To be selected for the Polanyi Prize, each person’s application must be put forward by the Dean of Graduate Studies at the university at which the candidate will undertake the research supported by the award.
No more than three applications for each of the prize areas can be submitted by any institution.
There are 10 members of the Selection Committee, two each from the five prize areas. They are nominated by the Deans of Graduate schools of Ontario universities, and selected by the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies. Each disciplinary competition is determined separately without regard to the outcome of the other competitions.
In 2016, there were five female and five male members on the selection committee.
The Polanyi Prizes are awarded purely on the basis of merit.
There were 33 applicants for the 2016 Prizes, 12 of whom were women. In 16 of the 29 years of the prize, there were either two or three women winners.