Discovery Awards


Thank you to the sponsors, nominee finalist, guests and event staff for an incredible evening on November 17th at the Marriott Halifax Harbourfront Hotel for an evening celebrating the incredible talent in science and technology here in Nova Scotia. We’re looking forward to our 15th Annual Discovery Awards event for 2017.


14 Annual Discovery Award recipients and Hall of Fame inductees: (left) Dr. James Robar, Dr. Jeff Dahn, Martha Tory, Dr. Boris Worm, Sophie Fraser, Alec Falkenham, Tim Cranston


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


Dr. 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.

Hall of Fame profile video (Henry Marshall Tory)

Dr. Jeff Dahn
Professor in Dalhousie’s Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science with a cross-appointment in the Department of Chemistry, 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.

Hall of Fame profile video (Dr. Jeff Dahn)



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


James 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.

Watch the Nominee video


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


Alec 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.

Watch the Nominee video 


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


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.

 Watch the Nominee video


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


Dr. 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.

 Watch the Nominee video


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 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.

Watch Youth Award profile video


Read the press release

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:

 LM-logo-700        02-dal-science-blk

clearwater-logo           goldDSM


Reception Sponsor:



Aldrich Pears and Associates

Atlantic Digital Reproductions Inc.

Barrie Langille Architects Ltd.



Marriott Halifax Harbourfront Hotel

Moryama & Teshima Architects

RKO Steel Ltd.

Shell Canada


2017 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 Helen Dolan by phone at 902-492-4422 x 2235 or by email hdolan@thediscoverycentre

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.

About the Discovery Awards

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