The Killam connection to the Canada Council is twofold. When Izaak Walton Killam died purposely intestate in 1955, it was because he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with the government of the time that half of his estate would be used to further the arts in Canada. Half of the original endowment used to create the Canada Council came directly from Mr. Killam.
After Mrs. Killam’s death she bequeathed additional funds to allow for the Killam Research Fellowships (program launched in 1967) to support outstanding scholars to carry out their groundbreaking projects.
The Canada Council Killam Prizes followed in 1981 and are among Canada’s most prestigious prizes for careers in research. To this date, two Killam Prize recipients have been awarded a Nobel Prize: Arthur B. McDonald (Physics, 2015) and John C. Polanyi (Chemistry, 1986).
In August 2021, the Canada Council for the Arts announced it would transition administration of the Killam program to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) by March 2022. The NRC will assume program delivery responsibilities in time for the 2023 Program cycle which will include a reimagined and redesigned Killam Research Fellowships.
On March 15, 2022, the Canada Council for the Arts announced that, as of the 2023 competition, the administration of the Killam Program will transfer from the Canada Council for the Arts to the NRC.
On April 26, 2022, we announced the 2023 National Killam Program cycle was launched under the administration of the NRC.