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Winter 2015 - Volume 39 No. 1

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In this issue

NSERC Announces Increase in Postdoctoral Fellowships Offers for 2015

We are pleased to announce that NSERC has made 180 offers to applicants for Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDFs) this year. This number is up from the 130 PDF offers made in 2014. NSERC will continue to fund these fellowships at an increased rate as budgets permit. In addition, NSERC supports approximately 930 fellows through its CREATE and Discovery Grant Programs, along with about 8,000 graduate students.

Last year, NSERC was also able to increase the value of a PDF by $5,000 per year: from $40,000 to $45,000. This increase applied to all fellows holding a PDF as a result of the 2014 competition, and to all future recipients of a PDF.

Upcoming NSERC Deadlines

February 3 - February 27, 2015 Accepting Submissions for NSERC's Science, Action! Video Contest
March 2, 2015 Nomination: Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering
Nomination: The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering
Nomination: NSERC John C. Polanyi Award
March 2, 2015 Deadline to apply for the first This link will take you to another Web site Canada First Research Excellence Fund inaugural competition
April 1, 2015 Preliminary Application: Strategic Partnership Grants for Networks
Application: Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects
April 15, 2015 Nominations: Synergy Awards for Innovation
October 30, 2015 Deadline to apply for the second This link will take you to another Web site Canada First Research Excellence Fund inaugural competition

Government of Canada Announces the Canada First Research Excellence Fund

On December 4, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Canada First Research Excellence Fund as part of the government's Economic Action Plan. The fund invests approximately $200 million per year to support Canada's postsecondary institutions in their efforts to become global research leaders. Competitions will be held over the next seven years to award research grants to universities based on scientific merit, strategic relevance and potential for long-term economic advantages for Canada. The first competition deadline is March 2, 2015, and the second is October 30, 2015. Learn more about the opportunities under this new fund by This link will take you to another Web site Canada First Research Excellence fund.

Your Input on NSERC's Future

With your help, NSERC is developing a strategic plan that will position the science and engineering research communities as vital contributors to Canada's future prosperity over the next five years: NSERC 2020 Strategic Plan 2015-20. The draft plan captures the discussions we had in 2014. It also incorporates the feedback from our Council members, a special Steering Committee and staff.

Beginning with the vision for NSERC in 2020 "to be a global leader in strengthening the discovery-innovation continuum for the societal and economic benefit of Canada," the document outlines four aspirational goals:

  • Fostering a science culture in Canada
  • Building a diversified and competitive research base through discovery research
  • Strengthening the discovery-innovation continuum
  • Going global

Your feedback is very crucial as we build a vision for science and engineering in Canada over the next five years. We invite you to provide your feedback on NSERC 2020 by responding to the survey. The survey will close on May 8, 2015.

Peer Reviewers Connect to Review Discovery Grant Applications

More than 400 peer reviewers from across Canada and around the world, representing the 12 evaluation groups and more than 100 universities are currently in Ottawa to review thousands of applications for more than $340 million in discovery research funding.

Dr. B. Mario Pinto would like to offer a special thank you to all the participants and their institutions who are contributing their time to do this important work. NSERC recognizes these contributions as a crucial investment and vote of confidence in the quality assurance process by the research community.

Internationally, Canada's model for distributing discovery funding is recognized as high performing, relevant and efficient. A major factor to this success is our dedicated and professional community of peer reviewers.

Celebrating Top Award Winners in Natural Sciences and Engineering Research

On February 17, some of Canada's top researchers were honoured at an official ceremony for their outstanding achievements in the fields of natural sciences and engineering. The ceremony was hosted by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall. He was joined by Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERC, who announced the winners along with members of the academic, business and government communities. Learn more about the winners and their work by visiting the winners profiles page dedicated to the awards.

Got a Minute? NSERC's Science, Action! Video Contest

NSERC's Science, Action! video contest challenges postsecondary students to film the people, the research and the innovations that are transforming the way Canadians live, work and interact with the world around them.

We want to see the exciting NSERC-funded research that is happening in your lab or on your campus. The research can be your own or someone else's, but you should be able to show how it is having an impact on Canadian's lives. Your video should be short, clear, and tell Canadians why research matters!

  • Contestants are eligible to win one of fifteen cash prizes of $3,000.
  • NSERC will be accepting submissions from February 3 to February 27, 2015.
  • Be sure to review the rules before creating your video.

Strategic Partnership Grants - Review of the Target Areas

The 2015 competition for Strategic Partnership Grants will be the fifth and final competition using the current target areas. NSERC will be undertaking a review to determine the priority areas that will be in effect for the 2016 competition, with a focus on supporting the Government of Canada's recently released Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy, This link will take you to another Web site Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014. Further information on this process will be available over the coming months.

Networks for Centres of Excellence Competition Invests in National Biomedical and Health-Care Research

The This link will take you to another Web site 2015 competition held by Networks for Centres of Excellence (NCE) has funded the following national research networks and made them part of the NCE community: The Canadian Arrhythmia Network (CANet), Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life - AGE-WELL (Toronto), Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment - BioCanRx (Ottawa), the Canadian Arrhythmia Network - CANet (London), and the Canadian Glycomics Network - GlycoNet (Edmonton). NeuroDevNet (Vancouver) was renewed as a NCE network for a second five-year term. As of December 2014 CANet will receive $26.3 million over five years to research heart rhythm disturbances and minimize the harm they cause. Investments in the new networks will foster knowledge and new technologies on aging, biochemistry, cancer treatment, brain development and arrhythmia.

Search for the Next Vice-President of Research Partnerships

NSERC is pleased to announce that the official search for the next Vice-President of Research Partnerships has begun.

The ideal candidate will possess a deep understanding of the Canadian research landscape and have strong connections to the community. A recognized leader and partnership builder, the candidate will be able to identify opportunities for collaboration and will be passionate about driving innovation and discovery.

For more information on the search for a new Vice-President of Research Partnerships, visit the This link will take you to another Web site RenaudFoster website.

NSERC Welcomes New Vice-President and Chair, Two New Members to Council

On December 8, 2014, The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), This link will take you to another Web site announced the appointment of Daniel F. Muzyka as NSERC's Vice-President and Chair of Council. Dr. Muzyka has been a member of NSERC's Council since 2008. He is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conference Board of Canada and the RBC Financial Group Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.

Learn more about Dr. Muzyka by having a look at his complete biography.

NSERC is also pleased to announce that Robert Niven and Yves Beauchamp have recently joined NSERC's Council. Both members were appointed for a three-year term on October 30, 2014.

Find out more about our newest Council members by viewing their biographies.

Canada Research Chairs Awarded Order of Canada

We would like to congratulate Canada Research Chairs Nancy Reid, Christina Cameron and Jean-Claude Tardif, as well as former Chair James Miller, on being This link will take you to another Web site named to the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada was established in 1967 and honors an exceptional achievement, dedication to the community or service to the nation.

NSERC President to Create Leaders Network

During the 2015 academic year, NSERC President Dr. B. Mario Pinto will establish an NSERC Leaders network to bring together Vice-Presidents Research from postsecondary institutions across Canada. This network will help NSERC engage with the academic community to discuss current issues and inform NSERC decisions.

Senior university administrators will be able to advise NSERC on future plans, help develop policies and programs, and assist in connecting with researchers and their institutions. NSERC Leaders will weigh in at an annual Leaders meeting held in Ottawa. Vice-Presidents Research are currently being contacted. We will provide updates on the NSERC Leaders network in future issues of Contact.

Parental Leave Period Extended

We are pleased to announce that as of April 1, 2015, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows receiving NSERC funding will be eligible for a paid parental leave of up to six months. Prior to this, the paid parental leave period was a maximum of four months. This extension will apply to current holders of an NSERC postgraduate scholarship (Canada Graduate Scholarships, Canada Graduate Scholarships Vanier, Postgraduate Scholarships, and Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships) and holders of an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PDFs and Banting Fellowships), as well as students and fellows who are paid from their supervisor's NSERC grant.

Revisions Made to the 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

The Tri-Council has updated its Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. The 2014 edition will now replace the 2010 edition as the official human research ethics policy for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

For more information, please visit the This link will take you to another Web site Panel on Research Ethics website.

Share Your Stories

Is there exciting research going on at your university or college campus? Do you have interesting stories or ideas to share? If so, email us at

NSERC Website Changes - Stay tuned!

We'd like to take this opportunity to inform the community of upcoming changes to the innovation section of our website that will be in place as of April 1. Also note that ongoing incremental innovations to our website will take place over the coming months and year. We welcome feedback from the community to make sure our website is meeting your needs. Connect with us at