Bergmann Medal

The Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science

Established by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society in 2012, the medal recognizes achievement for “excellence in Arctic leadership and science”. It celebrates “Marty” Bergmann, a public servant with an outstanding talent for networking that led him to connect scientists with resources and technology, to inspire business leaders, explorers and innovators towards new goals and to consider and attempt to meet the challenges inherent in opening up the Arctic, whether these were related to logistics, safety, resources, people, knowledge or will.


“Canada’s North is where the action is.” 

  Marty Bergmann, 2011   Photo: Danielle Labonte

Nominate Someone:

The Martin Bergmann Medal is awarded for:

  • distinguished accomplishments in Arctic leadership and science in the Canadian Arctic;
  • excellence for a recent outstanding achievement, or for a lifetime of achievement, both being equally eligible.

Learn more …

Candidates will be evaluated on their qualifications in at least several of the following five categories:

  • Significance of contributions to Arctic leadership or science;
  • Contribution to outreach and awareness of the value of the Arctic to the Canadian public; 
  • Contribution with a lasting impact on or for a significant group (e.g., community, demographic group, scientific discipline, mass media);
  • Leadership through teaching/mentoring;
  • Significant contribution to disciplinary and interdisciplinary science activities;  “outreach” activities; inspiration and influence on policy directions and discovery initiatives.

The medal is meant to be future-oriented, and posthumous nominations will not be considered.

Who can nominate someone:

Nominations for the Martin Bergmann Medal may be made by any Canadian. The selection of a candidate as award recipient shall be based upon the information presented in the nomination package.

The Nomination package shall include:

  • A well supported candidate's curriculum vitae/resume
  • A comprehensive record of relevant supporting evidence (e.g., for leadership: independent evidence of inspiration or influence; for science: publications, awards, grant awards. It is also important that the nomination identify key publics (e.g., communities, youth, demographic groups, mass media) who may have been influenced by the achievements.
  • A concise, comprehensive statement indicating the merits and contribution made by the nominee to any one of the three areas to which the medal is devoted: Arctic leadership, or science. (The statement shall be supported by references to evidence including significant contributions, ideas, publications, teaching activities and program leadership.)
  • A summary of the accomplishments of the individual and a statement indicating how these accomplishments were connected with either the outstanding acheivement or the lifetime of achievement, as appropriate.
  • Letters of support.

Nominations which do not result in an award will be considered in subsequent years with the nominator's consent, unless disqualified. To be considered in a subsequent year, nomination packages must be updated with information for the current year.

Candidates disqualified for not meeting the criteria will not be considered in subsequent years, unless:

  • the nominator presents information to overturn the disqualification
  • the circumstances disqualifying the candidate have changed, enabling the candidate to meet the criteria


All nominations shall be received no later than March 1 of every year.

Please send nomination packages to:

Martin Bergmann Medal

Awards Committee
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Suite 200, 1155 Lola Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1K 4C1

About Martin “Marty” Bergmann

Bergmann, Carmack, and MacLean

Dr. Eddy Carmack, oceanographer/leader of the “Canada’s Three Oceans” Project, Dr. Steve MacLean, former astronaut and President, Canadian Space Agency and Martin Bergmann, Director of the Canadian Polar Continental Shelf Project, aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, in the Northwest Passage, 2010.

Marty Bergmann was a great Canadian “networker”, and the network he built, based on passion for the Arctic, was his greatest career accomplishment.  The “Marty network” is composed of scientists, engineers, students, explorers, business, government and native leaders, journalists, ship captains and astronauts and indeed, anyone with whom he could share his passion for the Canadian Arctic. He connected hundreds of people with resources and with each other and in so doing, became a central lynch-pin of Canada’s pursuit of northern goals during two decades.

As Director of the Polar Continental Shelf Program of Natural Resources Canada (PCSP), Marty Bergmann was a public servant, dedicated to helping Canada’s Arctic realize its true potential by facilitating the visits of hundreds of science and geology professionals to the North. Prior to his work at PCSP, Marty served Fisheries and Oceans Canada, working as Director of the National Centre of Expertise for Arctic Aquatic Research Excellence, (NCAARE) where he managed logistics for Arctic ocean science aboard the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, most notably, Canada’s flagship icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. However, Marty’s contribution to Arctic science is inestimable, far exceeding any public service role he undertook.

At Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marty was well known for attracting Peter Mansbridge, host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “The National” to join the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent for a trip through the Northwest Passage. During the week-long series, The National engaged Canadians in the science challenges facing the Canadian Arctic and set the stage for Canada’s International Polar Year science effort.  With this initiative, Marty ‘put the Arctic on the map’ for a generation of Canadians who had never been exposed to it before.

Working for Natural Resources Canada, Marty welcomed thousands of visiting scientists, students and media to Canada’s Arctic during the multi-year span of the 4th International Polar Year.  He was taken from the family, the work and the country he loved too soon and tragically, at age 55, on August 20, 2011 in a plane crash at Resolute Bay, Nunavut. He had been scheduled to escort Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a tour of ‘his’ facility and was excited about the chance to share his Arctic passion with the the Prime Minister.

Regardless of which federal department Marty officially belonged to, he truly was a public servant without borders.  He contributed unrelentingly to the government-wide agenda whether at home or abroad.

As Canadian astronaut Dr. Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency, said in his remarks about him at the inaugural presentation of the medal, “Marty was in the public service, but he was an innovator and a trail blazer, and never ‘just a bureaucrat’. “

Here are just a few of his accomplishments:

  • The creation of the first fully equipped, operational science lab in Canada’s Arctic;
  • The establishment of 1,635 aviation fuel caches throughout Canada’s Arctic to ensure the safety of aviators and visiting scientists, geological survey crews and defence personnel and in support Canadian sovereignty throughout his Arctic territories;
  • The doubling of the size of the Polar Continental Shelf Program’s facility in Resolute Bay, Nunavut to accommodate up to 75 working scientists;
  • The creation of a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Antarctic Survey for the use of their fleet of aircraft by PCSP during the Arctic summer/Antarctic winter.  The fleet consists of four De Havilland Canada Twin Otters and one De Havilland Canada Dash-7.
  • Engaging Young Presidents of Canada to visit the PCSP facility at Resolute Bay.  Marty brought some of Canada’s most energetic high technology CEOs to Nunavut to engage them in the Northern challenge. The Arctic Research Foundation, and its Arctic research ship were established through these efforts.
  • As a leading and relentless evangelist in national and international scientific circles for the establishment of a world-class Canadian High Arctic Research Station.
  • “Canada’s Gateway to the Arctic”, a video featuring Marty Bergmann, provides more information about the the Polar Continental Shelf Program and its goals.

Medal Recipients

The inaugural Martin Bergmann medal was presented to Martin Bergmann posthumously.  His wife, Sheila McRae, accepted the medal on his behalf.  His immediate and extended family and about 200 colleagues from the extensive ‘Marty network” attended the ceremony, which was held on April 26, 2012 in Montreal, in conjunction with the International Polar Year Conference, “Knowledge to Action”.

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