Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation
Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs

November 29, 2007 15:31 ET

Government of Canada Strengthens Research Excellence by Investing $109.7 Million to Fund 109 Canada Research Chairs

Researchers to focus on health and the economy

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2007) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canada Research Chairs Program, announced today at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal an investment of $109.7 million to fund appointments to, and renewals of, 109 Canada Research Chairs across the country. This investment includes $5.7 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to fund research infrastructure essential to the work being performed by 34 of the Chairs.

"As demonstrated in Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, the Government of Canada is committed to improving Canada's international reputation for research excellence," said Minister Prentice. "The Canada Research Chairs Program helps universities recruit and retain the most brilliant and promising researchers, helping these institutions become leaders in the fields of advanced science and technology."

"Our government has chosen to invest strategically to support research and development and to promote innovation-key components of the country's future economic and social well-being," said the Honourable Michael M. Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister responsible for the Montreal Region. "Doing top-notch research, and attracting and retaining outstanding researchers in our Canadian universities, will help maintain and advance Canada's position in the global, knowledge-based economy".

The national announcement spotlights Mohamad Sawan, who has held the Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Medical Devices at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal since 2001. Dr. Sawan's work focuses on the development of miniaturized medical devices and prostheses, with the aim of improving quality of life for people living with visual, hearing or mobility challenges. Dr. Sawan is also the co-founder of Cortivision, a Canadian firm specializing in biomedical technology, and his discoveries have led to many industry patents and practical applications.

"The Canada Research Chairs Program helps to position Canadian universities as world-renowned research centres, and supports the training of a new generation of innovative scientists and highly qualified personnel," said Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and head of the Canada Research Chairs Program's steering committee. "The research funded by this program benefits the public, private and non-profit sectors by helping them respond to social, political and economic issues of concern to Canadians."

The 109 chairholders appointed and renewed today will conduct research in many areas that directly benefit Canadians.

Greg Halseth, for example, is being renewed as Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. He is examining how social change affects Canada's small communities. The results of his studies will help communities cope with the challenges of economic restructuring and continue to play a vital role within Canada.

As the newly appointed Canada Research Chair in Cancer Research at the University of Calgary, Sung-Woo Kim will help in the fight against cancer by studying the genes that appear to suppress tumours and prevent cancer from growing. His research will make it possible to identify the types of people most at risk of developing malignant tumours, and will improve our current understanding of the human genome.

Teresa Scassa holds the Canada Research Chair in Information Law at the University of Ottawa. Her work will help replace existing copyright and file-sharing information laws with clearer, fairer legislation. Her research will assist governments, consumers and businesses in navigating current issues raised by major technological and cultural changes.

"The investments being announced today will further enhance our country's reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers and make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI.

Note to editors: The Canada Research Chairs Program is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping universities achieve research excellence in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities. Chairholders improve Canadians' depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen the country's international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people.

Since its launch in 2000, the Chairs Program has created 1,851 research professorships at 70 universities across Canada. Of these positions, 584 have been filled by researchers recruited from abroad, including 267 Canadian expatriates. When fully implemented, the program will support 2,000 Chairs across the country. Applications to renew a chairholder's appointment undergo the same rigorous peer review used to evaluate the initial nomination.

The 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 other non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. For a complete listing of CFI contributions, please visit

For more information on this announcement, including detailed research profiles for each chairholder, visit our website at

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