Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Canada Excellence Research Chairs

November 28, 2011 10:30 ET

Harper Government Launches New Competition for 10 Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Announcement builds on early successes of flagship Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Program

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 28, 2011)--The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced the launch of a competition to fund 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting leading-edge research and world-class researchers," said Minister Goodyear. "Canada Excellence Research Chair holders are some of the world's leading minds, and their presence in our universities will create jobs and long-term economic growth, as well as enable Canada to be at the cutting edge of innovative research."

The federal government is committing $53.5 million over five years for the creation of the 10 new chairs. Their work will enable Canada to be at the leading edge of research breakthroughs that are expected to generate significant social and economic benefits for all Canadians.

Launched in 2008, the CERC program was designed to attract and retain the world's best researchers. The first group of chairholders was announced in May 2010, and they have each demonstrated exceptional leadership in their fields of research at institutions across the country.

The competition will target world-class researchers working in areas deemed to hold important benefits for Canada. These include, but are not limited to, the priority areas set out in Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada's Advantage, the federal government's 2007 science and technology strategy: environmental sciences and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communications technologies. In the current competition, particular emphasis will be placed on research relevant to advancing Canada's digital economy.

The focus on the digital economy as a key area of research will help put Canada at the forefront of a field that is of vital importance to our future prosperity," said Chad Gaffield, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and chair of the program steering committee. "The Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program helps Canadian universities compete in the global market for research talent, and this new competition will further strengthen Canada's hand."

Chairholders will be selected through a highly competitive and rigorous two-stage process. In Phase 1, Canadian universities will compete for the opportunity to establish chairs at their institution. In Phase 2, short-listed universities will nominate leading researchers to a limited number of positions. An independent selection board recommends the appointment of chairholders to the program steering committee, based on the highest standards of research excellence. Derek Burney, senior strategist advisor at Norton Rose OR LLP, and Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University, have been appointed chair and co-chair of the selection board, respectively.

"This announcement is very good news for the Canadian research community," said Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). "Canada Excellence Research Chairs are among the world's leading minds. Their presence in our universities significantly strengthens Canada's research capacity and enables Canada to be at the cutting edge of innovative research."

"The new competition shows that Canada is serious about research," said Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). "The Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program is part of a powerful suite of funding programs that supports researchers at every stage of their career and enhances Canada's standing as a global centre of excellence in research, innovation and higher learning."

Further details about the competition are available at

Contact Information

  • Stephanie Thomas
    Special Assistant (Communications)
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)

    Michael Adams
    Communications Advisor
    Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
    613-944-1758 / Cell: 613-219-7523