Protocols and Procedures

Nomination Procedure

1. Nominations to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists (hereafter referred to as “the College”) will be initiated by Members of the College (Members), Fellows of the RSC (Fellows), and Institutional Members (IMs).

2. Each IM will be allowed to submit up to 3 nominations each year. There is no limit to the number of nominations allowed from Members or Fellows.

3. Candidates must be no more than 15 years from the conferral of the PhD or equivalent qualification. Where there are questions of equivalence eligibility, the Honorary Secretary shall provide the conclusive determination on behalf of the RSC Council.

4. The criterion for nomination shall be excellence, which is understood to encompass the goals of diversity and inclusivity to which the RSC is committed, and to which the membership of the College is expected to exemplify in terms of discipline, gender, ethno-racial diversity, Aboriginality, and official languages.

5. The Selection Committee will select the cohort of the College in light of the mandate of the College, which is to reflect the fields currently represented by the Academies of the RSC.

6. Each nomination is to be completed online using the Nomination Form, and shall include:

a. a cover letter from the primary nominator;
b. a CV (in any format);
c. one reference letter from a person of authority on the candidate and their field (along with a brief biography of the referee);
d. a 1000-word summary of the candidate’s record; and,
e. a 70-word citation.

7. The deadline for nominations shall be 8 March 2017.

Selection Procedure

8. Nominations for the College shall be evaluated by a Selection Committee composed of the President of the College as Chair; the Secretary of the College; as well as Fellows and Members of the College as necessary.

9. The Selection Committee shall forward a list of candidates for appointment to the College to the Secretariat. The list of candidates must be ratified by the Council of the RSC.

10. The chosen candidates will be informed and must consent to membership and the conditions of membership by August 1 of each year in order to proceed to being inducted as members of the College.

Establishment Procedure

11. The Members of the College shall be admitted at the AGM of the RSC in November of each year. Each new Member will agree to the conditions of membership and will take the oath of membership; the ceremony will be separate from the induction of Fellows.

12. The business meeting of Members of the College shall take place during the AGM of the RSC in November of each year, following the admission of the incoming cohort of Members. The meeting will be chaired by the President of the College.

Top of Page

Components of a Nomination

A dossier comprises five documents, which should be submitted by email as separate documents to

1. Nomination Form
2. Cover Letter from the Primary Nominator
3. Letter of Reference
4. 1000-word summary of the candidate’s record
5. CV

70-word Citation (included on Nomination Form)

Citations will have a maximum length of 70 words. The citation should concentrate on the candidate’s original contributions to research and scholarship and should be written so that it can be understood by non-specialists. The citation normally does not play a role in the assessment of a nomination by the selection committee since the information it contains will be repeated in the detailed assessment. While there is no standard form for citations, the citation should include at least the basic information in the following order: full name of the nominee; institutional affiliation (if any); and discipline or artistic field.

A Cover Letter from the Primary Nominator

The nominator must, except in the case of an institutional nomination, be a Member of the College or a Fellow of the Society. Where the nomination is made by an Institutional Member, the Primary Nominator shall be the President or CEO of the university or organization.

The letter from a Primary Nominator should introduce the nomination. It is expected that the letter will be about one page in length, detailing the highlights of the candidate’s career, illustrating how the candidate meets the criteria, and explains whether the candidate has experienced a career interruption. The letter should list the names of the referee whose letter is also attached to the nomination, with a brief indication of why that referee has been selected. It is important to append a brief biography (250 words maximum) of the referee as the last page of the referee letter. If the referee has a website it is also helpful to provide a link.

The dossier will be reviewed by individuals outside of the candidate’s direct field of study. It would be helpful for the cover letter to define the usual level of publications and/or grants for the candidate’s field of study.

The cover letter should not repeat information in the detailed appraisal of the nominee; nor should it be cast as an additional letter of reference. Committees do not take into account statements of a referential character contained in letters of presentation.

Letter of Reference

References should be a maximum of three pages in length and are typically shorter. A good letter of reference will usually address: (a) the referee’s direct and personal knowledge of the candidate and his or her work; (b) the originality, significance and impact of the candidate’s career; (c) the national and international reputation of the candidate; and (d) other relevant information that indicates the substantial contributions made by the candidate to the Arts, the Humanities, the Social Sciences or the Sciences.

The volume of publications accumulated over a lengthy career is less important than the impact that even a small number of publications may have had. The referee’s task is to indicate what the impact of the nominee’s scholarship has been.

Good letters of reference tend to be “fact heavy.” Assertions about quality of work should be backed up by reference to some objective source that can confirm the assertion. Statements such as, for example, “won Award X for best publication in Y field,” or “won Award as best article of the year published in journal Z,” or “has been cited 400 times” are confirmatory of quality.

When speaking about impact, it is helpful to indicate in what way the candidate’s work has made a practical or theoretical impact in the discipline in question. Statements such as, for example, “developed a new theory which resulted in XXX,” or “published a critique of XYZ that stimulated a great debate in ABC,” or “developed a product that changed the way XYZ” are helpful in situating the nominee’s impact.

External measures such as citation indexes should also be mentioned in letters if they are current measures in the discipline in question. A common mistake of referees is to analogize the process to tenure or promotion process. General statements like “is a great teacher,” “was an excellent department chair,” “is a treasured colleague,” “is generous in reading and critiquing manuscripts,” do not carry much weight with Selection Committees.

Although referees can be persons who have collaborated with the candidate, they must disclose within their letter the nature and extent of their relationship with the candidate.

1000-word Summary of the Candidate’s Record

The detailed appraisal is the nominator’s opportunity to present a narrative of the candidate’s career in a manner that clearly indicates how the candidate meets the statutory criteria for election and why the candidate is deserving of election. The detailed appraisal is not a reference and therefore should not contain information about how the nominator has come to know the candidate. Normally the detailed appraisal will repeat any substantive information about the nominee’s achievements that appears in the citation. The appraisal should be as technical as is necessary to indicate the candidate’s contributions, but should not be so technical that members of the Selection Committee from other disciplines are unable to make a confident assessment of the candidate’s work. It is important that the detailed appraisal be written in non-technical language that can be understood by all members of the relevant Division. The detailed appraisal should explicitly note how and why the work of the candidate is original and significant. Notice of awards and prizes for scholarship is helpful in establishing impact. The appraisal should also advert to the national and international impact of the candidate’s career and the reputation the candidate has acquired. For example, mention should be made of election to significant international scholarly bodies, publication in top-rated international and foreign journals, translation of technical papers or other materials into foreign languages, invitations to give named lectureships at foreign universities, service on scientific advisory panels of leading international agencies and NGOs, and like indicia (such as, in certain disciplines, citation indexes) of impact and reputation.


The CV should be structured based on the candidate’s discipline and in a format that is acceptable to any of the tri-councils, but that covers the candidate’s entire career.

Top of Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. For the upcoming cohort, when does the eligibility period begin?
A1. For the cohort of 2017, a candidate must have received his or her PhD or equivalent no earlier than January 1, 2002.

Q2. Will there be any exceptions to the 15 year eligibility period?
A2. Yes, the RSC will consider an exemption period of up to three years for those who have had a career interruption for the purpose of maternity, childrearing, illness, or health-related family responsibilities.

Q3. What information should be included in the cover letter? In the letter of reference?
A3.1. The cover letter must be prepared by either a Fellow, a Member of the College, or in the case of IM nominations, the President or CEO of the university of organization. This person (or institution) is the “primary nominator”. The cover letter should introduce the nomination and indicate why the candidate is appropriate for Membership and how the nominee responds to the selection criteria. The nomination letter should not repeat information in the detailed appraisal of the nominee.
A3.2. The letter of reference does not need to be prepared by a Member or a Fellow. Good letters of reference tend to be “fact heavy.” Assertions about quality of work should be backed up by reference to some objective source that can confirm the assertion. When speaking about impact, it is helpful to indicate in what way the candidate’s work has made a practical or theoretical impact in the discipline in question. External measures such as citation indexes should also be mentioned in letters if they are current measures in the discipline in question.

Q4. Can current Members of the College be nominated for Fellowship?
A4. Yes. Members of the College can be nominated for Fellowship following normal nomination procedures. Membership in the College will neither help nor hurt a nomination to the Fellowship.

Q5. Are there any citizenship or residency requirements?
A5. Yes. College members must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents at the time of election, at the Annual General Meeting in November.

Q6. For how long is a nomination dossier valid?
A6. Dossiers submitted for the College will expire once the incoming cohort is named.

Q7. Will nominees who are not successful be eligible for nomination in subsequent years?
A7. Yes. Unsuccessful nominees may be re-nominated up to two times, as long as they still meet the eligibility requirements.

Q8. What is meant by “the conditions of membership”?
A8. “Conditions of membership” is an allusion to the oath of the RSC. Members of the College will commit to upholding the values of the RSC; to maintaining good standing during their seven-year term; to paying their dues; to attending meetings; and to serving the Society in a voluntary capacity to the extent possible.

Q9. Do Members of the College pay annual dues?
A9. Yes. The annual dues for Members of the College will be equivalent to half the dues associated with membership as a Fellow of the Society.

Q10. Is there a maximum length for a prospective nominee’s CV?
A10. Yes. While CVs of up to 50 pages in length will be accepted, the length of a CV in pages does not correlate to the merit of the candidate. CVs ought to address a candidate’s entire career.

Q11. My prospective nominee has two PhDs. Which one will be considered in determining the 15-year eligibility period?
A11. The most recently obtained PhD or equivalent will be considered. However, in cases where a habilitation qualification (or equivalent) is being pursued or has been attained, the candidate’s PhD is deemed to be the highest degree. In addition, time spent completing the habilitation qualification (or equivalent) is not considered a break in career.

Q12. My prospective nominee is an artist with a BA. Is this person eligible?
A12. Yes. As it would for an artist with an MA, the 15-year eligibility period begins when he or she receives the degree in question.

Q13. Is a scholarly degree a prerequisite for membership in the College?
A13. No, a scholarly degree is not a prerequisite for membership in the College. The 15-year eligibility period would be understood to begin at the onset of a nominee’s professional career.

Q14. What is considered a PhD equivalent for those in medicine?
A14. Certification by the FRCPC is considered an equivalent for those studying medicine outside of Quebec. For those studying medicine in Quebec, the equivalent is the Collège des médecins du Québec. The exception to this is nominees who practice family medicine, in which case the MD itself would be considered the equivalent.

Q15. My prospective nominee’s dossier has been submitted for consideration for Fellowship. Is this individual eligible for nomination to the College?
A15. No. At any one time, an individual may be nominated for either Fellowship in the Society or Membership in the College, but not both.

Top of Page