What makes the Canada Awards so special, and which attributes do the winners share? We asked Bob Masterson, chair of SCI Canada’s Nominations Committee.
Bob Masterson, Chair, SCI Canada Nominations Committee
Why are the Canada Awards special to you?
The chemistry industry in Canada is an important industry – Canada’s third largest manufacturing sector with shipments of more than $80 billion (£48m approx.) a year. Behind that economic impact, however, are people. And, among those people are leaders.
The SCI Canada awards identifies both the lifetime leaders, as well as emerging student leaders in the business of chemistry. This serves to celebrate the achievements and inspire others in their pursuit of innovative chemistries.
What is so unique about the Canada Medal and what attributes have the previous winners had? Similarly, is there anything that binds the winners of these other prestigious awards?
The Canada Medal is unique in part due to its prosperity. It has been awarded since 1939. Looking at past Medal winners in aggregate, one can associate these individuals with being builders. Many individuals do good work in safely and efficiently operating their facilities. The Medal winners, however, are the builders.
They have attracted and deployed significant capital to build out the chemistry industry to ensure future prosperity for all Canadians. This is no small task in an industry dominated by global multinationals and very few truly domestic companies in Canada.
>> Find out more about the group and their awards on our SCI Canada Group page.
Would you mind explaining how the nominations committee comes to a decision on the award winners?
The Committee is made up of individuals with strong connections to industry and academia. They use their own experiences and solicit input from colleagues and other organisations to develop a list of potential candidates.
Committee members wishing to propose a candidate must prepare a short testimonial of why they have identified the candidate. The committee considers those testimonials while also looking for balance and diversity across industry and academia, Canada’s many regions, different types of chemistry, as well as representation across Canada’s highly diverse population.
The Canada Awards celebrate the best in Canadian chemistry.
Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to in the pre-awards seminar?
The seminar gives us an opportunity to step back and reflect on the role and opportunity of chemistry as Canada transitions to be more sustainable. I look forward to hearing experts and people’s views on the important question of how we get there and what chemistry can contribute.
Why will it be so important to stage the awards in person this year (if possible)?
This year looks to be a special year. It will have been four years since SCI Canada last held an in-person Awards program. We all need some real time with real people. It’s long overdue and, for many, will be the first in-person event of any kind in over two years. I am sure there will be a lot of emotions.
The SCI Canada Awards 2022 will be held on 5 May 2022, in Toronto. Register your attendance on our event page.
>> Edited by Eoin Redahan. You can read more of his work here.