PhD student Paul Thomas awarded prestigious Vanier scholarship

August 9, 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the winners Aug. 3. The scholars were chosen from 26 universities. Vanier scholars receive $50,000 annually for up to three years, and each is selected based on his or her demonstrated leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering or health sciences.

“Canada’s prosperity is fundamentally linked to science and technology and highly skilled individuals whose talents bring innovative ideas to life,” said Harper. “I am pleased to congratulate the 167 recipients of this year’s Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships – researchers whose ideas will help produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs and keep Canada’s economy growing.”

Vanier scholars are selected through a rigorous, competitive process. First, potential scholars are nominated by a Canadian university. These nominations are evaluated by selection committees struck by Canada’s three research granting agencies—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Finally, an international, blue-ribbon selection board then ranks Vanier scholarship recipients and recommends them for funding.

“One of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of my job is overseeing our nominations for such prestigious awards as the Vanier Scholarships,” said Professor Berry Smith, vice-dean (students) at the School of Graduate Studies. “These are outstanding students in all respects, and the university is both fortunate and proud to count them among our members.”

Paul is one of 28 University of Toronto recipients of Canada’s prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.  A complete list of the 2011 Vanier scholarship recipients is available online at