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The Foundation awards the annual Canada Gairdner Awards to leading scientists from around the world whose discoveries have had a major impact on scientific progress and human health. The awards are Canada’s only globally recognized international scientific prize. Since 1959, more than 400 scientists from 40 countries have received a Canada Gairdner Award and to date, 96 have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

David Julius, 2021 Nobel prize winner and 2017 Canada Gairdner International Award winner presenting his award acceptance speech at the 2017 Canada Gairdner Awards Gala held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

The Gairdner Awards laureates are outstanding researchers in their fields, dedicating their lives to improving human health worldwide. Gairdner laureates have pioneered some of the most influential scientific discoveries of the last 50 years, such as CRISPR gene editing, DNA replication, the human genome project, developing antiviral vaccines and many more transformative scientific discoveries.

The 2019 Canada Gairdner Award laureates at the Gala alongside President Dr. Janet Rossant (far left) and Board Chair, Heather Munroe-Blum (second from right)

The Canada Gairdner Award program is known around the world for the rigor of its focus on scientific excellence and for promoting science as a key endeavor in addressing major global challenges. The Canada Gairdner laureate and adjudication committee alumni network is among the strongest in the world of major scientific awards. Each year, past laureates return to participate in the award adjudication processes, give lectures as part of outreach programming, contribute to discussions on key topics of the day with government and other stakeholders, and attend Gairdner events. Gairdner’s outreach extends beyond Canadian borders to showcase the country on the international stage.

2020 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award winners Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Salim S. Abdool Karim presenting each other with their medals during the 2020 Canada Gairdner Awards Virtual Gala Celebration.

The Gairdner Foundation leverages its globally recognized awards program to inspire scientists and innovators of the future. The Gairdner Foundation engages in outreach programs across Canada and acts as a convener with the public, policymakers, and other stakeholders on the impact of science on our everyday lives. Gairdner continually promotes student initiatives and early-career research opportunities to encourage the next generation of researchers around the world.

2017 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award winner, Cesar Victora accepting his Gairdner Award at the 2017 Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.

Gairdner’s programs provide touchpoints in career trajectories that encourage the pursuit of STEMM and promote excellence in biomedical research. By nurturing ongoing participation in science and showcasing the broad career paths available within the science field, Gairdner provides opportunities for Canadians and global partners to engage with research and innovation that will strengthen science culture and promote human health and well-being globally.

We celebrate excellence, convene leaders and inspire the next generation.

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