McGill honours eight accomplished FMHS researchers with Distinguished James McGill Professor, James McGill Professor and William Dawson Scholars awards 


McGill has bestowed prestigious internal recognition awards on three cohorts of McGill professors for their outstanding scholarship and research excellence. Five tenure-track professors, including one from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), received James McGill Professor (JMP) awards, acknowledging their significant research contributions and impact. Seven associate and assistant professors, including one from the FMHS, received William Dawson Scholar (WDS) awards, recognizing their demonstrated potential to become global leaders in their field. Sixteen professors – among them, six from the FMHS – received Distinguished James McGill Professor (DJMP) awards – McGill’s highest honour – reserved for late-career researchers who are recognized as international leaders in their field of study. 


“McGill is home to exceptional scholars leading high-impact research and innovation,” said Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Executive Vice-President (Academic) “I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to the 28 recipients of the DJMP, JMP, and WDS awards. Your unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of knowledge inspires us all.” 


From psychology to education to geography 


Among the newly appointed Distinguished James McGill Professors is Professor Caroline Palmer of the Department of Psychology and Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Cognitive Neuroscience of Performance. A global expert in human performance, music perception and quantitative modeling, Palmer is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Her research investigates the cognitive foundations that make it possible for people to respond and move to music and other auditory sequences, such as speaking or playing a musical instrument. These findings are instrumental in developing effective learning techniques for people with different skill levels and in rehabilitating patients suffering from brain injuries or neural diseases that impair memory and motor skills. 


James McGill Professor awardees include Integrated Studies in Education Professor Vivek Venkatesh, who was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Education in June. An internationally renowned scholar, his research focuses on building community resilience and tolerance against hate through public and collaborative approaches, including films and documentaries, musical soundtracks and multimedia productions. Among his most prominent pedagogical initiatives is “Project SOMEONE” (Social Media Education Everyday), an online multi-media platform devoted to the reduction of hate and violent extremism. He has held the UNESCO Co-Chair in Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism since 2017. 


This year’s recipients of the William Dawson Scholar awards include Professor Sara Knox, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, whose research investigates how changes in climate and land-use can impact the way water, energy and gases move between land and the atmosphere. With a focus on wetlands, Knox is studying how ecosystems respond to changes in global climate and how they can mitigate climate change, advancing climate policy through her work. A McGill alumna – she received her Bachelor of Science from McGill in 2009 – Knox most recently taught at the University of British Columbia where she held the Canada Research Chair in Eco-Meteorology. She currently leads the MicroMet Lab and has published in notable research journals, including Global Change Biology, and Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 


Both JMP and WDS awards include an annual salary supplement and research allowance of up to $25,000. The DJMP award provides a $10,000 academic stipend or a $15,000 research allowance. To be considered for a DJMP award, recipients must have held a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) for two seven-year terms. DJMP recipients hold the distinction until retirement, and those granted Emeritus status retain the title. 

The 2024 DJMP, JMP and WDS cohort: 

FMHS Distinguished James McGill Professors – six honourees:




McGill Distinguished James McGill Professors – 10 other honourees: 


  • Geza Joos, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering 
  • Niky Kamran, Department of Mathematics & Statistics 
  • T.V. Paul, Department of Political Science 


FMHS James McGill Professors – one honouree:  



James McGill Professors – four other honourees: 



FMHS William Dawson Scholars – one honouree:  



William Dawson Scholars – six other honourees: 



A current listing of all DJMP, JMP and WDS awardees