Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs
Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

February 23, 2009 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Provides Support to Canada Research Chairs at 37 Universities

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) and the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture), announced today an investment of $120.4 million to fund 134 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs in 37 Canadian universities. This includes $6.6 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure to facilitate the work of 42 chairholders receiving funding under today's announcement.

"Our government recognizes the important role that research excellence plays in furthering innovation and competitiveness, two main elements in our science and technology strategy," noted Minister of State Goodyear. "This is why we announced a $5.1-billion investment in science and technology in Budget 2009 - Canada's Economic Action Plan. The Canada Research Chairs Program helps universities attract and retain the best researchers in the world, which promotes job creation, enhances the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy for future generations."

"Today's announcement reflects the commitment of Canada's government to research excellence," said Minister Blackburn. "The Chairs Program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation allow our universities to recruit top scientists and researchers from Canada and abroad. Our investments in research chairs are building both a larger base of scientific expertise and Canada's international reputation for research excellence. This in turn helps create jobs, increase economic growth and improve our standard of living."

Today's event features Andrew Reader, the new Canada Research Chair in Positron Emission Tomography at McGill University. Dr. Reader seeks to advance the imaging and analysis techniques used in neuroscience. Reader's new data processing methods will provide more accurate and precise images of brain function, which is excellent news for health professionals working to prevent and treat neurological diseases.

"Since its inception in 2000, the Canada Research Chairs Program has helped to make Canadian universities world-class research centres," said Chad Gaffield, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and chair of the program's steering committee. "By recruiting renowned experts and retaining them in Canada, our universities are able to create conducive environments for groundbreaking research, as well as highly stimulating settings for training the next generation of researchers and leaders from all sectors of society."

"By investing in leading-edge research throughout the country, we are ensuring that Canada remains competitive in the knowledge economy," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the CFI. "The partnership between the Chairs program and the CFI has allowed our universities to attract and retain the best and brightest minds amid intense sustained international competition."

The 134 chairholders receiving funding under today's announcement will conduct research in many different fields of direct interest to Canadians.

In a second term as Canada Research Chair in Urban Sustainability and Disaster Management at the University of British Columbia, Stephanie Chang plans to develop computer models that will help political decision-makers and communities design effective strategies to limit the impacts of natural disasters on urban areas.

Jillian Buriak holds the new Canada Research Chair in Nanomaterials. The University of Alberta researcher plans to develop efficient, versatile methods to fabricate and synthesize a new generation of nanomaterials. Collaborating with experts in other disciplines, Buriak will design nanoscale architectures that will help build materials used in a wide range of areas. These include cleaner energy technologies, new understandings of neurodegenerative disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, and tissue engineering, to name a few.

Shawn Hayley is the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Neuroscience at Carleton University. For a second term, Dr. Hayley will continue studying brain-immune system communication, and how imbalances can lead to psychiatric or neurological illnesses, such as depression and Parkinson's disease. By helping to develop strategies for treating both conditions, Dr. Hayley's research will have a direct or indirect effect on the lives of thousands of Canadians.


The Canada Research Chairs Program is designed to attract the best talent from Canada and around the world, helping Canadian universities achieve research excellence in health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. Since its launch in 2000, chairholders have improved Canadians' depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthened the country's international competitiveness, and helped train the next generation of highly skilled people. There are currently 1,831 research professorships at 70 universities across Canada. Of these positions, 574 researchers were recruited from abroad, including 265 Canadian expatriates. For more information on this announcement, including detailed research profiles for each chairholder, visit

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. For a complete listing of CFI contributions, please visit

Contact Information

  • Canada Research Chairs Program
    Trevor Lynn, Manager, Communications
    613-996-7302; Cell: 613-302-9879
    Canada Foundation for Innovation
    Yves Melanson, Coordinator, Media Relations
    613-996-3160; Cell: 613-447-1723
    McGill University
    Julie Fortier, Associate Director, Media Relations
    514-398-6751; Cell: 514-884-1587
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft, Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
    Minister of National Revenue and
    Minister of State (Agriculture)
    Andrea Kent, Director of Communications