Launched in 2008, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Program supports Canadian universities in their efforts to build on Canada's growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation. The program awards world-renowned researchers and their teams up to $10 million over seven years to establish ambitious research programs at Canadian universities. These awards are among the most prestigious and generous available globally.
In May 2010, the first group of Canada Excellence Research Chairs was announced. Selected through a rigorous, multilevel peer review process, these chairholders are helping Canada build a critical mass of expertise in the four priority research areas of the federal government's science and technology strategy:
- environmental sciences and technologies;
- natural resources and energy;
- health and related life sciences and technologies; and
- information and communications technologies.
In June 2011 the Government of Canada announced the creation of 10 new awards. These new Canada Excellence Research Chairs will be awarded in the four priority areas, as well as in other fields of research. A minimum of three Chairs will be awarded in areas related to the digital economy under the information and communications technologies priority area. At least one Chair will be allocated to each of the remaining three priority areas, and four Chairs will be open to all areas of inquiry.
Another competition is anticipated to launch in 2016, when the first round of CERC awards nears completion.
A tri-agency initiative
The CERC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed within SSHRC.