The Weston Family Awards in Northern Research

About The Weston Family Awards

The Weston Family Awards in Northern Research

Since 2007, The Weston Family Awards in Northern Research (previously The W. Garfield Weston Awards in Northern Research) have provided unparalleled support to young scientists in Canada pursuing research in Canada’s North. Funded by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, these annual awards are some of the most prestigious in the country for students pursuing a master’s degree, PhD or postdoctoral fellowship. Over 270 early-career researchers have been selected to receive an award since the program’s inception, forming a community of Weston Family Northern Scientists who are at the forefront of northern scholarship and who are helping shape a better future for Canada and the world.

Weston Family Award winners undertake research projects across a broad spectrum of fields and disciplines in the natural sciences, including studies of northern ecosystems, biodiversity, flora and fauna, meteorology, oceanography, glaciology, geography and environmental studies.

COVID-19: Information and resources

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions to northern regions in Canada have been imposed to reduce the risk of transmission to vulnerable northern communities. While this is a critical step in ensuring the safety and well-being of all, many research permits have been suspended as a result and upcoming trips to northern regions for fieldwork, research, and community engagement have been cancelled or postponed. 

Below is a link to helpful resources and information compiled by ArcticNet regarding travel restrictions to northern regions and various regional updates. Please continue to consult local, provincial/territorial and federal websites and information from public health officials to stay up to date on the latest recommendations surrounding travel, research activities and public safety. 

Resources from ArcticNet: 

2020 competition

The 2020 competition is now closed.

Download the list of past award recipients

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research

The annual Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research recognizes the significant achievements of a senior Canadian researcher who has made important contributions to the study and understanding of Canada’s North. The prize is awarded based on nominations from other researchers in the field. It includes a cash prize and support for a research fellow to pursue scientific research and field work, attend conferences/scientific meetings, and engage with Northern communities.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Researcher Wayne Pollard wearing winter clothes in the Canadian arctic.

Congratulations to Dr. Wayne Pollard of McGill University who has been awarded the 2019 Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research.

As one of Canada’s leading Northern researchers, Dr. Pollard has devoted over 40 years to studying permafrost in Canada’s Arctic and its potential sensitivity to climate change. He was one of the first scientists to investigate perennial springs in High Arctic polar deserts, and his discoveries have since led to partnerships with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency in the search for water on other planets. Dr. Pollard’s leadership and dedication to nurturing the next generation of scientists further emphasize his outstanding and unwavering commitment to Canada’s North.

Read the full media release, December 5, 2019

Past Lifetime Achievement Award winner videos

Contact us

For more information about The Weston Family Awards in Northern Research or The Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research, please contact:

Daphne Wellman
Program officer
Tel: 613-563-1236 ext. 219

About The W. Garfield Weston Foundation

The predecessor to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation was first established in the 1950s by Willard Garfield Weston and his wife Reta, with a donation of shares from the family company, George Weston Limited. The Founders believed that because the funds were generated through the hard work and success of Canadian businesses, the Foundation’s donations should be given in Canada for the benefit of Canadians.

With a focus on medical research, the environment, and education, the Weston Family aims to catalyze inquiry and innovation to bring about long-term change. As the family’s charitable giving marks its 60th anniversary, it continues to collaborate with a broad range of Canadian charities to further world-class research, explore new ideas, and create tangible benefits for the communities in which it works.

For more information, please visit

W Garfield Weston Foundation Logo

Universities Canada