2021 – Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Peter Nicholson

Dr. Peter Nicholson was educated in physics (BSc, MSc, Dalhousie University) and mathematics (PhD, Stanford). He has served in numerous posts in government, business, science, and higher education. His public service career included positions as Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada and as Special Advisor to the Secretary-general of the OECD in Paris. He has also served as an elected Member of the Nova Scotia Legislature and was an inaugural member of the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Board on Science.

He was the inaugural member of the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Board on Science, was the chief policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006, and was the founding president of the Council of Canadian Academies, an organization that conducts expert panel studies of scientific issues related to public policy.

Dr. Nicholson has served in a voluntary capacity on many organizations dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology in Canada.


The founding Chair of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematics, Governor of the National Research Council of Canada, both a Director and a member of the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Chair of the Canadian Institute for Telecommunication Research, and the inaugural Chair of the Members of both the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Chair of the Standing Selection Committee for the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program, board member of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (now ad Mare Bio-innovations). He currently serves as the Chair of the Board of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices.

Dr. Nicholson has numerous publications and is frequently invited to share his insights on science and innovation policy in Canada. Dr. Nicholson is a Member of the Order of Canada.

He continues to serve in volunteer capacities providing policy advice to the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia.