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

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. The NRC is committed to long term engagement with key stakeholders to support program delivery and continuous improvement.

The NRC is also 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 developed a robust conflict of interest management procedure and governance framework to manage potential, 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 were 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 8,000 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.

Killam Prizes and Dorothy Killam Fellowships

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

The Dorothy Killam Fellowships centre 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

Updates to the redesigned Fellowships include:

  • Funding was increased from $70,000 to $80,000/year for 2 years, with 5-8 fellowships to be awarded each year
  • Applications can come from researchers employed at universities, research organizations, and networks with support from their institution
  • Research proposals include information on the candidate's Knowledge Mobilization Plan (KMb)
  • Candidate statements are required for applicants to share how they reflect one or more the Killam attributes
  • Selection Process leverages external peer reviewers and the National Killam Selection Committee (NKSC) to make recommendations to the Killam Trustees
  • Giveback model requires recipients to participate in community engagement and knowledge mobilization activities, as well as an interdisciplinary Killam Network
  • Program monitoring improves achievement of program delivery outcomes and objectives identified in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which seeks to encourage participation and application among equity-deserving groups

New funding opportunity:
Killam NRC Paul Corkum Fellowships

The Killam NRC Paul Corkum Fellowships honour Dr. Paul Corkum's outstanding contributions to research in Canada. The fellowships create opportunities for mid-to-late career Canadian and international scholars to collaborate with NRC researchers. This new program provides opportunities for external scholars to have access to the NRC's unique infrastructure and resources, and work with an NRC researcher to further Dorothy Killam's vision of building Canada's future through advanced study. Guidelines for the new fellowships are available in the portal.

Vision for the redesigning of the 2023 National Killam Program

Prior to the relaunch of the Dorothy Killam Fellowships in spring 2022, the NRC met with hundreds of stakeholders to shape the vision of the program. Further, the following bodies were created to enable the administration and delivery of the National Killam Program by the NRC:

National Killam Program Advisory Board (NK PAB) is an external advisory board providing input on strategy and program operations. The NK PAB is comprised of senior members chosen from among Canada's research excellence stakeholder community who offer strategic advice and serve as champions for the National Killam Program.

The National Killam Selection Committee (NKSC) is a standing committee responsible for recommending winners for both the Killam Prizes and the Dorothy Killam Fellowships. 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.


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