Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 19, 2009 09:30 ET

Strategic Research Networks Will Make Canada a Safer and Stronger Place to Live

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwire - March 19, 2009) - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced funding for seven strategic research networks during a visit to the University of New Brunswick. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) provides $35 million in funding to these networks over five years.

"Our government supports science and technology because it creates jobs, improves Canadians' quality of life and strengthens the economy for future generations," said Minister of State Goodyear. "These projects will increase research and training in areas that will benefit Canadians, such as the economy, the environment, biotechnology and sustainable energy."

The research networks announced will help accelerate research in support of the federal government's science and technology priorities. The networks will also provide enhanced training for highly qualified personnel to facilitate the transfer and mobilization of knowledge from research and development to implementation in local Canadian communities. Led by a university researcher, each will receive approximately $5 million in NSERC funding over five years.

"These networks show that the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) community has risen to the challenge and is putting the Science and Technology Strategy to work," observed Janet Walden, Vice-President of Research Partnerships Programs, NSERC. "Canada's leading researchers have identified real-world challenges and are setting about to make Canada a safer and stronger place to live."

The seven NSERC strategic networks are:

- The NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe)

- The NSERC Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Network

- The NSERC Magnesium Network (MagNet)

- The NSERC Forest Management for Value-Added Products Network (ForValueNet)

- The NSERC Embryo Genomics Epigenomics Nutrition Environment Network (EmbryoGENE)

- The NSERC Internetworked Systems Security Network (ISSNet)

- The NSERC Canadian Wind Energy Strategic Network (WESNet)

NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 26,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

2007 Strategic Research Networks Backgrounder

The objective of the Strategic Network Grants is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada's economy, society and/or environment within the next ten years.

Strategic Network Grants fund large-scale, multi-disciplinary research projects in targeted research areas that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. The applicant should be an established researcher with a solid track record in collaborative research, student training and grant management, and who demonstrates the leadership and other skills necessary for managing a complex, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project.

Targeted areas for the 2007 Strategic Research Networks, as defined by NSERC, were:

- 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

- Sustainable Energy Systems

NSERC funded seven Strategic Research Networks through the Strategic Network Grants program in 2007:

- The Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) will focus on ensuring the sustainable management of Canada's ocean biodiversity resources. CHONe is led by biological oceanographer Dr. Paul Snelgrove at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

- The Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Network, led by chemistry professor Dr. Viola Birss at the University of Calgary, is developing a supply chain for fuel cell technology products that uses Canada's carbon-based resources more efficiently.

- The NSERC Magnesium Network (MagNet) will focus on reducing vehicle weight using wrought magnesium alloys. MagNet supports the objective of the North American automotive industry to reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced by the transportation sector, which currently represent 25 percent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions. MagNet is led by materials engineer Dr. Warren Poole at the University of British Columbia.

- The NSERC Forest Management for Value-Added Products Network (ForValueNet) will work with the forest sector as it shifts from a volume-driven, commodity based industry to a more value-added manufacturing one, to ensure that Canada's boreal forests are managed, harvested and utilized as efficiently as possible to ensure long-term sustainability of this important natural resource. The network is lead by Dr. Alain Cloutier, wood engineering professor at Universite Laval.

- The NSERC Embryo Genomics Epigenomics Nutrition Environment Network (EmbryoGENE) is assessing criteria for the normal development of the early livestock embryo exposed to assisted reproductive technologies. This new knowledge is expected to have beneficial regulatory and economic outcomes by permitting a better assessment of the risk and acceptability related to genetic technology in food animals and by allowing to more efficiently forecast productivity. EmbryoGENE is led by professor of veterinary sciences Marc-Andre Sirard at Universite Laval.

- The primary focus of the Internetworked Systems Security Network (ISSNet) is computer and network security, which will be divided into three main themes: network-oriented security, software systems-oriented security and human-oriented security. ISSNet is led by computer science professor Dr. Paul Van Oorschot at Carleton University.

- The Canadian Wind Energy Strategic Network (WESNet) will develop made in Canada applications for generating wind energy. In establishing wind energy as an economically viable, environmentally beneficial supplement to Canada's wind energy portfolio, the Network will help drive growth in the Canadian manufacturing sector to support this new energy sector. WESNet is led by Dr. Liuchen Chang, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Brunswick.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft
    Director of Communications
    Jason Frenette
    Communications and Promotions Officer