John Charles Polanyi Prizes

2021 Polanyi Prizes Honour Ontario University Researchers

The innovative and ground-breaking work of five Ontario university researchers has been recognized with the 2021 Polanyi Prizes. Their research ranges from improving outcomes for kidney transplant patients, developing new medical technologies, understanding the long-term economic impacts of public policy, leveraging machine learning and providing new insights into the future of the universe.

The prestigious prizes are awarded annually in honour of Ontario’s Nobel Prize winner, John C. Polanyi, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research in chemical kinetics.

“The Ontario government supports exceptional research that advances new discoveries and innovation, fosters a skilled labour force, and promotes economic growth,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Recipients of the John C. Polanyi Prizes are producing much-needed solutions to address some of life’s most challenging problems to ensure a bright future for the people of Ontario.”

“The work undertaken by these researchers is an excellent example of the talent available across Ontario’s universities,” said Steve Orsini, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities. “By continuing to support and commercialize ground-breaking research and innovation, we can help ensure Ontario remains competitive, attracts new investment and creates a brighter future for our students, communities and the province.”

The Polanyi Prizes are awarded each year to early-career researchers who are either continuing postdoctoral work or have recently gained a faculty appointment. Each of the five winners receives $20,000 in recognition of their exceptional research in the fields of chemistry, literature, physics, economic science and physiology/medicine.

Learn more about 2021 Polanyi Prize winners by reading their research summaries below.

For more information about how the awards are administered, click the link below.

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Polanyi Prize in Physiology and Medicine
  • Dr. Fumin Guo, University of Toronto
Polanyi Prize in Physics
  • Dr. Eno Hysi, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Gwendolyn Eadie, University of Toronto 
Polanyi Prize in Economic Science 
  • Dr. Adam Lavecchia, McMaster University 
Polanyi Prize in Chemistry
  • Dr. Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh, Queen’s University