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Government of Canada: Building a Stronger Economy Through Investments in Research Partnerships

Montreal, Québec, February 8, 2013 The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), was at McGill University today to announce the Government's support for 83 scientific teams at universities across the country. Researchers will work with companies on long-term projects in areas of importance to Canadians.

"Our Government's top priority is creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity," said Minister of State Goodyear. "Fostering a strong research environment and supporting partnerships are fundamental building blocks for a modern competitive economy. This funding will allow companies to increase their research and development activities in Canada by maximizing the expertise and knowledge of our researchers."

Of the 83 projects, 81 are receiving more than $36 million over three years to support early-stage work and to encourage collaboration among academic researchers, industry and government partners through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Strategic Project Grants. The goal of these grants is to increase research and training in areas that could strongly influence Canada's economy, society or environment in the next 10 years in four target areas: environmental science and technologies; information and communications technologies; manufacturing; and natural resources and energy.

In addition, McGill University and University of Toronto will share $9.4 million over five years for two Strategic Network Grants. These grants are for large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects in targeted areas that require collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations and companies to address problems that will affect the industry over the next 10 years. This year, the Networks funded will focus on research into aquatic ecosystems, and on outdoor field robotics.

"The work these research teams undertake will solve real-world problems that help their industry partners succeed," stated Janet Walden, Vice-President, Research Partnerships Programs of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. "They exemplify NSERC's goal of connecting and applying the strength of the academic research system to address the opportunities and challenges of building prosperity for our country."

Through these two programs, McGill University received a total of $9 million. Funding will go towards ten research projects that will examine a variety of issues, such as helping detect bacteria in wastewater treatment plants and improving energy efficiency of wireless communications networks. The University also received funding for a network in the field of robotics, which will help develop robotics technologies that could be used for automated tasks, such as search and rescue operations or air and water quality assessment.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary 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 about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $8 billion in initiatives supporting science, technology and the growth of innovation firms in Canada, including $5 billion for advanced research, education and training; $2 billion for post-secondary infrastructure; and $1 billion for applied research and financing. This funding has helped to make Canada a world leader in post-secondary education research and to create the knowledge and highly skilled workforce that are required for a more prosperous economy.

For the list of Strategic Project Grants recipients, or the list of Strategic Network Grants recipients, please visit NSERC's Website.

More information on the 2012 Announcement of Stragic Grants is available in the Backgrounder.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Michèle-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel.: 613-947-2956

Media Relations
Industry Canada
Tel.: 613-943-2502

Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-943-7618


2012 Announcement of Strategic Grants

Strategic Network Grants and Strategic Project Grants encourage collaboration among academic researchers and industry and government partners. They support four main strategic areas: environmental sciences and technologies; information and communications technologies; manufacturing; and natural resources and energy.

Strategic Network Grants (SNG)

SNG are designed to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada's economy, society and the environment within the next 10 years. They 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 following two networks will share $9.4 million over five years:

  1. NSERC Strategic Network Canadian Network for Aquatic Ecosystem Services:Canada's ecological systems provide many of the highly valued natural resources that drive Canada's economy. While the loss of biodiversity and the impacts on healthy ecosystems and wildlife habitats have traditionally been well-documented, the impact on the delivery of services and products of social and economic significance remains poorly understood. Lead researcher Donald A. Jackson (University of Toronto), along with network collaborators, will develop new tools and knowledge about the relationship between aquatic ecosystem services and the stressors that affect them. These will help inform policies on the development of Canada's natural resources in regions where rapid economic development is underway.

    This network is receiving $4.4 million and brings together 18 researchers from 11 Canadian universities, along with 10 scientists from six federal and provincial government departments. Two industrial partners, three Canadian environmental associations and a provincially funded technology futures organization are also involved.

  2. NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN): Outdoor environments are among the places where robots have the greatest potential, especially in a country like Canada. Robotic systems can be the key to monitoring and maintaining the state of our environmental heritage; performing patrols to assure the integrity of our borders; testing air and water quality; and even dealing with environmental disasters, nuclear accidents, or search and rescue operations.

    This network is receiving $5 million and is led by McGill University researcher Gregory Dudek. The network incorporates researchers from eight universities, three Canadian government agencies, and 11 industrial participants. The partners will work together to address the scientific, technological and operational challenges that hinder the use of robotic tools in natural environments.

Strategic Project Grants (SP