The CMS Blair Spearman Doctoral Prize recognizes outstanding performance by a doctoral student. The prize is awarded to one recipient of a Ph.D. from a Canadian university whose overall performance in graduate school is judged to be the most outstanding. Although the dissertation will be the most important criterion (the impact of the results, the creativity of the work, the quality of exposition, etc.) it will not be the only one. Other publications, activities in support of students and other accomplishments will also be considered.

Nominees must have their Ph.D. conferred by a Canadian university in the year (January 1st to December 31st) preceding the nomination deadline.  Nominations that were not successful in the first competition will be kept active for a further year (with no possibility of updating the file) and will be considered by the Doctoral Prize Selection Committee in the following year’s competition.

The CMS Blair Spearman Doctoral Prize will consist of an award of $2,000, a two-year complimentary membership in the CMS, a framed certificate and a stipend for travel expenses to attend the CMS meeting to receive the award and present a plenary lecture.


Candidates must be nominated by their university and the nominator is responsible for preparing the documentation described below, and submitting the nomination to the email address below.

CMS aims to promote and celebrate diversity in the broadest sense. We strongly encourage department chairs and nominating committees to put forward nominations for outstanding colleagues regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The deadline for the receipt of nominations is January 31, 2021.

The documentation shall consist of:

  • A curriculum vitae prepared by the student.
  • A resumé of the student’s work written by the student and which must not exceed ten pages. The resumé should include a brief description of the thesis and why it is important, as well as of any other contributions made by the student while a doctoral student.
  • Three letters of recommendation of which one should be from the thesis advisor and one from an external reviewer. A copy of the external examiner’s report may be substituted for the latter. More than three letters of recommendation are not accepted.

All documentation, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted electronically, preferably in PDF format, no later than January 31, 2021, to


About the Award

The CMS Doctoral Prize is renamed as the CMS Blair Spearman Doctoral Prize in honour of the late mathematician, Dr. Blair Kenneth Spearman thanks to the Spearman Family who has generously pledged an endowment to the Canadian Mathematical Society in 2019 to fund the CMS Doctoral Prize. 

Dr.  Spearman was born on September 29, 1951, in Ottawa, Ontario. Although he did not discover the divine beauty of Mathematics until he was a third-year student at Carleton University, once he did, he devoted his life to it, finishing his Ph.D. at Penn State University in record time. He was a professor at University of British Columbia – Okanagan, receiving UBC Okanagan’s first Teaching Excellence and Innovation Award, and consistently winning the same award year after year. He touched and changed so many of his students’ careers and lives with his tireless effort and devotion. He was not only an exceptionally talented, first-rate mathematician who published over 115 mathematical papers in well-known journals, but also an absolutely wonderful and humble human being. His legacy will live on in those he left behind and will inspire young mathematicians to follow in his footsteps, strive for excellence, and be humble human beings.