Program Details


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 Canada Excellence Research Chairs (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 institutions 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.

The specific objectives of the program are to:

  • strengthen Canada’s ability to attract the world’s top researchers in order to be at the leading edge of breakthroughs in priority research areas expected to generate social and economic benefits for Canadians;
  • help Canada build a critical mass of expertise in priority areas identified by the government;
  • create a competitive environment to help Canadian institutions attract a cadre of world-leading researchers in their pursuit of excellence in their research; and
  • contribute to the branding of Canada as a location of choice for world-leading research, science and technology development along with other federal programs with similar objectives.

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 Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed within SSHRC.

How are Chairs awarded?

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 institutions administer the funds, receiving up to $10 million over seven years for each Canada Excellence Research Chair.

Canada Excellence Research Chairs are tenable for seven years and are not renewable.