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:
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 2015, when the first round of CERC awards nears completion.
The ability to attract the highest calibre of researchers and scholars is a critical factor in Canada's future prosperity. As a result, the Government of Canada designed the CERC program to attract Canadian and international leading scientists and scholars who can positively contribute to Canada's global competitiveness and well-being, and to help Canadian universities compete in the global market for research talent. The work of these leading researchers will spark the creation of new services and policies that support Canada's economic competitiveness, help sustain the environment, and improve quality of life.
Key objectives of the program:
A tri-agency initiative:
The CERC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It is administered by the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC.
Canada Excellence Research Chairs are selected through a highly competitive and rigorous two-stage selection process involving a multilevel peer review assessment.
The Chair positions are targeted at the world's top researchers to develop ambitious research programs within the four priority research areas outlined in the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy, as well as other key areas of benefit to all Canadians. Canadian universities administer the funds, receiving up to $10 million over seven years for each Canada Excellence Research Chair at their institution.
Canada Excellence Research Chairs are tenable for seven years and are not renewable.