U of T researchers win 2022 Polanyi Prizes – across all five categories

Clockwise from top left: Alana Ogata, Michael Stepner, Isabella Huberman, Joshua Speagle, and Kieran Quinn

February 9, 2023

Five U of T researchers have been announced as the winners of the 2022 Polanyi Prizes. Dr. Alana Ogata (Chemistry), Dr. Michael Stepner (Economic Science), Dr. Isabella Huberman (Literature), Dr. Joshua Speagle (Physics), and Dr. Kieran Quinn (Medicine) are the newest recipients of the prestigious annual honour that recognizes leading researchers in the early stages of their careers.

“The work of these innovators serves as exceptional examples of the ground-breaking research taking place across Ontario’s postsecondary sector,” said Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities. “Their efforts to investigate some of society’s most pressing issues drives progress, generates investment and creates jobs – all leading to a better future for the next generation of Ontarians.”

Named after John Polanyi, a University Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Arts & Science’s department of chemistry and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, the Polanyi Prize was established in 1987, and is awarded every year to as many as five early-career researchers from Ontario universities. A panel directed by the executive heads of the Council of Ontario Universities selects the winners from a pool of nominees. This year, for the first time, U of T faculty comprised all five winners.

The diverse research conducted by the winners includes work that will lead to the early diagnosis of diseases (Dr. Ogata), improving the health and financial security of low-income populations (Dr. Stepner), the creation of the first-ever three-dimensional model of components of the Milky Way (Dr. Speagle), improving end-of-life medical care (Dr. Quinn) and an examination of Indigenous critiques of resource extraction (Dr. Huberman).

Each award winner receives $20,000 in recognition of their exceptional research in the fields of chemistry, economic science, literature, physics and physiology/medicine.

Read more about the John Charles Polanyi Prizes

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