Government of Canada

Government of Canada

February 11, 2011 13:00 ET

Harper Government Invests in Promising Research Across Canada

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 11, 2011) - Canadians will soon have a new way to make the most of their energy use while reducing consumption, thanks to a new investment by the Government of Canada in research on a smart energy grid at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). The investment was one of four research networks announced by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), who was joined by Nina Grewal, Member for Parliament for Fleetwood – Port Kells, and Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

"Supporting science is the key to Canada's future economic growth," said Minister Goodyear. "These Strategic Networks will bring together leading researchers to generate new technology and knowledge that will help improve the lives of Canadians and create jobs."

Scientists from four Canadian universities will receive $22.5 million in funding from NSERC. The funding will support research networks that focus on the development of a next-generation electricity system, the integration of wireless communications technology for vehicles, the development of new technologies to preserve marine and freshwater habitats, and the detection and deactivation of dangerous bacteria in food and water.

At BCIT, the smart grid can monitor and manage energy consumption at multiple sites and adjust use during peak times. The smart grid also has the potential to tap into renewable sources of energy in order to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Strategic Network Grants (SNG) Program helps accelerate research in support of the Government of Canada's science and technology priorities, another example of how the government is harnessing the power of innovative technologies to benefit Canadians. The networks funded through the SNG Program provide enhanced training for highly qualified personnel to facilitate the transfer and mobilization of knowledge, from research and development to implementation in Canadian communities.

"Our government supports these networks because they create jobs and strengthen Canada's economy," said MP Grewal. "The research undertaken by the networks will benefit our community for years to come."

"These Networks demonstrate that NSERC's community has risen to the challenge and is putting the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy to work," stated Dr. Fortier. "Canada's leading researchers have identified real-world challenges and are setting about to further enhance Canada's economy and quality of life."

The four networks receiving SNG Program funding are:

  1. Developing the next-generation Intelligent Vehicular networks and Applications (DIVA), University of Ottawa;

  2. The NSERC Smart Microgrid Network (NSMG-Net), British Columbia Institute of Technology;

  3. Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN II), University of Windsor; and

  4. NSERC-SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Strategic Network, McMaster University.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.


2010 Strategic Network Grants Announcement

The objective of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)'s Strategic Network Grants (SNG) Program is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada's economy, society and/or environment within the next 10 years.

Strategic Network Grants fund large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects in targeted research areas that require a network approach and involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. The program seeks applicants who are established researchers with a solid track record in collaborative research, student training and grants management, and who demonstrate the leadership and other skills necessary for managing a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project.

NSERC defined the following target areas for the 2010 SNG competition:

  • Advanced Communications and Management of Information;

  • Biomedical Technologies;

  • Competitive Manufacturing and Value-Added Products and Processes;

  • Healthy Environment and Ecosystems;

  • Quality Food and Novel Bioproducts;

  • Safety and Security; and

  • Sustainable Energy Systems.

The following four networks will receive NSERC funding over five years through the 2011 SNG Program competition:

1)  Developing the next-generation Intelligent Vehicular networks and Applications (DIVA), University of Ottawa

This network targets the integration of wireless communication technologies with vehicles. These technologies will reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by improving traffic flow and contribute to passenger safety through accident prevention. The vehicular networks will allow passenger comfort applications (such as location-aware services, multimedia streaming, local news, tourist information, and alert messages on streets and highways).

2)  The NSERC Smart Microgrid Network (NSMG-Net), British Columbia Institute of Technology

This network is developing technologies in partnership with Canadian power utility companies that will establish Canada's next generation electricity system—the Smart Grid. Comprised of a network of integrated intelligent microgrids, Canada's Smart Grid will allow unprecedented efficiencies in the development, application and utilization of Canada's energy resources. The Smart Grid will enable the Canadian power industry achieve energy security, conservation and reduced carbon footprints. The technologies and solutions to be developed by NSMG-Net will be the key to the evolution of the Smart Grid in Canada.

3)  The Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN II), University of Windsor

It is well known that invasive species pose a substantial threat to Canada's vast aquatic ecosystems. The difficulties for preservation appear in the early detection of new incursions and rapid response once a presence is noticed. Working in conjunction with industrial partners (primarily shipping companies and government agencies), this network will develop innovative early detection technology and rapid response capabilities that will help preserve marine and freshwater habitats. Particular attention will be paid to Canada's Arctic Ocean where increased shipping has, in part due to climate change, put Canada's vast aquatic ecosystems at greater risk than ever before. In addition, CAISN II will inform government agencies of uncertainties regarding possible impacts and control options for new alien invasive species, and address how the introduction of alien invasive species interacts with other disruptors of ecosystem function.

4)  NSERC-SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Strategic Network, McMaster University

Bioactive paper that detects and deactivates dangerous bacteria and viruses in food and water will deliver new health benefits around the world. Bioactive paper is a made-in-Canada concept established in the first phase of the NSERC-SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Network, an NSERC Strategic Network. The second phase of SENTINEL focuses on bringing bioactive paper out of Canadian university laboratories and into the market place. The NSERC-SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Network is led by McMaster University and includes 28 researchers from 11 universities.

For more information on NSERC's Strategic Network Grants Program, please see the program description on NSERC's Web site.

Contact Information

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    Danielle Nasrallah
    Senior Communications Advisor
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft - Director of Communications
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations