ATW Call for Nominations for the Dr. Richard Playle Awards for Outstanding BSc and MSc Theses in Aquatic Toxicology

Richard Playle

Nominations are currently being sought for the Dr. Richard C. Playle Awards for Outstanding Theses in Aquatic Toxicology. These awards (one each at the BSc and MSc levels) were established by ATW in memory of Dr. Richard Colin Playle, a Professor of Biology at Wilfrid Laurier University from 1992 to 2005, who was an enthusiastic supporter of ATW and whose original insight spawned what is essentially a new area of research in aquatic toxicology: Biotic Ligand Modeling.


At the annual meeting, award recipients will be presented with a commemorative plaque, plus a cheque in the amount of $300 for Honours BSc students and $700 for MSc students. Click here to view past Playle Award winners.

Award recipients are expected to give an oral presentation on the subject of their thesis dissertation at the next meeting. The 41st Aquatic Toxicity Workshop will be held in Ottawa, Ontario on September 28 to October 1, 2014.

In order to support recipient attendance at the meeting, the following costs will be reimbursed by ATW, up to a maximum of CAD $1,000:

  • Registration at ATW for the day of the recipient’s oral presentation and award presentation (one day)
  • Reasonable expenses for transportation at minimum rates
  • One night’s accommodation (if required).


In order to qualify for this award, individuals under consideration must have had their thesis submitted and accepted at an accredited university within the year preceding the nomination deadline.

Nominations are limited to one thesis per degree level (BSc and MSc) per department, although more than one department in a university may nominate a thesis.

Please note that Playle Award winners will not be eligible to receive ATW student presentation awards for presentations on their thesis material.

Selection of Award Recipients:

Selection of recipients will be made by a committee of three judges chosen from among past, present and future ATW organizing committee members. Awards will be made annually if qualified applicants are identified.

In each of the two categories (BSc and MSc), theses will be judged on the:

  • Quality of the science (50%)
  • Presentation of the thesis (20%)
  • Quality of the applicant, as reflected in their CV (30%).

Specifically, judges will assess each nomination by considering the following criteria:

  • Writing is appropriate for the target audience
  • Thesis makes a compelling argument for the significance of the student’s research within the context of the current literature
  • Thesis clearly articulates the student’s research goals
  • Results are skillfully interpreted in the thesis
  • Compelling discussion of the implications of findings
  • Thesis is clearly organized
  • Thesis is free of writing errors
  • Citations are presented consistently and professionally throughout the text and in the list of works cited
  • Tables and figures are clear, effective and informative
  • Nomination package demonstrates that the student is academically gifted
  • Student is involved in a broad range of activities
  • Student shows promise to continue his/her academic training and/or interest in toxicology

Dr. Playle was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and literature and recognized the value of contributing to his community inside and outside the university.  Candidates whose CVs demonstrate a broad range of activities and/or participation in extracurricular fields will receive a higher weighting in the competition in keeping with Dr. Playle’s philosophy of leading a well-rounded life.

Winners will be notified of the award by August 26, 2014 and formally announced at the annual meeting in October.

Nomination Instructions:

The nomination package must include:

  • Thesis
  • Nominee’s CV
  • Letter of support written jointly by the nominee’s supervisor and the Chair of the nominee’s department

While the thesis and CV may be submitted either electronically or in hard copy, the letter of support with original signatures must be received in hard copy.

The complete nomination package must be received by the Chair of ATW’s Board of Directors by June 12, 2014:

Rosalie Allen Jarvis
ATW Board of Directors
Environment Canada
45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS, B2Y 2N6
Tel: 902-426-1571
Fax: 902-426-8373