result, we are very pleased to invest in this work and lend the Manulife name and financial support to this Prize and the graduate fellowships.”

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 22 countries and territories worldwide. For more than 120 years, clients worldwide have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Its international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients around the world. Manulife provides asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in life and property and casualty retrocession.

The gifts from Lawrence Bloomberg and Manulife Financial that have established the prize and fellowships contribute to Campaign McGill: History in the Making, which is raising the funds needed to attract and retain top students and faculty, increase access to quality education, and ensure that McGill remains one of the world’s great research-intensive and student-centred universities.

McGill University is also pleased to announce that the prize has received sponsorship endorsement from The Globe and Mail and WestJet Airlines.

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Contact Information

Julie Fortier
Media Relations Office, McGill University
julie.c.fortier [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398-6751