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Dorothy Killam Fellowship application package

Fellowship description

Dorothy Killam had a vision of building Canada’s future through advanced study. Through her will, she established a perpetual trust to realize her vision and fund generations of scholars in Canada.

A Dorothy Killam Fellow is a leading researcher whose superior, ground-breaking, best-in-class research stands to have significant impact on a national or global scale. A Fellow is someone who also reflects some of the Killam attributes:

  • Inclusive collaborator
  • Barrier breaker
  • Research leader

The Dorothy Killam Fellowships support scholars who:

  • demonstrate commitment to building Canada’s future and alignment with Killam attributes
  • are early- to mid-career researchers (typically have completed their PhD no more than 15 years prior)
  • are employed at a Canadian research institution

Between 5 and 8 fellowships (subject to the approval of the Selection Committee and the performance of the fund) will be awarded annually. The fellowships are awarded to individuals, but the funds are paid to and administered by the Canadian university or research institute where the individual is employed.

Terms and conditions of the program

The Dorothy Killam Fellowships are valued at $80,000 CAD per year for a total of up to $160,000 for 2 years. A Dorothy Killam Fellow is relieved of teaching and administrative duties for the period of the fellowship. The funds are intended to assist the institution to cover the costs of replacement of the applicant while still paying regular salary and benefits during the 2-year fellowship period. Recipients must obtain support for research and laboratory costs from other sources. All fellowship dispersals are administered to the existing research institution of the applicant. Dorothy Killam Fellows will be recognized at the annual National Killam Celebration of Excellence event.

Dorothy Killam Fellows are expected to continue contributing to the Canadian research community after completion of their fellowship. There are mandatory giveback activities whereby recipients are expected to participate in community engagement and/or knowledge mobilization activities. Giveback will provide Fellows with mentorship and networking opportunities, facilitate speaking opportunities to encourage the next generation of career researchers, and engage Fellows in brand promotion. Fellowship winners are expected to attend award-related events which can include, but are not limited to, news conferences, award ceremonies and receptions, and to make themselves available for media interviews. They are asked to allow that photographs, videos and public information about themselves be used to promote the fellowship, as well as to provide copyright permission for the use of reproductions or clips of their work on collateral and communications materials associated with the Fellowship and on the Killam Trusts’, the National Research Council of Canada’s and partner websites and social media channels.

Individuals that receive funding from the National Killam Program must appropriately acknowledge the support of the National Killam Program, and, where applicable, key partners in any promotional materials associated with the funded activities. The Killam logo, branding representing the Killam visual identity and/or a written message acknowledging Killam support should be included on event signage, on social media and web content, on news releases and other promotional material. Recognition must be equal to that given to corporate funders or other sponsors or donors for similar support.

A Dorothy Killam Fellowship provides 2 full years of release time, beginning no later than January 1, 2024 following notification of the fellowship in early 2023. Support may not be requested for less than the full 2-year fellowship period. The support for the second year depends on provision and approval of an interim research report.

A Canadian university or research institute must agree to accept and administer the Dorothy Killam Fellowship funds under the terms set out by the National Killam Program. Institutions that receive the fellowship funds are expected to relieve the Fellows of all teaching and/or administrative responsibilities for the duration of the fellowship (up to 2 years). The institution must continue paying the Fellow’s full salary and benefits during the entire period of the fellowship.

Knowledge mobilization

In line with Dorothy Killam’s wishes, research funded by the National Killam Program should contribute to building Canada’s future through encouraging advanced study. Knowledge mobilization is defined as the dynamic and iterative process that:

  • includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically sound application of knowledge to improve the lives of Canadians
  • takes place between researchers and knowledge users and varies in intensity, complexity and level of engagement depending on the nature of the research and the findings

The National Killam Program, informed by the work of the Tri-councils (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research), the Royal Society of Canada, and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), recognizes that scholarly contributions are not limited to published journal articles, but can also include, amongst other contributions, article preprints, datasets, software, protocols, well-trained researchers, societal outcomes and policy changes resulting from research. For others, this may include community engagement initiatives, media production, or educational mentorship programs.

Recognizing that knowledge mobilization can be different for each research project, applicants are required to include in their candidate statement (see below in required documents) plans for a proposed knowledge mobilization strategy to share and communicate their research beyond traditional modes of scholarly output.

Application procedure

Applicants must complete the online application form, and provide the following documents while adhering to the indicated maximum word count and page number in English or French, by 23:59 (applicant’s local time) on June 17, 2022.

In alignment with the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Killam Program asks applicants to voluntarily provide self-identification data. The collection of self-identification data is a central piece of the National Killam Program’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving funding. This information increases the National Killam Program’s capacity to monitor progress on increasing EDI in their programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI.

Applications may come directly from individual researchers or from institutions on behalf of the applicant. In both cases, proof of eligibility via an attestation must be provided to demonstrate that the applicant meets the eligibility requirement of institutional employment for up to 2 years from the start of the fellowship.

Note that institutions (generally a university or research institute) may have an internal deadline before the National Killam Program deadline. Late or incomplete applications will be rejected.

Your application should contain:

  • Research proposal - up to 1,000 words in English or 1,200 words in French
    • Information on the proposed research, what is planned to be achieved, a detailed description of the approach, hypothesis, and how it advances knowledge in the field
    • Information on the proposed impact and some possible indicators that the applicant could use to measure their research outcomes
    • Information on the applicant’s knowledge mobilization plans, including where possible, non-traditional ways to disseminate knowledge and information. Some examples of non-traditional dissemination channels may include:
      • videos, blogs, podcasts, performances
      • number of policies influenced or informed, or number of patents or IP secured
      • article preprints, datasets made available, software, and/or protocols developed
      • well-trained researchers, improved societal outcomes and/or demonstrated policy changes
      • community engagement initiatives, media production, or educational mentorship programs
      • plans for early engagement with research communities and/or to work with diverse lab teams
      • personal commitment to training or plans for participation in research initiatives with underrepresented communities
      • plans for inclusive graduate student supervision
  • Candidate’s statement - up to 1,000 words in English or 1,200 words in French
    • Information on how the researcher or research aligns with Killam attributes
    • Applications must indicate how the work demonstrates or reflects 1 or more of the following Killam principles:
      • Inclusive collaborator - whose work exemplifies inclusion and understanding of people, cultures and needs with participation among all economic, social and cultural backgrounds
      • Barrier breaker - whose original, transformational, future-focused generation of knowledge and technology stands to change the way we live
      • Research leader - who activates thoughtful cooperation among scholars, disciplines and institutions to create a multiplier effect within the research ecosystem
  • Curriculum vitae - up to 30 pages in English or 36 pages in French
    • A full CV, including information on all publications, presentations, and grants and other fellowships received, awards and/or general recognition.
  • Two (2) reference letters - up to 1,000 words in English or 1,200 words in French
    • Reference letters from up to 2 individuals are required.
  • Proof of employment - eligibility attestation
    • Applicants must attest that they meet the eligibility requirement of institutional support for up to 2 years from the start of the fellowship. This is attested to directly by the institution and the applicant.

Failure to submit an application through the correct channel with all of the supporting documents will result in an application being rejected from the competition. Submission of all required documents does not guarantee fellowship receipt. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. Please ensure your application adheres to the above indicated maximum word limit and page number.

If you require support in submitting a proposal or for accommodations with regards to the application, submission, or the reporting process, please email

Evaluation criteria

All applications, whether submitted by an individual or institution, are evaluated by the Selection Committee against the following criteria:


  • The importance of the research toward building Canada’s future

Advancement of knowledge

  • Details on the proposed research, how it advances knowledge in the field and the applicant’s knowledge mobilization strategy


  • Description of the approach, hypothesis and statement of problem


  • An assessment of the knowledge and the proposed outcomes of this research
  • What are the immediate outcomes of the project and how attainable are they?
  • How attainable are the long-term outcomes of the project?
  • Do the candidate’s documents provide a clear, compelling and specific knowledge mobilization plan, as well as information on how the applicant reflects the Killam attributes?

The Selection Committee will evaluate the nominations on their merit, compared with each other and in a national context and may use publicly available sources of information.
The fellowships will be offered to candidates considered outstanding by the Committee. Where assessment results are not meaningfully different, the Committee will consider diversity and inclusion of equity-deserving groups.
Anonymous and discretionary feedback from the National Killam Program Office to applicants will be shared once the annual winners have been announced.

Eligibility criteria

Dorothy Killam Fellowships are intended as release time from employment for established scholars who have demonstrated outstanding research ability. Typically, a Fellowship recipient is a faculty member at a Canadian university with significant teaching and/or administrative responsibilities. For example, researchers employed in settings such as a hospital or another scientific institute may qualify if they demonstrate outstanding ability and if their proposed project meets standards of scholarly merit.

Equity, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to achieving research excellence. The National Killam Program encourages applications from candidates whose research has consequence and impact, setting precedents and yielding transformative results that serve to build Canada’s future through advanced study. To be eligible, applicants:

  • must be an individual living and working in Canada at a Canadian institution(s) in the early-to-mid stage in their career (typically no more than 15 years since the completion of a PhD)
  • must be employed by a university or other research institute for the duration of the fellowship (2 years) and will submit a proof of employment
  • may not have already been awarded a fellowship from the Killam Program of the Canada Council for the Arts. Please note that National Killam Program Office employees, members of the National Killam Program Advisory Board, or the Selection Committee may not apply

Note that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee receipt of fellowship. The National Killam Program Office retains the right to interpret the contents of these application guidelines and of the online instructions and form. Applications may be submitted by individuals or by institutions on behalf of the applicant. In both cases, proof of employment for the full 2 years during the length of the fellowship must be provided to meet eligibility requirements.


The National Killam Program Office and the Selection Committee will not release any information in the application that is specified as confidential, including names or any self-identifying information. Anonymous demographic information may be aggregated and used by the National Killam Program Office to measure and report on performance.

The Privacy Act gives individuals the right to access and request correction of personal information about themselves. The National Killam Program Office will protect personal information as required by the Act.