The following is excerpted from the letter Alyssa Smith wrote in support of Dr. Smilek's nomination for the CSBBCS Mid-career Award

Dr. Daniel Smilek is the winner of the 2024 CSBBCS Mid-Career Award. Dr. Smilek has published more than 170 scientific peer reviewed journal articles in many top journals including Nature, Cognition, Psychological Science, and Perspectives on Psychological Science that, collectively, have been cited more than 16,000 times. Dr. Smilek has made significant contributions at many levels to Canadian psychology since receiving his PhD in 2002. In addition to his stellar publication record, Dr. Smilek has served on the editorial board of several top journals including the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance and Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, and has served as Associate Editor at Consciousness and Cognition and the British Journal of Psychology. He has authored 7 book chapters and 3 books. His Cognition book is widely used across universities as a foundational textbook on brain, behaviour, and cognitive science. Dr. Smilek has also regularly reviewed scholarships (e.g., Ontario Graduate Scholarship) and grant applications (e.g., Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, National Science Foundation).

Dr. Smilek’s outstanding contributions to cognitive science have been recognized numerous times by NSERC, as evidenced by his continuous funding and the recent award of an NSERC accelerator supplement. His expertise is also sought after by industry partners such as the Bank of Canada, Blackberry (formerly Research in Motion), and AMTRAK. Dr. Smilek has made substantial contributions to the fields of sustained attention and inattention. His work has changed the way we think about constructs such as mind wandering—by differentiating mind wandering as intentional or unintentional and by studying this differentiation at the trait- and state-levels. Dr. Smilek’s work has also provided unique insight into attention in the natural world through his emphasis on studying attention through ecologically valid paradigms.

While he is currently best known for his work on attention, as a PhD student and early-career assistant professor, he carved out an international reputation for his research on synaesthesia. Together with his supervisors Drs. Mike Dixon and Phil Merikle, Dr. Smilek quickly became one of the most prolific researchers in the world studying this phenomenon. They were responsible for empirically distinguishing between different types of synaethestes (the projector versus associator distinction) that greatly furthered our understanding of this phenomenon.

As an advisor, Dr. Smilek fosters both creative and critical thinking. Throughout his 21 year research career, Dr. Smilek has continuously proven himself to be a leading theorist in the field of cognitive science and a true role model in all facets of life: he works hard, and is bright, curious, kind, and good-humored. In sum, Dr. Smilek easily fulfills all the criteria for the CSBBCS Mid-Career Award and is a very deserving winner of this honour.