National Killam Program






Administration of the Killam Program by the NRC

The Killam Trusts, the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) signed a memorandum of understanding for the transfer of the administration of the Killam Program to the NRC starting in spring 2022 for the 2023 program cycle.

The NRC's role

As Canada's largest federal research and development organization with a strong commitment to research excellence, the NRC worked alongside the Killam Trusts and CCA in 2022, before solely administrating the National Killam Program in 2023. In addition, the NRC is committed to long term engagement with key stakeholders to support program delivery and continuous improvement.

The NRC is committed to making a positive difference for its stakeholders and serving Canada with integrity, accountability, and openness. In support of the National Killam Program, the NRC has developed a robust conflict of interest management procedure and governance framework to manage real or perceived conflict of interest. The NRC's role is to administer and deliver the National Killam Program. The NRC has no role in decision making regarding winners of the Killam Prize and the Dorothy Killam Fellowships. Clear policies, responsibilities and decision making authority have been implemented to ensure that the National Killam Program is administered and delivered by the NRC with integrity and transparency.

Overview of the Killam Program

The National Killam Program is privately funded through the generous contribution of Dorothy J. Killam to build Canada's future by encouraging advanced study. Since its inception, the Killam Trusts have provided more than $1 billion for higher education in Canada. There are more than 7,800 Killam laureates worldwide.

The Program's vision, mission and values are:

Vision: Building Canada's future through advanced study.

Mission: To provide scholarships, fellowships, prizes and other funding to scholars who contribute to building Canada's future and increasing the scientific attainment of Canadians through research excellence.

Values: Research excellence, innovation, humanity and multidisciplinary research.

Since its formation in 1967, the CCA Killam Program has been the only national-scale program in that it invites nominations for Canadian citizens from any research organization within Canada or abroad.

Killam Prizes and Killam Research Fellowships

The National Killam Program consists of the Killam Prizes and the Dorothy Killam Research Fellowships.

Killam Prizes

The Killam Prizes are awarded to active Canadian scholars who have distinguished themselves through sustained research excellence, making a significant impact in their respective fields in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, and engineering.

Dorothy Killam Fellowships

The new Dorothy Killam Fellowships launched in April 2022.

Like its predecessor program, the Dorothy Killam Fellowships provide support to scholars of exceptional ability by granting them time to pursue research projects of broad significance and widespread interest within the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering or studies linking any of these disciplines. These Fellowships are now specifically targeted to mid-career researchers in need of relief from teaching and administrative duties to focus on their research career.

In collaboration with the National Killam Program Advisory Board, the Killam Trusts and the research community, the National Killam Program Office (NKPO) have redesigned and renamed the Killam Research Fellowships. The new Dorothy Killam Fellowships centres the program on Dorothy Killam's vision, aligned with her goal of increasing the scientific and scholastic attainment of Canadians.

Dorothy Killam established a perpetual trust to realize her vision to build Canada's future through advanced study and fund generations of scholars in Canada. A Dorothy Killam Fellow is a leading researcher whose superior, ground-breaking and transformative research stands to positively improve the lives of Canadians. A Dorothy Killam Fellow is also someone whose work reflects one or more of the Killam attributes:

  • Inclusive Collaborator – whose work exemplifies inclusion and understanding of people, cultures and needs with participation among economic, social and cultural backgrounds
  • Barrier Breaker – whose original, transformational, future focused generation of knowledge and technology stands to challenge the way we live
  • Research Leader – who activates thoughtful cooperation among scholars, disciplines and institutions

Additional updates to the Fellowships include the following key components:

  • Funding has been increased from $70,000 to $80,000/year for two years, with 5-8 fellowships to be awarded each year
  • Nominations can come not only from universities but also from research organizations and networks, in which case they will coordinate with the nominee's institution
  • Candidate statements are required for each application to provide information on the candidates Knowledge Mobilization Plan (KMb) and how the candidate reflects the Killam attributes
  • Selection Process leverages experts to make recommendations to the Killam Trustees
  • Giveback model where recipients participate in community engagement and knowledge mobilization activities, as well as an interdisciplinary Killam Network
  • Program Monitoring ensures the program is achieving program delivery outcomes and objectives identified its EDI Action Plan, which seeks to encourage participation and application among underrepresented scholars

Vision for the redesigning of the 2023 National Killam Program

In preparation for the relaunch of the Killam Research Fellowships in spring 2022, the NRC met with hundreds of stakeholders to shape the vision of the program. Further, the following bodies have been created to enable the administration and delivery of the National Killam Program by the NRC:

National Killam Program Advisory Board (NK PAB): The NK PAB is an external advisory board providing input on strategy and Program operations. The NK PAB will offer strategic advice on matters relevant to the National Killam Program. NK PAB members act as ambassadors for the National Killam Program.

The National Killam Program Selection Committee (NKSC) is a standing committee responsible for recommending winners for both the Killam Prizes and the Dorothy Killam Fellowships. NKSC members are recognized experts with national and/or international stature who support the National Killam Program definition of research excellence and are committed to upholding Killam values in their deliberations.

The National Killam Program Office (NKPO): The NKPO is hosted at the NRC and is responsible for the administration of the National Killam Programming consistent with the objectives of Dorothy J. Killam's Will beginning with the 2023 Program cycle.


We would like to hear from you. Contact us with your ideas about how to increase the impact of the National Killam Research Fellowship program or if you're interested in serving as a peer reviewer for the selection process for the National Killam Program.