James McGill Professor and William Dawson Scholar Program

On this page:

General | Funding | Guidelines on Research Grant Portion | Nomination | Internal Review Procedure | Deadlines | Minerva Appointment Form | Budget and Administration Guidelines | Balances and Top-Up Policy | Listing of Current JMPs-WDSs ||

General In the year 2000, institutional recognition awards, namely the James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars, were created in parallel with the Canada Research Chair program to recognize the outstanding research contributions of academic staff members currently at McGill University. The Deans were invited to submit the names of their nominees, along with the required documentation, to the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic). The names of the first award holders were announced 1 November 2000, and the awards took effect on January 1, 2001. The total number of these Chairs was set to be equal to McGill’s Canada Research Chairs allocation.

The James McGill Professor award recognizes a senior scholar’s status as an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber and an international leader in his or her field similar to that of the CRC Tier 1. James McGill Professors must be tenured full professors. They hold the award for a seven-year term, renewable indefinitely upon performance review.

The William Dawson Scholar award recognizes a scholar developing into an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber who is poised to become a leader in his or her field, similar to that of a CRC Tier 2. William Dawson Scholars must be tenure-track assistant or associate professors. They receive the award for a five-year term, renewable once upon performance review.

A William Dawson Scholar who is promoted to Full Professor in the first term of the award may not be renewed. There is no “promotion” as such from a William Dawson Scholar to a James McGill Professor. Professors holding a William Dawson award may, in the second term, be nominated by their Dean for a James McGill Professorship. Such a nomination will be considered only if there are vacancies available in the award program. Furthermore, the nomination will be evaluated by the same high standards as the CRC Tier 1 award, including the requirement that the application is “making a significant impact at the international level.”
Funding These awards will include a temporary salary supplement in the form of a stipend and a research support allowance. These combined total of the salary stipend and research grant will not exceed $25,000.

The stipend will be conditional to retaining the award.  Research expenses are subject to audit.

Teaching, research and administrative duties of the professors/scholars will be established by their department Chair. There is no implied shift in duties linked with one of these awards.
Guidelines Relating to Research Grant Portion Associated with a James McGill Professorship or a William Dawson Scholarship

Rules and Guidelines

  • The amount and duration of the grant are specified in the letter of notification of the award.
  • The research fund associated with the award is to be used exclusively for purposes of research and scholarship. It is not a supplement to the awardee's income.
  • The use of the research fund is subject to all applicable University Policies on Research [links to the Secretariat Office website where the current reguations are available for donwload], especially those related to ethics and conflict of interest.
  • Travel expenses and personal expense reimbursements for the awardee must be approved by the awardee's Chair and must adhere to the University's policy.
  • All software, books, equipment, or other property acquired by the awardee with funds from this award are the property of the University. The awardee is expected to make such acquisitions available to the awardee's Department or Faculty insofar as this is compatible with the awardee's own research program.
  • All administrative and office equipment, including cellular phones, tablets, and furniture are not eligible research fund expenditures without adequate justification.
  • James McGill/William Dawson awards adhere to the CRC Administrative Guidelines and the Tri Agency Financial Admin Guidelines.
Nomination Process Deans may bring forth the curriculum vitae of suitable candidates whom they may wish to nominate for a William Dawson Scholar or James McGill Professor award. In bringing forward their nominations, Deans should give particular consideration to present candidates from the four equity groups protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: women, persons with a disability, Aboriginal peoples, and visible minorities. If a position is available, the decision will be made by the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) whether to approve the nomination of the candidate for the James McGill Professorship or William Scholar award.

Documents to be Submitted on Behalf of the Candidates for Nomination

The complete file should include:

  • An updated curriculum vitae of the candidate specifically showing current peer-reviewed funding and a complete list of publications and scholarly contributions;
  • A project title and half to full page summary of the research;
  • The Dean’s request/recommendation.

Renewal of Award

Renewals are contingent upon an internal university review of the Chair-holder’s five or seven-year term in the Chair to determine if continued institutional support should be provided for an individual researcher to renew his or her research Chair.

The criteria for renewal as the same as those applied for renewal of the CRC programs for the Tier 1 (James McGill Professor Award) and Tier 2 (William Dawson Scholar Award) (see guidelines).

In the case of both James McGill and William Dawson renewals, there is no “presumption of renewal” in the review process. So the question is not whether the applicant for renewal has maintained the standards and achieved the expectations that gave rise to the award in the first place, but whether the applicant meets the standards for renewal of an equivalent CRC award.

Documents to be Submitted on Behalf of the Candidates for Renewal

The complete file should include:
  • An updated curriculum vitae of the candidate specifically showing current peer-reviewed funding and a list of publications and scholarly contributions during the previous term of the award.
  • The performance report of achievements prepared by the candidate according to CRC guidelines.
  • A project title and a 3-5 page summary of the proposed research.
  • A joint Departmental/School and Faculty recommendation report, as applicable. We ask that the original recommendation be sent to us as a hard copy, via internal mail, while the electronic version should reach us by the set deadline via e-mail.
The Internal Review Procedure The internal review will be carried out by the members of the full-time tenured academic community serving on the Standing internal Review Committee with selected CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC-disciplinary expertise. This is the same committee that reviews the CRC applications in the current term. Committee members will review documents received from the candidate as well as the joint Departmental/School and Faculty recommendation report for the renewal of the James McGill Professor/William Dawson Scholar Awards.

The Standing Internal Review Committee makes a recommendation to the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic) who adjudicates the committee’s recommendations whether to allocate/renew the award. The Office of the Associate Provost (Academic Priorities & Resource Allocations) informs the Dean of the Faculty and the candidate of the decision and of the terms for renewal.

It is understood that this review process for the renewal of the William Dawson Scholars/James McGill Professors is different and distinct from the existing promotion and tenure review procedure.

The Standing Internal Review Committee

The candidate’s file will be reviewed by the committee (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) matched to the content expertise of the candidate.

The Committee consists of the Associate Provost (BR) and six tenured professors of the University chosen by the Associate Provost, in consultation with Deans, so as to ensure appropriate representation of faculties and disciplines (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC). Members will be assigned staggered terms of two years each starting 1 September or 1 January.

Evaluation Criteria – Quality of the Award Holder

For James McGill Professors For William Dawson Scholars
The file must demonstrate that the award holder is maintaining his or her status as an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber and leader in his or her field:
  • “continues to distinguish him – or herself as an outstanding, world class researcher”;
  • “has successfully attracted, and continues to attract, excellent trainees, students and future researchers to the university or affiliated institute”; and
  • “is carrying out a program of research that is producing leading-edge results which are making a significant impact at the international level.”
The submitted file must demonstrate that the award holder is developing into an outstanding and original researcher of world-class caliber who is poised to become a leader in his or her field.
The more specific criteria for evaluation are the same as those described by the CRC program, namely, as follows:
  • Record of research results dissemination: For example, in peer-reviewed journals, monographs and books, at refereed conferences, in keynote or invited presentations, and in the form of patents, copyrights, products, services and technology transfer. The information will be examined to determine the extent to which the research has made a significant impact in the field.
  • Record of training of Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP): A description should be provided for the training strategies the Chair has created to attract students, trainees and future researchers; the means used to create an environment that attracts, develops and retains outstanding researchers in areas and technologies that are critical to Canada’s cultural, social and economic growth, vital public policy issues and quality of life.
  • Program of Research: An account of how the Chair has achieved the goals of his or her program of research to date, and improved Canada’s ability to lead in research that has high social, cultural, scientific or technological impact.
  • Integration with the University’s Strategic Research Plan: Reference should be made to the summary version of the McGill’s Strategic Research Plan (as found on the CRC site) in describing how the Chair has helped build relationships with other research initiatives in Canada and abroad; produced impacts that demonstrate the institution’s strategic development of research; and improved the institution’s ability to leverage additional research funding.
Deadlines for Submission All documents in electronic format via e-mail to Naomi [dot] Belinsky [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Naomi Belinsky).
April 30th February 1st
Minerva Appointment Form Once the Provostial letter is issued appointing or renewing the JMP/WDS, the Minerva Appointment Form must be issued using the appropriate JMP/WDS position code as indicated on the Award, Stipend and Other Payment Codes page.
Budget and Administration Guidelines Please note the following:
  • The nominal academic stipend for James McGill and William Dawson is either $10,000/annum or $15,000/annum.
  • Academic stipends for JMP-WDS should be roughly equivalent to avoid creating disparities among award holders who are deemed to be in the top 20% of performers.
  • Faculties and Departments are reminded that changes in academic stipends require prior approval by the Office of the Provost & Vice-Principal (Academic).
End of Fiscal Year Balances and Top-Up Policy In 2007 the Provost implemented a James McGill / William Dawson Award “Top-Up Policy”, to encourage researchers to make full use of their research grant allocation every year. In accordance with this policy, if there is a balance in a research fund at the end of the fiscal year (April 30th), the allocation for the following year would automatically be “topped-up”.

For example:
Annual Research Allocation Amount Spent in FY Balance at FY End Top-up Amount
(Start of New FY)
Balance at Start of New FY Carry-Forward of Unspent Amounts
$15,000 $3,000 $12,000 $3,000 $15,000 $0
However, if there is a need to carry forward part or all of the unspent end-of-year amount, the chair holder is asked to present a written request to the ghyslaine [dot] mcclure [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Associate Provost (BR)) with a copy to the cindy [dot] bolduc [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Cindy Bolduc) prior to March 15th, indicating briefly any special circumstances that explain the large unspent balance and outlining a spending plan for the total funds in the next fiscal year. Unfortunately, requests received after the end of the fiscal year will not be accommodated.
Listings of James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars Find out who McGill's current James McGill Professors and William Dawson Scholars by visiting JMP or WDS.