Government of Canada

Government of Canada

November 22, 2010 09:30 ET

Government of Canada Helps University of Toronto Science and Engineering Graduates Enter the Workforce

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2010) - Thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada at universities across the country, young researchers will have an opportunity to expand their professional and personal skills to prepare for the workplace. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), announced today at the University of Toronto a new Collaborative Research Experience program called Polar Environment atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) to help further research in areas such as air quality, the ozone, and climate change.

"Our government is committed to developing, attracting and retaining the world's best researchers here in Canada," said Minister Raitt. "The Program is helping recent graduates make a successful transition into the knowledge workforce and giving them a head start on their chosen career path."

On June 4th, Minister of State Goodyear announced that the government was investing $32 million over six years for 20 projects funded under the program administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The projects will enable science and engineering graduates to upgrade their skills to make a successful transition to the workplace. The projects explore a variety of research areas, including photonics, climate change, civil engineering and optical networks.

Here at the University of Toronto, Dr. Kimberley Strong's training program will enhance the educational opportunities available to young researchers interested in polar, atmospheric and climate sciences. The research project will be receiving $1.65 million in funding support.

In addition to the advanced training already received in their science and engineering studies, the training and mentoring projects funded through the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program will help students and post-doctoral fellows further improve their employability skills. The program will help attract highly qualified students, increase their mobility nationally and internationally, and establish links that will advance their chosen careers.

"NSERC's CREATE Program helps graduating students become highly sought-after professional researchers in the natural sciences and engineering, both in Canada and abroad," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. "The program helps not only to improve the skill set of the next generation of Canada's research talent, but also to support their retention in the workforce."

More information on the Program is available in the attached backgrounder. To view the list of projects funded, visit

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28 000 students and post-doctoral fellows in their advanced studies. It promotes discovery by funding more than 11 800 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.


Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program

The CREATE Program, launched in May 2008, is designed to raise the standards for mentoring and training new Canadian researchers for careers in industry, government or academia. Grants are to be used primarily for direct student and post-doctoral support. Remaining funds are to be used to establish and maintain training programs.

CREATE program funding is directed to the following priority areas:

  • environmental science and technologies;
  • health and related life sciences and technologies;
  • information and communications technologies; and
  • natural resources and energy.

Projects consist of initiatives led by teams of Canadian university researchers who see the value in helping students acquire personal and professional skills that are not part of their normal academic training. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their ability to work productively in a research environment that has become increasingly multidisciplinary. Important areas of training include commercialization, communication and project management.

While the primary focus is on natural sciences and engineering, training may also include interdisciplinary projects across the natural sciences and engineering and the social sciences and health domains. If appropriate, students may also be exposed to other research groups, either nationally or internationally, establishing links that will further their chosen careers.

The 2010 grants support 20 projects that will receive $32 million over six years. They focus on a variety of areas, including photonics, climate change, civil engineering and optical networks.

The CREATE Program will help attract highly qualified people and retain them in Canada's workforce. It will increase student mobility nationally and internationally, between individual universities and between universities and other sectors.

Here is the list of researchers whose projects will be receiving CREATE funding:

Dr. Carl-Eric Aubin

École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montreal

The MEDITIS biomedical technologies program will foster an enriched training environment designed to produce highly qualified personnel in health engineering, a rapidly expanding discipline. For post-doctoral students, the emphasis will be on the development of new technologies to study, diagnose and treat cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases, the two most significant categories of disease in terms of direct and indirect costs in industrialized countries.

Dr. Christian Baron

Université de Montréal, Montreal

Classical scientific training programs are primarily anchored in individual disciplines and academic departments and do not provide students with the appropriate interdisciplinary and practical training required for the labour market of today. The Cellular Dynamics of Macromolecular Complexes program will help to close this critical gap in a very important area of the molecular biosciences.

Dr. Hugo Beltrami

St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish

This project aims to develop a post-graduate training strategy designed to prepare graduate students to address the impacts of climate change. The strategy will emphasize training opportunities that are rooted in systems science, interrelationships between systems, measurement approaches, processes, modelling, practical experiences, communications and crossover opportunities with industry and government.

Dr. Dominique Berteaux

University of Québec in Rimouski, Rimouski

Developing Nordic environments is a field of science that gives rise to significant territorial, ecological, social and economic issues. This science also poses enormous challenges for training as a result of the great distances between university centres and most Nordic environments. The continental Nordic environmental sciences training program (EnviroNorth) will be pan-Canadian, transdisciplinary and multi-institutional, and it will involve approximately 260 post-doctoral students and interns.

Dr. Allan Bertram

University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Atmospheric aerosols and their relationship to climate, air quality and health constitute a challenge that requires both research and training in a multidisciplinary approach. Students studying atmospheric aerosols are currently being trained in traditional disciplines (such as chemistry, physics or engineering), with very little interdisciplinary training or exposure. To address this problem, the project aims to establish a unified training program and collaborative research environment on atmospheric aerosols.

Dr. Peter Constabel

University of Victoria, Victoria

Global forests are a vitally important carbon sink for the biosphere, storing more than twice the mass of carbon that is found in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The program will provide interdisciplinary training for young scientists and professionals to better understand the interactions of climate with forests and to develop strategies to counteract the effects of climate change on Canada's forests.

Dr. Paul Corkum

University of Ottawa, Ottawa

The photonics revolution, unleashed by lasers and optical fibres, has transformed our daily life, but there is a growing need to train scientists, engineers and technicians in the science and applications of photonics. The program in extreme photonics (a new frontier in laser science) will fuel new opportunities for next-generation imaging, diagnostic, material processing, and instrumentation and device technologies.

Dr. Catherine Crudden

Queen's University, Kingston

In the increasingly multidisciplinary and international world of science, traditional training programs for highly qualified personnel are not very competitive. The project will enable the development of a training program in novel chiral materials and help to further strengthen international collaborations with French, Japanese and Swedish research groups.

Dr. Jeff Dahn

Dalhousie University, Halifax

The Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability (DREAMS) training program will support research trainees who will address important aspects of energy production, storage and sustainability. The DREAMS researchers will tackle some of the most important problems through advanced materials research; and, using a novel training approach, this program will facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive participants in the Canadian economy.

Dr. Paul De Koninck

Université Laval, Québec City

The future of progress in life sciences, from understanding basic biochemistry to complex biological organisms and environmental issues, hinges on our ability to improve ways to study and manipulate molecules and living organisms with increased precision and reduced invasiveness. The project aims to provide trainees enrolled in biophotonics research with true interdisciplinary training at the interface between life sciences and optics/photonics.

Dr. Graham Gagnon

Dalhousie University, Halifax

Public expectations for clean water at the tap and in the environment have contributed to driving the water sector from its historical "low-tech" image to become a key component of the "clean-tech" economy. The Systems Training and Education in Water Assets Research and Development (STEWARD) program will help to train the next generation of young professionals in the water industry through a collaborative approach that is unique to Canada.

Dr. Andrew Kirk

McGill University, Montréal

The development of new sensor systems to meet future needs requires expertise from many disciplines. This program brings together a team from four Montréal-region universities that has a history of strong research collaboration and will now design a training program to develop the next generation of Canadian experts in integrated sensor systems.

Dr. Yves Pouliot

Université Laval, Québec City

The health food and technologies sector is a combination of food sciences and medical knowledge. The program for multidisciplinary training in the health food and technologies sector (FAST) is a joint initiative of the Université Laval's Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, the University of Manitoba's Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals and the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine. FAST will respond to the urgent need for highly qualified staff in the Canadian biopharmaceutical and agri-food industries.

Dr. John Preston

McMaster University, Hamilton

The program in photovoltaics will train Canada's next generation of engineers and scientists in the most advanced concepts for the conversion of sunlight to electricity. The program will provide the Canadian photovoltaic manufacturing sector with the highly qualified personnel it needs to be internationally competitive. It will also provide the students with an opportunity to acquire a comprehensive set of professional skills for creating new business ventures and participating in public policy development.

Dr. Wei Qiu

Memorial University, St. John's

The Offshore Technology Research Training Program focuses on offshore oceans and the technology required for the development of natural resources. The program aims to ensure the continued development of Canadian natural underwater resources by addressing problems identified by industry and providing a highly trained workforce to maintain Canada's competitive advantage.

Dr. Steven Siciliano

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Canadians face an ever-increasing number of potential health risks from environmental contaminants. The government, scientists and the public need to know the dangers that contaminated soil, water, air, foodstuffs and consumer products pose to humans and the ecosystem and how to manage these risks to protect human and ecological health. The program will train a new class of professionals who understand the entire process of assessing and managing the risk that environmental contaminants pose to humans and ecosystems.

Dr. Kimberly Strong

University of Toronto, Toronto

The training program aims to significantly enhance the educational opportunities available to young researchers interested in polar, atmospheric and climate sciences, enabling them to build professional networks, and to develop research, technical, communications and organizational skills. The program will also take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), which is dedicated to addressing issues related to air quality, ozone and climate change.

Dr. Philippe Teillet

University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge

The AMETHYST Pathways project will create the first imaging science degree program in Canada. The high-tech field of imaging is used daily throughout society and provides essential information for major job sectors in Canada, including natural resource management in the energy, forestry and agriculture industries, as well as medical imaging, national security, climate, water and the environment. The program will carry out leading-edge interdisciplinary research in critical areas and produce a broader base of entry-level specialists to help address critical and long-term needs within this substantial and growing job market.

Dr. John Valliant

McMaster University, Hamilton

The impact of the recent shortage of medical isotopes highlighted the importance that molecular imaging and the associated probes has on the health of Canadians and on the economy of Canada. The Molecular Imaging Probe Program (C-MIPP) is a new training program the will educate undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in health and related life sciences and technologies.

Dr. Scott Yam

Queen's University, Kingston

The Next Generation Optical Networks program will prepare highly qualified personnel trained in the integrated disciplines of optical devices, photonics communication systems and information technology. The training program is designed to develop professional skills in graduate trainees that will complement their qualifications and technical skills and will facilitate their transition to the workforce in the optical engineering sector.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft
    Director of Communications
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations
    Martine Perreault
    Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer