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Timothy R. Parsons Medal

The Timothy R. Parsons Medal was established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to recognize achievement in ocean sciences. It honours the outstanding contributions of Dr. Timothy R. Parsons in this field.

The Timothy R. Parsons Medal is

  • awarded for distinguished accomplishments in multidisciplinary facets of ocean sciences while working for Canadian Institutions or for the benefit of Canadian science
  • awarded for excellence during the lifetime of the recipient or for a recent outstanding achievement, both being equally eligible
  • no posthumous nominations are considered

Candidate evaluation

Candidates are evaluated on their qualifications in several categories, including:

  • contribution of significant ideas
  • leadership through teaching or mentoring
  • impact on Canadian marine science, such as:
    • recognition of scientific accomplishment
    • impact and/or influence of scientific work
  • significant contributions to multidisciplinary facets of ocean sciences
  • program, disciplinary and interdisciplinary activities, which include outreach activities

The category is described through:

  • technical reports
  • advice to managers
  • peer-reviewed publications

Future consideration

Nominations which didn't result in an award will be considered in subsequent years with the nominator's consent, unless they're disqualified. The nominator is encouraged to update the nomination package.

Candidates disqualified for not meeting the criteria won't be considered in subsequent years, unless:

  • the nominator presents information to overturn the disqualification
  • the circumstances disqualifying the candidate have changed, enabling the candidate to meet the criteria

Parsons Medal Adjudication Committee

The Parsons Medal Adjudication Committee has a balanced membership to remove any undue bias from knowledge of a candidate or the discipline.

The DFO assistant deputy minister (ADM) of the Oceans and Science Sector chairs the committee. The committee also includes a secretariat for administration and logistical matters. The most recent Parsons Medal recipient also serves on the committee. If this recipient isn't available, a former medalist is invited to serve.

The remaining 3 term positions are appointed by the ADM. Ideally, these positions are comprised of:

  • a DFO representative
  • a representative of another governmental department or agency
  • a representative of a non-governmental organization, such as a university or the private sector

Members of the committee shouldn't be involved with the nomination of any candidate (new or returning):

  • during their membership on the committee
  • for at least 1 year after leaving the committee

A sample committee membership could be as follows:

  • secretariat
  • DFO representative
  • past Parson's Medal recipient
  • DFO ADM of the Oceans and Science Sector
  • other governmental department or agency representative, such as Natural Resources Canada
  • non-governmental organization representative, such as from the University of Victoria

Member qualifications

The desirable qualifications and objectives for the 3 term positions include:

  • ability to evaluate candidates against the 5 qualification categories
  • experience as a scientist presently or previously employed conducting research in Canada or for Canada
  • renowned expertise, experience and leadership in fisheries or ocean sciences, or allied fields (preferably with interdisciplinary expertise)

An effort is made to balance committee discipline expertise, including:

  • biological oceanography
  • marine and freshwater biology
  • fisheries management and ecosystems science
  • physical, chemical and geological oceanography and geophysics

If a balance isn't possible in the same year, an attempt will be made over succeeding years. This includes alternating fields of expertise as new members rotate onto the committee.

Rotation of the 3 term positions

The members in these 3 positions will serve staggered terms of 3 years, if possible, to ensure and maximize continuity on the committee.

The aim is to have each year's committee comprised of 1 of these 3 members serving for a first year, one for a second year and one for a third year.

Annual meeting

The committee aims to meet during the first week of April each year at DFO headquarters in Ottawa. Travel is provided for members of the committee as per Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines.

Conflict of interest guidelines are discussed at the start of the committee meeting. Committee members are asked to self-declare if they have a conflict of interest in judging any candidate.

If the committee is unable to decide among candidates, the ADM will make the final decision. This includes whether to present the award that year and, if so, to whom it will go. With the exception of years 2005 and 2006, there's only 1 winner.

Medalist announcement and presentation

The announcement of the Parsons medalist is made at the Parsons/Patterson Luncheon. The ADM or a designated representative will award the medal and a commemorative plaque to the recipient.

The luncheon is scheduled during the annual congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS). It's routinely held during the last week of May or the first week of June each year.

Provided to the medalist are:

  • travel to the meeting, such as:
    • hotel
    • airfare
    • per diems as per Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines
  • a ticket for the Parsons/Patterson luncheon
  • a luncheon ticket for a partner accompanying the medalist
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