The Canada Council for the Arts announces $500,000 in Killam Prizes


The Canada Council for the Arts announces $500,000 in Killam Prizes

April 3, 2013 | News Release

Ottawa, April 3, 2013 – The winners of the 2013 Killam Prizes are international authorities and pioneers in the fields of vaccinology, conflict resolution, computational intelligence, earth science and cognitive science. Five winners will each be awarded prizes of $100,000 in recognition of outstanding career achievements. 

This year, the winning scholars are Lorne Babiuk of the University of Alberta, John McGarry of Queen’s University, Witold Pedrycz of the University of Alberta, Richard Peltier of the University of Toronto and Paul Thagard of University of Waterloo. 

The Killam Prizes are Canada’s leading prizes for career achievement in the fields of health sciences, social sciences, engineering, natural sciences and humanities. The selection committee members include scholars, researchers and experts. 

Download images of the winners

“Over the course of their careers, these Canadian research leaders have greatly contributed to their fields and to building Canada’s future,” said Joseph L. Rotman, Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. “They are recognized internationally for their work and the Canada Council is proud to award them our country’s most prestigious research prize.” 

Killam Trusts Managing Trustee George Cooper noted, “The Killam Prizes were endowed by two visionary Canadians, who understood the importance of fundamental research at Canadian universities. The Killam Trusts honour their legacy of excellence and innovation that benefits Canada and the world.” 

The Killam Prize presentation ceremony will be held at Rideau Hall on April 23. Media representatives wishing to cover the awards presentation should contact Mélanie Villeneuve at the Rideau Hall Press office at (613) 998-7280 or by email at


Biographical notes

Lorne Babiuk, University of Alberta 
Health Sciences 

Lorne Babiuk is a world leader in the area of vaccinology. One of the numerous vaccines that he developed laid the foundation for a rotavirus vaccine for children. Before vaccination, over 500,000 children died each year from rotavirus. His vaccine saves the cattle industry in North America $300 million a year. He is a global authority in infectious diseases, particularly virology, immunology and vaccine delivery. He has founded an internationally recognized research institute, the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), and more recently a $140 million dollar bio-containment facility which is the only one of its kind in Canada. He continues to contribute to the advancement of the health of humans and animals. In addition to being the Vice-President (Research) at the University of Alberta, he serves on numerous committees, helping to set science policy in Canada and around the world. 

John McGarry, Queen’s University 
Social Sciences 

John McGarry is universally recognized as one of the world's top authorities on power-sharing, federalism, and conflict resolution. He has played an important role in shaping Northern Ireland's successful peace process, particularly in the crucial area of policing reform. His co-authored book Explaining Northern Ireland is widely seen as the most influential work on the subject over the past two decades. In 2008, he was appointed as the first ever Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing to the United Nations (Mediation Support Unit), and he is currently the main advisor on governance in the UN-led negotiations in Cyprus. John McGarry is currently writing a book on power-sharing theory. He is also supportive of the development of a more integrated approach to conflict resolution, by encouraging interaction between specialists in different areas such as disarmament, economic reconstruction and the appropriate treatment of refugees. This research is aimed at influencing the UN's work in the field. 

Witold Pedrycz, University of Alberta 

Computational Intelligence, a comprehensive framework for analysis and design of human-centric intelligent systems, is Witold Pedrycz’s area of specialization. He is a widely recognized world leader in this field and has made a number of pioneering and influential contributions. He has developed fundamental concepts and algorithmic foundations in the disciplines forming the essence of Computational Intelligence. These include neurocomputing, which provides a wealth of learning mechanisms, and fuzzy sets, which support human-like reasoning by processing linguistic information. The goal of his research activities is the development of hybrid intelligent systems that exhibit different levels of learning and are capable of taking the factor of uncertainty (information granularity) into account.

Richard Peltier, University of Toronto 
Natural Sciences 

Physicist Richard Peltier is a pioneer in the establishment of the field of Earth System Science, a revolution in Earth Science built on the premise that the Earth and its climate are understandable only through cross-disciplinary research. Over the course of his career, he has attacked a wide range of interrelated issues in the areas of atmospheric and oceanic waves and turbulence, geophysical fluid dynamics, physics of the planetary interior, and planetary climate. Richard Peltier is listed by Science Watch as one of the most highly cited Earth Scientists internationally. He is director of the Centre for Global Change Science, principal investigator of the Polar Climate Stability Network, and the Scientific Director of Canada's largest supercomputer centre, SciNet. 

Paul Thagard, University of Waterloo 
One of the most influential cognitive scientists in Canada, philosopher Paul Thagard is among the top researchers building theories of thinking worldwide. He has been crossing the divide between the humanities and sciences for over 30 years, linking fundamental philosophical issues to scientific questions about the nature of the mind and brain. Paul Thagard pioneered the philosophical use of computer models to help understand the structure and growth of scientific knowledge. A prolific writer, he has contributed to research in analogy and creativity, cognition in the history of science, and the role of emotion in thinking. He has investigated the relevance of psychology and neuroscience for ethical questions about morality and the meaning of life. His research has yielded 10 books and some 200 scholarly articles, many highly cited. He is currently working on new theories of emotion, intention, and consciousness.

General information

The Canada Council Killam Prizes were inaugurated in 1981 with a donation by Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in memory of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam. The Prizes were created to honour eminent Canadian scholars and scientists actively engaged in research, whether in industry, government agencies or universities. 

The Killam Program at the Canada Council also includes the Killam Research Fellowships, which support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields. 

The Canada Council Killam Program is part of a larger set of Killam Trusts, which fund scholarship and research at four Canadian universities, a neurological research and clinical institute and the Canada Council. In total, the Killam Trusts are valued at approximately $425 million, of which the Canada Council portion is $55 million. For more information about the Killam Trusts, please visit

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national arts funder. Its grants to artists and arts organizations contribute to a vibrant arts scene in Canada. Its awards celebrate creativity by recognizing exceptional Canadians in the arts, humanities and sciences. The Canada Council Art Bank is a national collection of over 17,000 Canadian contemporary artworks – all accessible to the public through rental, loan and outreach programs. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the general authority of the Canada Council.


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