Nominations are now open for the 2023 Sterling Prize until FRIDAY, March 31, 2023.

Nominate Someone here.

The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy is the result of the vision and generosity of Nora and Ted Sterling. In 1993, the Sterlings established an endowment at Simon Fraser University to honour and encourage work that provokes and/or contributes to the understanding of controversy. Every year, a new recipient wins a $5,000 prize.

Why controversy? Some of the most important thinkers in human history brought forth once-controversial ideas in the face of opposition: Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, and Socrates, to name a few. Despite resistance, these thinkers have played a fundamental role in the development of modern society.

And as our modern society continues to grapple with no shortage of important issues such as racism, human rights and climate change, we still need people who are willing to challenge the status quo. In so doing, these trailblazers show us that our freedom to express ourselves is not something to be taken for granted, but rather celebrated.

What are the benefits of winning the Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy?

  • The recipient receives a cash award of $5,000.
  • The winner gives a public lecture, performance, or exhibition of their work followed by an award ceremony. This takes place in October and the event is typically very well attended by the public, colleagues, academics, staff, students, and many more.
  • Often, there is media coverage for the recipient, which allows for further exposure of the work being done!