The CSPC Trailblazer Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated novelty and creativity through leadership, vision, courage, and commitment to the overall advancement of the science and innovation policy ecosystem. These individuals have been instrumental in the Canadian policy ecosystem by boldly spearheading change via one or more transformative initiatives, all while blazing a trail and inspiring others to follow.

CSPC 2021 will present two Trailblazer Awards, one in each of the categories of Science Policy and Innovation Policy.

CSPC understands Science Policy to be inclusive of both science for policy and policy for science; and Innovation Policy to encompass all policies governing the innovation ecosystem, including social innovation.

CSPC encourages nominations from all disciplines of science (natural sciences and engineering, social and human sciences, and health sciences) and from all sectors (governments at all levels, academia, private and nonprofit sectors, media, and others).

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2020 Winner:

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Exceptional Contribution to Science Policy – Trailblazer Award

Cara Tannenbaum

Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR’s) Institute of Gender and Health

Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal


The winners of the award will be recognized prominently at the CSPC 2021 virtual conference, during a plenary session in November 2021 and will receive free admission to the CSPC 2021 and CSPC 2022 conferences. The award winners will also have the opportunity to give an acceptance speech at the virtual conference and will receive a trophy and a certificate from CSPC.

Selection Criteria

The nominee must have innovated or catalyzed change through a novel and creative initiative or project, or via a significant change that has positively impacted the Canadian science and innovation policy ecosystem, or society at large.

The nominee must also have demonstrated at least one of the following, within the context of Canada and the Canadian Science, Technology and Innovation ecosystem:

  • Policy making: has demonstrated novelty and creativity leading to a significant impact on policy making in general, policy making for science and innovation, and/or the use of science in policy making.
  • Advancing research: has made bold contributions to research in science policy and/or innovation policy.
  • Community-building: has made a transformative impact in bridging the various stakeholders of science and/or innovation policy, building a more cohesive and connected science and innovation community.
  • Championing/advocating: has contributed in innovative and creative ways to promote and raise the profile of science policy and/or innovation policy.
  • Capacity-building: has contributed to training, mentoring, inspiring, or developing the next generation of scientists and policy makers by spearheading change through an inclusive and collaborative approach.
  • Enhancing productivity/development: has enabled a culture of productivity, economic development, or entrepreneurship.
  • Enhancing social innovation: has made distinct and transformative impact and contributions to making human and natural systems more adaptive, sustainable, and resilient.

How to Nominate

Nominations must be submitted, in English or French, by 23:59 (nominator’s local time) on September 10th.

The required elements for a successful nomination are listed below.  Upon submission, please ensure your nomination is fully completed and that it adheres to the stated word limit.

Other than the the identity of the nominator and nominee, the following are required:

  • Trailblazer Award Category.
  • Brief Biography (no more than 200 words).
  • Demonstration of Innovating/Catalyzing Change (400 words maximum).
  • Nomination Justification (800 words maximum).
  • CV (5 pages maximum).

Note that self-nominations will not be accepted.

Rules and Eligibility

  • Nomination must be for an individual living in Canada.
  • Nominations are encouraged from any and all sectors, for individuals at any stage of their career, including but not limited to industry, government, academia, and not-for-profit.
  • All scores and feedback provided by the judges will not be disclosed for any reason.
  • All applicants give the right to the CSPC to profile their submission in all Conference materials before, during, and after the event.
  • The CSPC and the judges will not release any information in the application that is specified as confidential (marked above with an *asterisk).
  • The current CSPC Board, management, staff, volunteers and members of the Awards Selection Committee, may not be nominated.

If you have any issues in submitting your proposal or any questions regarding the submission, please email