Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Canada Excellence Research Chairs

May 17, 2010 13:30 ET

New Government of Canada Investment Attracts Top Minds to Canadian Universities

Inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair Introduced at University of British Columbia Ceremony

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) - Ed Fast, Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, welcomed to the University of British Columbia Dr. Matthew Farrer, one of 19 world-renowned researchers who have chosen to pursue their leading-edge research at universities across Canada. The event followed the announcement of the recipients of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program made earlier today at the University of Toronto by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry.

"The CERC program is an important part of the federal government's Science and Technology Strategy," said Mr. Fast. "By enabling our universities to attract and retain the world's best and brightest minds, we are helping British Columbia to develop and apply leading-edge knowledge and grow a world-class workforce, and positioning Canada as a true destination of choice for the world's top students and researchers."

For each Chair, universities will receive up to $10 million over seven years to support chairholders and their research teams in undertaking ambitious research programs. The complete list of chairholders, including the 13 universities where they will be working, is available on the CERC website (

Dr. Farrer, Canada Excellence Research Chairholder in Neurogenetics and Translational Neuroscience, will pioneer new strategies for early detection and improved treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Dr. Farrer's research will help maintain Canada's position at the leading edge of efforts to tackle health care challenges stemming from an increasingly aging population. His work is relevant to people of all ages, including children, and will help relieve the heavy burden brain diseases place on individual families, health care systems and patients themselves.

"Despite remarkable discoveries throughout the last century about the brain's anatomy and functions, far less is known about how best to intervene when these functions become disordered or diseased," said Dr. Farrer. "The multidisciplinary collaborations at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics and the Brain Research Centre, coupled with the University of British Columbia's enviable track record of successful knowledge transfer, will greatly enhance our ability to gain new knowledge. Most importantly, it will shorten the amount of time it takes to apply leading-edge research to real-world solutions for people suffering from brain diseases and injuries."

"The arrival of these globally respected researchers will have multiple benefits for Canada," said Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Chair of the Tri-Agency Steering Committee. "Research chairs of this calibre working together with other researchers, students and post-doctoral fellows already in Canada will create meaningful new opportunities."

The CERC program was announced in Budget 2008 as part of the government's Science and Technology Strategy to help build expertise in strategic areas. Research conducted by the chairholders will focus on the areas of environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and technologies, and information and communications technologies.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Farrer to the University of British Columbia and Vancouver to join an already stellar cluster of world-renowned brain and neuroscience researchers based here," said Dr. Stephen Toope, President. "The investment that the Government of Canada has made through the CERC program will undoubtedly yield breakthroughs in knowledge and treatment for brain diseases and injuries."

The CERC program is administered jointly by Canada's three research granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

For more information, visit the CERC website (

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