Government of Canada

Government of Canada

September 15, 2011 10:07 ET

Government of Canada Renews Funding for World-Class Arctic Research

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2011) - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), today announced an additional $67.3 million in funding to ArcticNet—the largest funding renewal for the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program to date. The mission of this world-leading network is to help adapt the coastal Canadian Arctic to climate change and modernization. ArcticNet received its first federal grant in 2003 for almost $46 million.

"ArcticNet's work is of tremendous importance to Canadians," said Minister Paradis. "It promotes research excellence in natural resource management and it helps us understand the effects of climate change and how we can advance the sustainable development of communities in Canada's North."
ArcticNet, an independent not-for-profit organization housed at the Université Laval in Quebec City, will receive the funding over a seven-year period. It was renewed because it met the threshold of excellence after rigorous evaluation of its scientific accomplishments, future research goals, and training and knowledge-transfer activities.

"Year after year, ArcticNet researchers continue to navigate across the vast and often harsh conditions of the Canadian Arctic and sub-Arctic to gather information on the effects of climate change and how to best develop and protect northern communities," said Suzanne Fortier, Chair of the Networks of Centres of Excellence Steering Committee and President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. "This research is invaluable and has been applied by many stakeholders involved in the future of Arctic development, including industry partners and regulators, policymakers as well as local populations."

The NCE program is managed jointly by the three federal granting agencies—Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—in partnership with Industry Canada.


Renewal of NCE Network ArcticNet

The Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program mobilizes Canada's best research talent in the university, private and public sectors, and applies it to the task of developing the economy and improving the quality of life of Canadians. Networks are funded based on their excellence in research, their inclusion of the best cross-country talents, the extent of their partnerships with the receptor community, and their potential to generate socio-economic benefits.

ArcticNet will receive $67.3 million over seven years to continue making research breakthroughs and creating development opportunities in Canada's North. This Network of Centres of Excellence brings together researchers from the natural, human health and social sciences with partners from northern communities, and the public and private sectors to study the impacts of climate change in the coastal Canadian Arctic.

The proposal, reviewed by an Expert Panel, the NCE Standing Selection Committee, and the NCE Steering Committee, was evaluated against the following five criteria:

  • the excellence of the research program;
  • the potential to develop highly qualified personnel;
  • the ability to increase networking and partnerships;
  • the potential for knowledge and technology exchange and exploitation; and
  • the overall management of the Network.

The renewal review is required for any Network applying for a second funding cycle, which can be for either seven years (the older Networks) or five years (the newer Networks). Both kinds of Networks are subject to a mid-term review. For ArcticNet, which is on a seven-year cycle, funding is granted for four years after which it will be re-assessed in its mid-term review. Arctic Net is an independent not-for-profit organization housed at the Université Laval in Quebec City.

ArcticNet received its first federal grant in 2003 totalling almost $46 million for a seven-year period. Highly successful in reaching its objectives, ArcticNet trained over 250 highly qualified personnel and forged almost 200 industry, academic and public-sector partnerships last year. Its ongoing projects include several regional impact studies on societies and marine and terrestrial coastal ecosystems in the Canadian High Arctic, in the eastern Canadian Arctic, and in Hudson Bay.

Since 2004, ArcticNet researchers have used the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Amundsen to gather data for several projects that require long-term access to remote and harsh Arctic regions. They have partnered in several large-scale collaborative projects, such as the Circumpolar Flaw Lead study—a Canadian-led international project that aims to understand how climate change affects Arctic ice formations and their surrounding ecosystems. The researchers also participated in the Qanuippitali Inuit Health Survey that took them, along with a team of medical professionals and interpreters, to remote, coastal communities in the Arctic and sub-Arctic to assess the overall health of Inuit residents.

As a result of their research excellence and their ability to gather data from remote areas while aboard the CCGS Amundsen, ArcticNet forged a multi-million dollar research partnership with industry in 2009 that allowed researchers to ramp-up their efforts to collect environmental, geophysical and geological data in the Beaufort Sea area. This information will help multiple stakeholders in their decision making.

Founded in 1989, the Networks of Centres of Excellence are partnerships between universities, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations. An integral element of the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, these nationwide, multidisciplinary and multi-sector partnerships connect excellent research with industrial know-how and strategic investment.

Contact Information

  • Richard Walker
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Christian Paradis
    Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

    Kelly Nolan
    Communications Manager
    Networks of Centres of Excellence Secretariat
    Cell : 613-889-1761

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada