Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

March 24, 2010 10:47 ET

Canada Foundation for Innovation Practices Called "World's Best"

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2010) - The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is the most successful research funding organization of its kind in the world says an internationally renowned panel of experts. Due to the dramatic increase in the quantity and quality of research infrastructure, the CFI has had major impacts on research capacity and productivity in Canada.

"The panel is unanimously of the view that the CFI's record of achievement to date is outstanding," said panel chair Arthur May, who is also President Emeritus and Vice-Chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland. "The CFI is widely admired internationally and, indeed, is a model that has been and will be emulated elsewhere."

KPMG conducted an overall performance evaluation and value-for-money audit of the CFI and an international panel of seven experts in global research and research funding reviewed the findings and produced an independent report. The KPMG evaluation focused on the achievements of the CFI against its national objectives and addressed global questions regarding relevance, results, and design and delivery. The audit looked at the CFI's management practices and processes, and whether they have been carried out with regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Highlights of the international review panel report:

"Uncompromising commitment to excellence"

Canada's cutting-edge labs, equipment and facilities are attracting researchers from around the globe and retaining Canadian talent. The CFI has been driven by a commitment to excellence, an emphasis on multidisciplinary collaborations and strategic thinking in funding this infrastructure. And in doing so, it has played a catalytic role in revitalizing and transforming the research enterprise in Canada and making it world-class.

"World's best practice"

The CFI's foundation model gives it the autonomy and flexibility it needs to promote excellence through rigorous funding competitions. The Government of Canada's continued support for this model has allowed the CFI to adjust its programs to meet Canada's research-infrastructure needs while safeguarding the public interest. The CFI's programs and processes involve world's best practices that are worthy of emulation.

"Strong advantage for Canada"

For more than a decade, the CFI has been a key player in rebuilding Canada's status as a destination of choice for research talent and collaboration. In today's global knowledge-based economy, where research is increasingly important to a country's economic prosperity, the CFI's achievements are relevant to Canada's needs and national interests.

About these reports

The overall performance evaluation and value-for-money audit (OPEA) of the CFI were required under CFI's Funding Agreement with the Government of Canada.

Read the full OPEA performed by KPMG in 2009, as well as the International Review Panel Report. (

About the panel

The international review panel members brought not only extensive international experience in relation to research and research funding, but also direct experience with the CFI's project approval processes and the Canadian research landscape. Panel members included:

  • Arthur May, Chair, President Emeritus and Vice-Chancellor, Memorial University of Newfoundland and former President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
  • Don Aitkin, former Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra, and Foundation Chair of the Australian Research Council. 
  • Michael Barber, Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, and former senior executive at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
  • Robert C. Dynes, President Emeritus, University of California, and former Chancellor, University of California San Diego. Dr. Dynes was also employed in private sector R&D for more than 25 years with Bell Laboratories.
  • Paule Leduc, former Rector, Université du Québec à Montréal, and former President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
  • Glenn Wells, Deputy Director and Head of Research Programmes, UK Department of Health, and former Business Development Manager for the Wellcome Trust.
  • Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, Secretary-General, Human Frontier Science Program, former Secretary-General of the European Research Council, and former President of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

About the CFI

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since it was created in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.27 billion in support of more than 6,600 infrastructure projects at 130 institutions across Canada.

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