Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

September 06, 2016 11:20 ET

Minister Bibeau Announces $213,187,000 to Transform Research at Universite de Montreal, HEC Montreal, Polytechnique Montreal and McGill University

Significant funding for landmark initiatives through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Sept. 6, 2016) - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Government of Canada values the critical role the nation's post-secondary institutions play in attracting world-class researchers, catalyzing discoveries that improve our health and environment, and contributing to an innovative economy that leads to more opportunities for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

To underscore this commitment, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, celebrated $213,187,000 in funding for three projects at Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and McGill University. The funding is part of a landmark investment of $900 million in 13 post-secondary institutions through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The Fund strategically invests in areas where Canada's post-secondary research institutions have the key research strengths to become global leaders.

IVADO, the alliance of Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal, is proposing a transformative and far-reaching strategy for exploring artificial intelligence and big data: research to provide computers with quasi-human-level performance. Polytechnique Montréal will leverage its cutting-edge, university/hospital infrastructure to shape the future of diagnosis/prognosis, intervention and medical technologies for complex diseases through its Montreal TransMedTech (MT2) Institute initiative. At McGill, the university's Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives project will establish a hub for neuroinformatics and accelerate translational discoveries that will improve brain health in Canada and around the world.

The 10 other initiatives funded today focus on developing areas of similar competitive advantage. They include sustainably developing our oceans; developing next-generation medical technologies; increasing the capacity, sustainability and safety of our food production systems; and improving human brain health.

The initiatives were selected for funding following an open competitive process among Canadian post-secondary institutions. The competition was judged by a panel of Canadian and international scientific experts.

Information about each of the 13 funded initiatives is available at www.cfref-apogee.gc.ca.

Quotes

"The Canada First Research Excellence Fund will equip Canada to respond to some of the most pressing issues it will face in the future: brain health, sustainable food and water supplies, environmental concerns and future energy supplies. The research supported through the Fund will make the country stronger."

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"Today's investment by the Government of Canada enables our leading post-secondary research institutions to capitalize on areas in which they excel. Indeed, it promises to make them world leaders in these areas and to strengthen Canada's position as the destination of choice for innovation and cutting-edge research."

- Dr. Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Chair, Canada First Research Excellence Fund Steering Committee

"The projects funded by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, including those at Université de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, HEC Montréal and McGill University, will further world-leading science in Canada and have a direct impact on the lives of Canadians. From big data to brain health, the areas of research will pave the way for new discoveries and innovative practices."

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

"Artificial intelligence and operational research are expanding at lightning speed. Our researchers, who have been at the forefront of these amazing advancements, are well positioned to lead in new developments that will benefit their public and private partners. The Government of Canada's major investments will allow us to build on our head start and help a greater number of people."

- Dr. Guy Breton, Rector, Université de Montréal

"This significant funding recognizes our campus's strengths in data science and gives us the means to breathe new life into Montréal's economic dynamics and actively contribute to the fourth industrial revolution."

- Dr. Michel Patry, Director, HEC Montréal

"The MT2 Institute will consolidate its existing strengths and enable world-leading scientists and clinicians, along with their industrial partners, to work together in an exceptional interdisciplinary environment. This synergy will lead to breakthroughs in the development of medical technologies that help transform care, while also creating a model for research excellence for Canada."

- Dr. Christophe Guy, CEO, Polytechnique Montréal

"We are immensely grateful to the federal government for this vital support. Our capacity for breakthroughs in treatment of brain disorders and our ability to improve lives will be heightened significantly by this important new funding."

- Dr. Suzanne Fortier, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Quick facts

  • This is the second Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition. In July 2015, five initiatives received a total of $350 million in funding.
  • A total of $900 million is being awarded to 13 projects, with the largest single award of $93,732,000 going to Dalhousie University for its Safe and Sustainable Development of the Ocean Frontier initiative.
  • The Fund is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, on behalf of the three federal granting agencies, which include the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Associated links

- About the Canada First Research Excellence Fund

- Inaugural Competition 2 Results

- Inaugural Competition 1 Results

Follow Minister Duncan on social media.

Twitter: @ScienceMin

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BACKGROUNDER

Canada First Research Excellence Fund

The Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) helps Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnics to make breakthrough discoveries; seize emerging opportunities and strategically advance their strengths by implementing large-scale, transformational and forward-thinking institutional strategies that enable them to compete with the best in the world.

The Fund is governed by a steering committee comprising the presidents of the three federal research granting agencies-the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-and the deputy ministers of Health Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The Canada Foundation for Innovation holds observer status on the committee. The Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat, housed within SSHRC, is responsible for the administration of the Fund.

Awards

Today, $900 million is being awarded from the Fund for the following 13 initiatives selected through a rigorous merit review process:

Lead Institution Initiative Title Amount of Funding over Seven Years
Dalhousie University Safe and Sustainable Development of the Ocean Frontier $93,732,000
Laurentian University Metal Earth $49,269,000
McGill University Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) $84,000,000
Polytechnique Montréal The "Montreal TransMedTech (MT2) Institute": An open-innovation ecosystem for the development of next generation medical technologies $35,625,000
Queen's University Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre $63,744,000
Université de Montréal Data Serving Canadians: Deep Learning and Optimization for the Knowledge Revolution $93,562,000
University of Alberta Future Energy Systems Research Institute $75,000,000
University of Calgary Global Research Initiative in Sustainable Low Carbon Unconventional Resources $75,000,000
University of Guelph Food from Thought: Agricultural Systems for a Healthy Planet $76,613,000
University of Saskatchewan World Water Futures: Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change $77,840,000
University of Waterloo Transformative Quantum Technologies $76,277,000
Western University BrainsCAN: Brain Health for Life $66,000,000
York University Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) $33,338,000
TOTAL $900,000,000

Selection Process

To respect the high international standards of research excellence established for the program, the selection process employed rigorous merit review. International experts from a variety of domains and disciplines with experience in large research endeavours and world-leading research were recruited for Review Panels. The Panels provided detailed evaluations of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each application against the selection criteria and made observations on the budgets requested. The review panel reports were then transmitted to a prestigious, arms-length Selection Board, composed of leaders from the academic, private and other relevant sectors. The Selection Board provided its recommendations to the steering committee.

First Inaugural Competition

The first round of announcements was made in July 2015. The five recipients of funding were:

Lead Institution Initiative Title Amount of Funding over Seven Years
Université Laval Sentinel North $98,021,000
Université de Sherbrooke From Quantum Science to Quantum Technologies $33,517,000
The University of British Columbia Quantum Materials and Future Technologies $66,539,000
University of Saskatchewan Designing Crops for Global Food Security $37,240,000
University of Toronto Medicine by Design $113,976,000
TOTAL $350,000,000

For more information, visit the Canada First Research Excellence Fund website: www.cfref-apogee.gc.ca.

Contact Information