Science in Canada’s North

Awards and Fellowships


New: Applications for the 2020 Weston Family Awards in Northern Research (formerly the W. Garfield Weston Awards in Northern Research) are now being accepted. Please visit for more information.

Applications are due Monday January 20th at 5:00pm ET.


This prestigious $100,000 Weston Family Prize recognizes significant contributions that have helped to shape our thinking and understanding of the North. Prize winners Dr. Wayne Pollard (2019), Dr. Derek Muir (2018), Dr. Michel Allard (2017), Dr. John England (2016), Dr. Ian Stirling (2015), Dr. Charles Krebs (2014), Dr. John Smol (2013), Dr. Louis Fortier (2012), and Dr. Serge Payette (2011) have all made lasting contributions while cultivating the next generation of northern scientists.

2019 Recipient: Dr. Wayne Pollard
Professor, Department of Geography, McGill University

Dr. Wayne Pollard has dedicated more than 40 years to analyzing permafrost. Through his research, he has identified the impossible in the Arctic – perennial springs with running water below the earth’s surface. This discovery captivated the attention of the Canadian Space Agency and NASA to aid in the search for water, and potential life on other planets with extremely cold climates including Mars, the Earth’s moon and Enceladus – Saturn’s sixth largest moon. His breakthroughs, particularly on ground ice and groundwater interaction with permafrost, have led to numerous innovations in Northern research and have enriched our understanding of climate change.

Read more about Dr. Pollard and previous recipients of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research


Through a competitive process, awards are presented at the graduate and postdoctoral levels to outstanding students and scientists. They were previously administered by the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) and are now administered by Scholarship Partners Canada (SPC), a part of Universities Canada. Inquiries can be directed to the Weston Family Awards’ dedicated Program Officer, Jonathon Moir:; Tel: 613-563-1236 ext. 219.

Applications for the 2020 Weston Family Awards in Northern Research are now being accepted. Please visit for more information. Applications are due Monday January 20th at 5:00pm ET.

Highlighted here are some of the award recipients who are advancing our understanding of important scientific issues facing the North:

Kelsey Russell

Masters Candidate, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

University of Northern British Columbia

Kelsey’s research focuses on a woodland caribou herd in west-central Yukon. She is examining the relationship between this herd and fire – how and why these animals use burned areas and how to predict when they can once again become sustainable habitats. Her findings will provide valuable insight into the conservation and management of caribou habitat.

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David Callaghan

Masters Candidate, Biological Engineering

University of Manitoba

Increased development and mining in Canada’s North typically impacts water-ways and lakes which, in turn, affect species of fish. David’s research will characterize spawning habitat and behaviour, leading to a better understanding of the reproduction of northern lake trout. He hopes his results will map out ways to conserve and help sustain the diversity of species and northern fisheries.

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Dr. Frédéric Bouchard

Postdoctoral Fellow

Université de Montréal

Aquatic ecosystems are integral to biogeochemical cycles. Frédéric’s research in permafrost regions, such as Bylot Island in Nunavut, will help to create an understanding of how the land and water aspects of the carbon cycle respond to permafrost breakdown. This research will also provide insight into how this process will be affected by ongoing and future climate change.

Dr. Corinne Pomerleau

Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Manitoba

Corinne is studying trophic relationships and the feeding ecology of the bowhead whale and other baleen whales in Baffin Bay in the context of rapid climate change. Her research will aid our understanding of the Eastern Canada-West Greenland bowhead whale population and their place in the food chain.

Laura Thomson

PhD Candidate, Geography

University of Ottawa

Laura is studying the multi-decadal response of Arctic mountain glaciers to changing climate conditions. Her field work involves installing and servicing weather stations and high-precision GPS stations that monitor ice motion. Laura was also named a Weston Scholar in 2004 through the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation.

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Noémie Boulanger-Lapointe

PhD Candidate, Geography

University of British Columbia

Noémie’s work centers on the availability and nutritional value of berry species in the Canadian Arctic. She is evaluating environmental and climatic factors in addition to human and animal harvesting affecting four species of berries at the landscape level. This is the largest study done to date adding a wealth of information to knowledge of the Arctic food chain.

David Yurkowski

PhD Candidate, Environmental Research

University of Windsor – GLIER

David is studying the ringed seals’ foraging habits, movement and use of habitat as related to the availability of resources and abundance. The ringed seals are an integral part of the Arctic ecosystem as well as the Inuit culture. His research will provide important information about the implications of climate change for this species.

Meagan Grabowski

Masters Candidate, Zoology

University of British Columbia

Meagan’s work takes her to the Kluane Region of the Yukon Territory. She is looking at how factors such as nutrients, herbivory and climate affect boreal shrub growth. As temperatures rise, knowledge in this area could be instrumental in projecting future vegetation change and climate feedback.

Philippe Galipeau

Masters Candidate, Habitat and Wildlife Management

University of Quebec

Philippe is studying the connection between resource selection behaviour and successful reproduction in the rough-legged hawk, the peregrine falcon, the gyrfalcon and the snowy owl in the Canadian High Arctic. This is part of a larger study examining ecological components of birds, such as these, in the context of climate change and industrial development.

Ashley Dubnick

Masters Candidate, Glaciology

University of Alberta

Ashley focuses on the influence of glacier ice and melt waters on the biogeochemical environment in the area of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Her research will provide information on the sustainability of ecosystems supporting marine mammals, seabirds and other endemic species, as well as high local and regional biodiversity.