Nora and Ted Sterling Prize

The Sterling Prize

The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy results from 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.

About 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. 

"I am honoured and delighted to receive this exceptional award. As someone who deeply cares about controversy, academic freedom, and freedom of expression, this recognition is especially valuable to me. Those of us who have experienced suppressed freedoms - I myself emigrated from Russia 13 years ago - are particularly sensitive to any attempts to limit academic freedom at universities. Grappling with controversial topics can come at a cost, but these freedoms should not be taken for granted and need to be constantly reinforced, encouraged, and fought for."

- Alexandra Lysova, Associate Professor, Criminology,
   Recipient of 2022 Sterling Prize

The Benefits Of Winning the Sterling Prize

  • 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!