CAGS-ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

CAGS-ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award

About the Award

The CAGS-ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes Canadian doctoral dissertations that make unusually significant and original contributions to their academic field. They were established in 1994 and are presented annually by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS), with sponsorship support provided by ProQuest. Winners of this award will be granted a $1,500 cash prize, a certificate of recognition, and an opportunity to attend the 61st Annual CAGS Conference, to be held in Victoria, B.C., in November 2023.

We invite submissions of dissertations in both official languages.

This year, a first place winner will be selected from each of the following categories:

  1. Engineering, Medical Sciences, and Natural Sciences
  2. Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences


Eligible Dissertations include:

  1. A dissertation in any discipline in engineering, medical sciences, and natural sciences completed and accepted by the Graduate School between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022.
  2. A dissertation in any discipline in the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences completed and accepted by the Graduate School between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022.

Note: In interdisciplinary domains or in fields that overlap the two broad areas in which the prizes are given, the Dean of Graduate Studies must decide for which prize it is appropriate to submit the dissertation.

Note: To be eligible, dissertations must be disseminated in full text format via the ProQuest Dissertation & Thesis Global database (PQDT Global), prior to jury selection.


Nomination Procedure

Member institutions may submit two nominations – one for each category of award.

Each nomination must include:

  1. A letter of support from the Dean of Graduate Studies, which also includes the following information:
    • A description of the process used to select the nominee;
    • The name and departmental affiliation of the nominee’s research supervisor;
    • The name and affiliation of the external examiner;
    • The date of the defence and the date of final acceptance of the dissertation by the Graduate School (the date at which the final copy of the thesis, including all required corrections, is submitted to the graduate school).
    • Note: all applications must be submitted by the Dean of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) or by a representative of their office.
  2. A letter from the student’s supervisor or program director describing the reasons for the nomination, and why the dissertation constitutes a significant piece of original work.
  3. A copy of the external examiner’s pre-defence report. The examiner’s report must be dated and signed or otherwise authenticated by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  4. An abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding 350 words, written by the candidate in non-technical language (the candidate should also be aware of their nomination for the award and provide the information in items 4 and 5; should this not be possible the reasons must be given in the letter from the dean).
  5. An up-to-date c.v. of the nominee.
  6. The name and coordinates of the person to contact for questions relating to the nomination.

Submission Period

CAGS is accepting nomination packages for the 2023 CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award during the period 1 February – 31 March 2023. Complete nomination packages should be submitted electronically in a single file (PDF) to no later than 4:00 PM (ET) on 31 March 2023. Please send separate files for each award category, and include “CAGS-ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award” in the subject line.

Note: the nominees for the 2022 CAGS-ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award are currently in the process of adjudication, and the winners will be announced at a later date in 2023.


Dr. Stephanie Ross, Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Zachary Witkower, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia


Dr. Ugo Gilbert Tremblay, Department of Law, University of Montreal

Dr. Qinzhe Zhang, Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre (EMT), Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)


Dr. Ina Anreiter, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Dr. Hannah Kia, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto


Dr. Janelle Marie Baker, Anthropology Department, McGill University

Dr. Soren Mellerup, Department of Chemistry, Queen’s University


Dr. Ashley Whillans, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Christian Reimer, Department of Physics, National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)


Dr. Boyang Zhang, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto.

Dr. Leila Qashu, Department of Ethnomusicology, Memorial University.


Dr. Douglas Hunter, Department of History, York University.

Dr. Drew Higgins, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo.


Dr. Bree Akesson, School of Social Work, McGill University.

Dr. Michelle (Tonkin) Parker, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria.


Dr. Eric Weissman, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University.

Dr. Daniel Boyce, Department of Biology, Dalhousie University.


Dr. Laura Bisaillon, Department of Population Health, University of Ottawa.

Dr. Aaron Shafer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta.