Discovery Awards



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Get ready for the 14th Annual Discovery Awards for Science, Technology and Innovation. The brightest will be awarded in the following categories: Professional of Distinction, Emerging Professional, Innovation and Science Champion. Additionally, we will give out a Youth Award and induct two outstanding professionals into Science Hall of Fame. 



The awards began in the spring of 2002 with the mandate to recognize talented individuals and outstanding companies in Nova Scotia for their national and international work in the science and technology fields. The awards bring together universities, corporations, businesses, government and the local community for an evening of celebration, where we honour people whose leading edge work have helped make Nova Scotia a leader in science and technology innovation. Our award recipients put science achievement in the minds of the local community along with serving as role models for youth who may well be our scientists of the future

Introducing our 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees & Nominees.

We’re happy to announce the finalist in all award categories and our two inductees for the Science Hall of Fame. Please take a moment to learn about these tremendous Nova Scotians who have, are and will change the face of science in Nova Scotia and Canada.


Individuals who have achieved outstanding lifetime contributions to science and technology.

tory4Dr. Henry Marshall Tory (1864-1947) is being inducted posthumously into the Discovery Centre Hall of Fame for his leadership in establishing world-renowned Universities and research labs across Canada. Dr. Tory was born and raised in Guysborough, studied Mathematics and Physics at McGill, was awarded one of McGill’s first doctoral degrees in science (in 1903), and then became an Associate Professor of Mathematics. In 1906, he set up the McGill University College of British Columbia, which became part of UBC in 1915. From 1908 to 1929, he was the first President of the University of Alberta. During World War I, Dr. Tory was a Colonel in the Canadian Forces (1916-1919). After a tour of the front lines in France, he set up and ran the “Khaki University” in England, enrolling over 50,000 Canadian student soldiers by the end of the war. In 1919, Dr. Tory resumed his position as President of the University of Alberta. In 1928, he became the first President of the Council and Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Laboratories (now the National Research Council of Canada). From 1939 to 1940, he was president of the Royal Society of Canada. From 1942, until his death in 1947, he was the first president of Carleton College (which later became Carleton University).
(Family of Henry Marshall Tory will be accepting the award on his behalf

jeff-dahnDr. Jeffery Dahn, Professor in Physics and Chemistry at Dalhousie University and the 2008 Discovery Centre Professional of Distinction, is being inducted into the Discovery Centre Hall of Fame for his internationally recognized front-line battery research as well as his contributions to teaching. A pioneering developer of the lithium-ion battery, used worldwide in laptop computers and cell phones, Dr. Dahn has received numerous awards for his research, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2001 and of the Electrochemical Society in 2012, and has recently been in the spotlight for receiving one of six inaugural Governor General Innovation Awards as well as a new research partnership with Tesla Motors/Energy.  He has over 600 publications in refereed journals, over 60 inventions, and is considered one of the top 10 researchers worldwide in materials science. In addition to his research, Dr. Dahn has been widely recognized for his teaching, receiving the Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Canadian Association of Physicists in 2009. With former students, Dr. Dahn recently formed the quickly growing local company “Novonix”, which sells precision Lithium-ion battery testing equipment.



An individual who is a leading innovator, a role model for people who choose science as a career.

fred-whoriskeyFred Whoriskey | Executive Director and co-lead of the Ocean Tracking Network – a global research, technology and development platform headquartered at Dalhousie University.

Under Dr. Whoriskey’s leadership, the OTN has become the world’s aquatic animal tracking network, enabling sustainable management of valued aquatic species by providing knowledge of animal movements and survival, and linking this knowledge to environmental conditions. Dr. Whoriskey’s research developing the first large-scale ocean acoustic arrays is the foundation on which much of OTN is modeled, and his leadership has allowed OTN to create an international partnership and network of researchers whose work has been transforming the way the scientific community thinks about interdisciplinary research and the sharing of data. Dr. Whoriskey has connected with politicians and the public to raise awareness about the role of technology in sustaining the oceans.  Under Whoriskey’s leadership, OTN’s tracking results are used to determine equitable fishery allocations, the design of marine reserves, and recovery planning for marine species, to name just a few specific applications. Prior to joining Dalhousie with the OTN, Dr. Whoriskey was a professor at McGill University, and then Vice President of Research and Environment for the Atlantic Salmon Foundation, and has also served for 8 years as Chair of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJames Robar | Chief of Medical Physics with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, and a Professor in Dalhousie’s Department of Radiation Oncology with a cross-appointment in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science

In these roles, Dr. Robar is the director of both the clinical and academic Medical Physics operations in Nova Scotia. He has devoted his career to helping improve the lives of cancer patients who receive radiation therapy.  His research and development efforts have led to more than 80 publications, 10 patent applications, and 2 spin-off companies. Other leaders in the medical physics field have recognized his knowledge and vision through his election to the position of Vice-President of the International body, CAMPEP, which sets standards for the education and training of future generations of Medical Physicists. Dr. Robar has a passion for translating his fundamental work into practical solutions that can be – and are – used in the clinic. In the Halifax cancer clinic, word of mouth communication between patients has prompted requests for inclusion in a current clinical trial of 3D printed materials developed by Dr. Robar for use in the treatment of breast cancer.  Dr. Robar is a key ambassador for his field in Atlantic Canada, clearly communicating the research contributions and roles of Medical Physicists to senior administrative officials at both the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Dalhousie University – leading to the successful creation and operation of graduate training programs, and a clinical training program, as a result of Dr. Robar’s leadership.


peir_k_pufahl_1Peir K. Pufahl
is a Professor of Sedimentary Geology at Acadia University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Science.

Dr. Pufahl is Canada’s only phosphorite specialist, and consequently, his expertise is in high demand. He has made over 120 contributions to research in the fields of chemical and applied sedimentology, several of which are invited papers, book chapters and seminal articles on the geology of phosphatic ore bodies. Alongside his research efforts, he also works closely with industry to develop state-of-the-art tools for the exploration and production of fertilization ores. He uses a multidisciplinary approach to his work, incorporating fieldwork with modern sedimentologic, geochemical, and microbeam techniques to understand phosphate ores.  With worldwide research collaborations, he has also served as an advisor to the Geologic Survey of Western Australia and the Geologic Survey of Brazil; in Brazil, he helped develop Project Phosphate – a federal phosphorite exploration initiative aimed at feeding Brazils growing population. Dr. Pufahl’s work has significant implications for increasing Canada’s ability to acquire a stable and more secure source of phosphate before a diminishing global reserve strains the Canadian agriculture industry.  As this looming phosphorus shortage intensifies, Dr. Pufahl’s work will take on a growing significance and be a key part of raising public awareness of the role of phosphorus in the food chain, and raise the profile of the impact the earth sciences have on everyday life.


An individual under the age of 35 who demonstrates intellectual achievements, excellence and potential for ongoing growth and development.

alec falkenhamAlec Falkenham | Ph.D. candidate in Dalhousie University’s Pathology Department, with research spanning the immune system and cardiovascular disease to tattoo removal.

Most notably, Mr. Falkenham turned a side project into the development of a commercially viable tattoo-removing technology,  exemplifying the connection between the public need and science. his contribution to immune cell targeting in tattoos represents a significant step forward from existing removal technologies, with this work generating a global media storm highlighted by over 500 citations. In his graduate research, he has received multiple provincial and national scholarships, including a CIHR doctoral award. While still a graduate student, he is an emerging leader in cardiovascular research, presenting his work on the immune system’s role in healing the heart at national conferences, and publishing three first-author manuscripts while contributing to an additional seven manuscripts with three more in progress. Through all of this, Mr. Falkenham has shown the valuable ability to translate knowledge between fields. His passion is geriatrics and he spends one day each week volunteering with geriatric patients in the dementia wing at the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital. In addition, he is part of the new CARE volunteer program in the emergency department that focuses on reducing the risk of delirium in vulnerable aging patients.

brettBrett Dickey
is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Dalhousie University’s Biomedical Engineering program, and the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer for Covina Biomedical Incorporated.

Brett’s work has focused on designing new medical devices to allow physicians to deliver better patient outcomes with enhanced efficiency.  He has worked on problems in spinal fracture and has invented materials that can eliminate the need for invasive surgeries in patients with vertebral compression fractures. Brett is also exploring a version of his technology that can be used to enhance oral health care in developing countries and isolated communities without the need for conventional electrical dental tools. Beyond developing new technologies, he hopes to alter the world’s view of what a “glass” is, showing how glass materials can be used engineered to provide exacting properties for use in the body.  Brett had an impressive record through his graduate research, resulting in 5 first-author publications, 8 international conference proceedings, 2 patent filings, and over $200,000 in grants and awards for his work in adapting a class of dental cement for use in the repair of spinal fractures.  The company he co-founded while in graduate school, Covina Biomedical, has recently accepted to participate in the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program, and with Brett’s expertise, poised to become a leader in the field of orthopaedics biomaterials.

devinDevin Horsman is currently the technical Director for Twisted Oak, with offices in Halifax and San Francisco.

While Devin was an undergraduate and graduate student at Dalhousie University’s Computing Science program, Devin worked in the Human-Computer Interaction “EDGE” lab as an NSERC USRA scholar, and the Graphics and Visualization lab as a Masters student, and also was an active member of the programming team and mentorship program. Devin founded Twisted Oak Studios with Matthew Jewkes in 2009:  a worker-owned co-operative offering technical services and consulting in the areas of game development, security and Augmented and Virtual Reality. Devin is a dedicated and prolific professional working at the cutting edge of New Media and Information Technology, setting himself apart from his peers notably in the large volume of projects he undertakes.  He has been involved in over 45 projects spanning a range of applications including VR technology, 3D rendering technology, camera capture systems, motion control technology, and digital music effects. Devin has been actively involved in mentorship, including with New Media Manitoba (in Winnipeg), Execution Labs (in Montreal), Start-up weekend 2012, Halifax Game Jam, and Nova Scotia’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development. Devin has been a passionate advocate for the Halifax ICT job market and the Nova Scotia technology sector internationally, for funding of Digital Media through the Nova Scotia Game Developer’s Association, and for improving salaries and work-life balance in ICT.


A company that has produced a commercially viable product or service and is ready or has already launched it into the market.

novonix Dr. Chris Burns is Co-founder, President and CEO of Novonix, a company that designs, builds and sells Lithium-ion battery testing equipment, after being spun out of Dr. Jeff Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie University where Chris completed his Ph.D. Their first generation ultra-high precision charger system enables accurate and precise measurements of a Lithium-ion battery’s efficiency, which can be used to estimate their lifetime on the scale of decades. Novonix has demonstrated that they can manufacture the most accurate battery testing equipment in the world. Through the first few years of its existence, it has sold equipment to key battery companies all over the world with customers in more than ten countries. Novonix has recently secured a partnership with one of the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturers in Asia to integrate Novonix systems into more of their research and manufacturing activities.  Novonix is growing fast and plans on doubling its staff in 2016 as well as releasing is second-generation ultra-high precision charger system while developing and launching other new product lines.


Natural Ocean Products Inc. is an export-oriented marine bioscience company whose President, and co-founder, Tim Cranston, has invested over a decade of research & development, time and money to realize the company’s current success.  The company’s commercialized product is a 100% natural seaweed-based organic bio-fertilizer designed to provide both water retention and growth stimulation for seed germination and plant and crop nutrition.  These product characteristics are unique to the marketplace and will not only help drought-stricken lands combat the increasingly negative effects of global warming but also help prevent water contamination from overuse of chemical fertilizers.  The company was incubated at the National Research Council’s Institute for Marine Bioscience in Halifax, where Cranston spent years studying the bioactive compounds in organic biomass such as sea plants and developing novel ways to efficiently break down plants’ cell walls to extract maximum yields of bioactive compounds such as carbohydrates, proteins and antioxidants – this resulted in the company’s innovative chemical-free “cell burst” technology.  The company has been recognized with many awards – from Innovacorp to the NRC and the Canadian Manufacturer’s & Exporters Association. As a socially- and environmentally-conscious enterprise, the business will focus on a “Triple P” bottom line, benefitting People, Plant, and Profit equally. In the process it will use locally sourced and underutilized seaweed species for manufacturing the product, creating critical skilled jobs in rural Nova Scotia.


qra-logoQRA Corporation, led by its President, CEO and co-founder, Jordan Kyriakidis, is a new company devoted to solving one of the greatest hurdles for innovation: verification of complex systems.  QRA’s flagship product, QVTrace, is an advanced platform that discovers design faults in complex, embedded systems.  QRA has been enlisted by Lockheed Martin to develop their testing and validation tools for use with the increasingly complex cyber-physical systems that are common in the aerospace industry – that is, systems where software and electronics are used to control physical systems.  QRA’s solutions have the potential to provide validation and testing at a greatly reduced cost within a wide variety of industries, such as automotive, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, and more.  As an accomplished scientist and Dalhousie University physics professor, Jordan created the initial algorithms powering the QVTrace engine and has successively taken fundamental research out of the university laboratory and developed it into compelling engineering tools.  Within the past year, QRA has celebrated multi-million dollar partnerships with Lockheed Martin, Innovacorp, and Dalhousie University, and received 2.9-million-dollars of funding under the Atlantic Innovation Fund.


An individual who promotes science and technology to the public above and beyond the normal avenues of communication.

image003Tina Kelly is the current Board President of Techsploration – a non-profit organization with a mission to empower diverse young women to explore careers in sciences, technology, engineering, and trades.

Ms. Kelly not only promotes science, trades and technology in her “day job” as Academic Chair for Trades and Technology at NSCC’s IT campus but also through her continuous volunteer work with several organizations.  In 2012, she co-chaired the 14th Biennial CCWSETT Conference and Policy Forum – a conference that resulted in the development of new education, government and industry partnerships in Nova Scotia and across Canada for women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technologies. During her term as President of the Sackville Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Kelly supported the implementation of  “STEP”, a skills technology program for high school students where technology was used to increase interest and inspire post-secondary education. Whether through her work with Techsploration or the many other organizations for which Tina volunteers countless hours, or in her role at the NSCC, Tina constantly and consistently strives to ensure that youth throughout Nova Scotia develop a real passion for science and technology and a genuine understanding of the importance of math and science in their lives.


boris_worm_portrait3Dr. Boris Worm is a Marine Research Ecologist working as Professor in Dalhousie University’s Biology Department.

Dr. Worm is a renowned scientist in the fields of marine ecology and fisheries conservation.  His scientific papers on the impact of fishing and climate have generated headlines worldwide and brought ocean conservation issues to the forefront of people’s minds.  In Nova Scotia, he’s best known as CBC Radio’s ‘Ocean Guy’.  Dr. Worm’s newest project is Ocean School.  The interactive, web-based programme was developed by Dalhousie and the NFB to bring a virtual underwater experience into the classroom.   It’s designed to immerse Grade 6 to 9 students in the fascinating, fragile ocean world.  The prototype will be tested in Nova Scotia schools in January 2017.  Dr. Worm has played significant leadership roles in two major working groups for the National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and has been a co-lead for the Future of Marine Animal Populations Project, which was a critical part of the large Census of Marine Life initiative.   As a local foods enthusiast, Dr. Worm advocates for sustainable practices in Maritime kitchens and restaurants and is a familiar face for supporting local businesses. He simply practices what he preaches on a daily basis.


lisaDr. Lisa Lunney Borden is a Professor of Education at Saint Francis Xavier University, with a specialty in First Nations Education and Math Education.

Dr. Lunney Borden is the co-developer and lead Nova Scotia volunteer for the Show Me Your Math initiative – a program that invites Aboriginal Students in Atlantic Canada to explore the mathematics evident in their own communities and cultural practices. Dr. Lunney Borden serves as a role model and an inspiration for Aboriginal Youth and students and has had profound impacts on First Nation communities, schools and youth in this province.  She has been a lifelong leader of the X Project, a volunteer outreach program that offers small group educational assistance, recreational and leadership programs for African Canadian and Mi’kmaw youth, and has recently secured funding to launch a new outreach program for the same communities called Connecting Math to Our Lives and Communities. Dr. Lunney Borden is also actively involved in Techsploration, a program designed to help young women explore careers in science, trades, and technology and advocated for gender equality. Dr. Lunney Borden’s work leads her to be very involved in raising funds to support her educational goals and was actively involved in helping secure the Jeanine Deveau Scholarship fund at StFX – a landmark $7 million dollar donation to support Aboriginal students studying at StFX.  Her efforts have also been funded externally through the Tri-Partite Forum, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, the Canadian Mathematics Society, and the Atlantic Association for Research in Mathematics.



A student or group of students who has been recognized by the Nova Scotia Science Fairs as worthy of being recognized for his or her outstanding achievements (Award is designated by the NS Science Fair Process)

sophie-fraserSophie Fraser | is currently a Grade 10 student at King’s-Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

Sophie is being recognized for the Science Fair project she conducted last year entitled “Common Sensors: Impact Sensors for Helmets”.   For her project, Sophie created and tested an impact sensor for helmets in sports that could be used as a tool to show the location of impacts, and the relative force of the impacts, with the ultimate goal to assist with the assessment, diagnosis and treatment decisions for athletes potentially experiencing a concussion from an impact to the head.  Sophie’s involvement on the school hockey team led her to want to study this issue after she discovered there are currently no location-specific impact sensors for helmets on the market.  Considering the importance of proper identification and treatment decisions for concussions, Sophie embarked on her project.  This marked Sophie’s second year in a row competing at the Canada Wide Science Fair after being selected each year as one of the top three projects from the Annapolis Valley Region. This latest project earned Sophie a Silver Medal in the Intermediate Category at the national Science Fair last May in Montreal.



Purchase your tickets today!


The Discovery Awards take place on November 17 at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotelin to support the Discovery Centre’s non-profit mandate.

Important documents:

Discovery Awards Nomination Form

Discovery Awards Category Criteria 

Past Discovery Award Recipient List 

Co-presenting Sponsors:

copresentingSMU           copresentingMNP

Media Sponsors:

CTVogo 3d

Gold Sponsors:






Reception Sponsor:



Shell Canada



Sponsorship Opportunities

Find out more about sponsorship opportunities for the most distinguished event of the year in Science and Technology. If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact Chuck Bridges by phone at 902-492-4422 x 2225 or by email

Past Discovery Award Recipients Videos

You can view our past award/inductee recipients via our Discovery Centre YouTube Channel videos:

Hall of Fame

Professional of Distinction

Emerging Professional

Science Champion


Youth Award

About the Discovery Centre

The not-for-profit Discovery Centre is Nova Scotia’s only hands-on science centre whose mandate is to stimulate interest, enjoyment and understanding of science and technology through innovative, exciting, hands-on experiences for all Nova Scotians. All proceeds from the Discovery Awards support the Centre’s important mandate.