The award is known as:
- English: Qilak Award for Astronomy Outreach and Communication
- French: Prix Qilak pour la communication en astronomie
The Beyond International Year of Astronomy group (collaboration of RASC/CASCA/FAAQ) developed this award jointly in 2010.
Qilak is the Inuit word that means the entire sky: the celestial sphere and all that it contains, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.
1. Establishment of the Awards
Established in 2011, these Awards are given, one by each of the sponsoring organizations, with a common purpose and evaluation criteria. The sponsoring organizations of the Awards are CASCA, FAAQ and the RASC.
The Qilak Award / Prix Qilak is intended to recognize individual Canadian residents, or teams of residents, who have made an outstanding contribution, during a particular time period, either to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy in Canada, or to informal astronomy education in Canada, and to promote such activities among the members of the sponsoring organizations.
The awards do not recognize achievement in formal astronomy education or achievement by a person or team of persons in the performance of their regular duties in their job or profession.
These guidelines are meant to foster cooperation among the sponsoring organizations. It is recognized that, if one or more of the sponsoring organizations withdraws their support or participation, the national scope of the Award is lost. It is acknowledged that the sponsoring organizations may initiate other awards or other recognition for similar achievement within their own organizations as well as participating in these national Awards.
A nominee or a team of nominees must be a member or members of one of the sponsoring organizations. This can include a broad range of individuals, including graduate students, involved in activities or other pursuits that advance public and/or student understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Nominees must have made the contributions being recognized while working in Canada. Current CASCA EPO committee members are not eligible. Nominations received for the current year's competitions remain under consideration for the following year.
Each of the three sponsoring organizations will offer not more than one Award each year. If no nominee is deemed worthy, a sponsoring organization may withhold its Award in a given year.
Nominations are solicited from anyone familiar with, or knowledgeable of, the nominee's or nominees' achievements. A letter of nomination should highlight how the nominee or team of nominees have distinguished themselves in this endeavour and/or cite exceptional achievement. A nomination should originate from more than one individual. Normally, it is anticipated that nominations will come from the sponsoring organizations, such as an RASC Centre, an FAAQ club, or an awards committee. Letters of nomination and any supporting materials must be received by the appropriate sponsoring organization by the end of December of each year. Send RASC nominations Awards Committee.
5. Evaluation Criteria
Each sponsoring organization will select a winner for its own Award separately, through its own organization and procedures, but according to common principles and evaluation criteria. The common evaluation criteria is: The Award recognizes the individual or team of individuals from each sponsoring organization who contributed the most to astronomy outreach in the past year, either as part of a continuing project or as part of a separate event or sequence of events, either on a local or a national scale, but not as part of their regular job-related or professional work.
6. Establishment of a Task Group
There will be a task group responsible for the national aspects of the Awards, composed of one member appointed by each of the sponsoring organizations. The task group will function on a collegial basis and proceed by consensus. Each member of the task group will be responsible for:
- sharing with the task group the details of the winning nomination as determined by the sponsoring organization which they represent, and
- any other information from their sponsoring organization that is relevant to the Awards.
- advocating for the national character of the Awards both within the task group and within the organizational structure of the sponsoring organization which they represent.
- informing the sponsoring organization which they represent, in an appropriate way and within the appropriate time frame, of the deliberations of the task group.
The task group may coordinate a public announcement on behalf of all sponsoring organizations.The task group will encourage nominations each year in the fall.
7. Design and Presentation of the Award
An appropriate certificate will be designed under the direction of the first task group. The name of each sponsoring organization will be included equally in the design of the certificate. A sufficient quantity of the Award certificates will be produced to maintain the basic continuity of the Award for a long time. 99 certificates is the suggested number. Expenses associated with the development, production and maintenance of the certificates will be shared equally by the sponsoring organizations
Each sponsoring organization will:
- retain an appropriate share of the supply of certificates.
- communicate with the winner of the relevant Award and, if the Award is accepted, present the Award in such manner as the sponsoring organization may from time to time determine.
- present the relevant Award at their annual meeting or other appropriate venue.
- announce the winners of the Awards of the other sponsoring organizations at an appropriate time.
This is the essence of the national character of the Awards. For instance, the winners of these Awards from all three sponsoring organizations should be included in a list of all other award winners that is published by each of the sponsoring organizations separately. Each sponsoring organization may offer such further recognition as they may from time to time determine, and will also cover the cost of such further recognition on their own.
James E. Hesser
National Research Council of Canada
Club Véga de Cap-Rouge
John R. Percy
University of Toronto
Les Vagabonds du Ciel de Lanaudière
Citations (PDF) for RASC recipients are provided above for those not published in JRASC.