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Government of Canada makes major investment to help create world-firsts in knowledge with the Discovery research programs

More than $500 million in funding will help foster excellence and provide an environment to train the next generation of science and engineering leaders

News release Professors Students

June 23, 2022

Ottawa, Ontario – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

When diverse groups of researchers with bold ideas are supported and given the freedom to explore, they generate world-firsts in knowledge and expand the frontiers of science and engineering. They are also building the foundation for the innovation that Canada needs to drive its economy and stay globally competitive.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, along with the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, announced an investment of more than $506 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery research programs—an investment in the world’s brightest minds to increase the impact of science, technology and innovation in Canada.

Researchers from across the country are receiving over $430 million of this funding to continue to lead world-class research programs in a wide variety of natural sciences and engineering disciplines. These include research programs focused on climate change, chemistry, biology, mathematics and statistics, computer science and artificial intelligence, and engineering.

Researchers are also receiving $73.8 million in one-time, one-year extensions with funds to their existing Discovery research grants. This investment is part of an ongoing response by NSERC to support researchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding also offers Discovery Launch Supplements, an additional support to a diverse group of 529 early career researchers to help them launch their careers and bring new voices and new insights to their fields.

Minister Champagne made the announcement at the University of Ottawa, which is receiving $13.3 million in new awards and one-time, one-year COVID-19 extensions with funds for researchers working in fields ranging from physics and electrical engineering to biology and molecular medicine. For example, Anne Broadbent from the University of Ottawa is receiving a Discovery Grant to create innovative and disruptive software technologies for the quantum internet, a future quantum-enabled network that unleashes new levels of security and efficiency in communications.

Some other researchers from across Canada receiving Discovery research funding include:

  • Zhibin He from the University of New Brunswick is awarded a Discovery Grant and Discovery Launch Supplement to develop green cellulose paper products from wood pulp and paper produced in Canada to replace single-use plastics for packaging.
  • Andrea Reid from the University of British Columbia is receiving a Discovery Grant and Discovery Launch Supplement to understand and better manage the intersection of fisheries effects, fish and fisheries' responses to climate change, and conservation strategies. She is a citizen of the Nisga’a Nation, leads the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries with her team and is an Assistant Professor with UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.
  • Frédéric Bouchard from Université de Sherbrooke will use his Discovery Grant, Discovery Launch Supplement and Northern Research Supplement to characterize the impacts of climate-induced permafrost degradation on natural and human landscapes across the Canadian Arctic.
  • Deepa Kundur from the University of Toronto is receiving a Discovery Grant to protect Canada’s energy infrastructure from sophisticated cyberattacks. This engineer is also focused on eliminating inequities in accessing safe and secure power.
  • Elena Dragomirescu from the University of Ottawa is awarded a Discovery Grant to develop structural investigation tools for a new generation of smart long-span bridges with auto-detection systems and to study local deterioration mechanisms under wind effect. The goals are to simplify the bridge repairing or replacement decisions and to keep communities safe and connected across Canada.

Quotes

“Discovery is the foundation of all advancements. Through this major investment in some of Canada's most promising and innovative researchers we are supporting scientists and students to become global leaders in their field. By helping to expand the frontiers of science, we are investing in a better society and a brighter future for Canadians.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Canadian universities and institutions are at the forefront of taking us to the next levels of innovation and play a critical role in fostering discovery, curiosity and exceptional researchers. This $506 million investment in support of researchers across the country will support programs such as the NSERC Discovery research program here at the University of Ottawa. New discovery research leads to modern and diverse innovation, and today’s announcement will support Canada’s world-class researchers in their remarkable work.”

– The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board

“At NSERC, we dedicate significant resources to our Discovery research programs precisely because we cannot predict where successes will occur. We foster excellence by providing thousands of exceptional researchers at various stages in their careers with the stable foundation needed to lead thriving research programs and create unparalleled training opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

– Alejandro Adem, President, NSERC

“The University of Ottawa recognizes the immeasurable value of the federal government’s Discovery Grant program. It not only contributes to the vitality of our research projects, but also creates a stimulating environment for the next generation. This support allows our researchers to continue on the road to excellence, relevance and impact. We can also fully achieve our goal of building a better world.”

– Jacques Frémont, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ottawa

Quick facts

The investment announced today includes mainly:

  • $326 million in individual Discovery Grants going to more than 1,725 researchers across the full range of science and engineering disciplines, from biology and chemistry to advanced materials engineering and astrophysics.
  • $30.6 million in grants to Subatomic Physics research projects, major resources and equipment.
  • $4.8 million in grants through the Discovery Horizons pilot for ten projects that broadly integrate or transcend disciplines to advance knowledge in the natural sciences and engineering.
  • $6.6 million in Discovery Launch Supplements going to 529 early career researchers in the first year of their Discovery Grants to help them launch their careers.
  • $35.7 million in Discovery Institutes Support grants to enable the development of research activities and foster training and collaboration, within and among Canadian theoretical research institutes.
  • $25 million in Research Tools and Instruments grants to give researchers access to highly specialized tools needed for their investigations.
  • $1.9 million in Northern Research Supplements to 27 researchers to augment and promote Canadian university-based northern research and training.
  • $850,000 in Discovery Development Grants going to 28 researchers to promote and maintain a diversified base of high-quality research in small universities across Canada.
  • $930,000 in Ship Time grants that will allow researchers to access vessels in support of their research programs.
  • $73.8 million in one-time, one-year extensions with funds to existing Discovery research grants held by more than 1,907 researchers across Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Laurie Bouchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
laurie.bouchard@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
media@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
media@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

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