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NSERC invests $310 million in science and engineering research

Funding supports fundamental research that will fuel the science and technology discoveries of tomorrow

General news Professors

June 15, 2021

As the country looks forward to a world post-COVID-19, the Government of Canada is investing in the future so that Canadian researchers can continue their invaluable contributions in the natural sciences and engineering and help build the foundation for innovation and economic growth.

As part of this commitment to fundamental research, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced an investment of more than $310 million for some 3,400 new grants and grant extensions by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through its Discovery research program.

The funding includes 1,960 new grants to researchers across the country in a wide variety of natural sciences and engineering disciplines, including climate change, biology, mathematics and statistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, chemistry, biotechnology, and mechanical engineering. These grants provide recipients with a stable base of funding and access to research tools and instruments so they can pursue a sustainable program of research, foster research excellence and provide stimulating environments for research training.

Today’s announcement also includes $61 million in one-year extensions to existing Discovery research grants held by more than 1,470 researchers across Canada. This investment was part of a rapid response by NSERC to the uncertainty produced by the COVID-19 outbreak in April 2020.

As a result of these new grants and one-year extensions to existing grants, the total investment in the Discovery research program by NSERC for the current fiscal year will be a record-high of $500 million.


"We are proud to continue investing in, and celebrating, the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of Canada’s research ecosystem. It is inspiring to see the ingenuity and dedication Canadian researchers embrace in exploring big ideas that willful the discoveries and innovations of tomorrow to make our world a better place and create prosperity for Canadians."

- The HonourableFrançois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"In my conversations with the research community both at home and around the world, I have been impressed by the resilience and creativity shown by students, professors, and administrators in coping with the many unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. The high quality of the research proposals we are funding is a strong indicator that the Canadian research enterprise will come out even stronger as we emerge into a post-pandemic environment."

- Alejandro Adem, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Quick facts

  • Advances in the natural sciences and engineering promise to unlock discoveries that will help address some of our world’s biggest challenges, while also delivering real benefits to Canadians’ health, environment, communities and economy.
  • The Discovery Grants program supports ongoing research with long-term goals, while also allowing researchers to pursue promising high-risk, high reward topics and ideas.
  • In addition to supporting high-quality research, Discovery Grants invest in research training and other opportunities for students, researchers and fellows, helping to support the next generation of researchers.
  • This investment reflects the historic $4 billion increase for research committed in Budget 2018, which included an increase of more than $1.7 billion over five years to support Canadian researchers.
  • Last May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $450 million in temporary funding – administered through the federal granting agencies – to help sustain the academic research enterprise through the crisis caused by COVID-19.

Associated links

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Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA


NSERC invests over $1.2 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries—valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 12,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect the makers and users of discoveries. Research partnerships established by NSERC help inform research and development and solve scale-up challenges.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.


Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

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