Chairholder details Keywords

Irina Rish
Université de Montréal | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Autonomous Artificial Intelligence

What happens in our brains when we solve problems? And, how can we use the answers to that question to improve both our brains and artificial intelligence (AI)? It's what world-renowned AI expert Irina Rish, wants to find out. Her research examines AI at the point where machine learning and neuroscience intersect.

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Autonomous Artificial Intelligence, Rish plans to build an ambitious, cross-disciplinary research centre at the Université de Montréal. Research at the centre will strengthen Montréal’s role as a hub for AI research and further advance Canada’s leadership in AI. Rish and her research team will work to bridge the gaps between AI, biology, neuroscience and psychology, and give us a deeper understanding of the human brain. Rish also aims for her team to help make AI more autonomous, with human-level learning abilities, by developing new models and methods for more robust and ethical AI systems.

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University, Montreal

Sriram Subramaniam
The University of British Columbia | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design

While many drugs induce responses and prolong survival, most cancers adapt through clonal evolution to develop treatment-resistant, lethal disease. The discovery of drugs targeting newly identified cancer drivers remains a slow, challenging and costly process. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design will use state-of-the-art tools in genomics, cryo-electron microscopy and computer-aided drug discovery in a precision oncology framework to lead an internationally unique research program. The aim is to revolutionize the way we discover and develop effective anti-cancer treatments. The program will be interdisciplinary, capitalizing on transinstitutional collaborations, including engineering, chemistry and biology, with a variety of partnerships with the private sector. We seek to be the global leaders in the emerging era of integrating genome-derived target discoveries and their translation to patient-oriented research for cancer drug discovery in a timely and cost-effective manner.


Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
University of Manitoba | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Ice, Freshwater Marine Coupling and Climate Change

The observed changes in ice (that is, sea ice, glacial ice and permafrost) are increasing freshwater inputs into the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas. These changes are present throughout the system, affecting all levels of ecosystem services, Inuit traditional use of marine areas and global pressure to increase development in the Arctic. Changes in the Arctic also affect processes at lower latitudes, including connections to extreme weather, floods, droughts and climate variability, like the polar vortex, sea level rise and global ocean circulation through export of fresh water to the deep-water convection areas of the North Atlantic. The University of Manitoba’s Canada Excellence Research Chair will generate transformative knowledge, allowing policy-makers, communities, industry and co-management groups to create informed sustainable development, adaptation and mitigation strategies needed to address both the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the opening of Canada’s Arctic Ocean.


Lara Mahal
University of Alberta | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Glycomics

Carbohydrates (or glycans) on the surface of cells are critical players in human diseases, ranging from cancer to microbial infections. Exploiting the roles of glycans in human health provides new opportunities for drug development and personalized medicine. For 15 years, Lara K. Mahal has been at the forefront of creating and using systems-based approaches to decode the role of glycans in human health. Her laboratory invented a key technology—lectin microarrays—that has revolutionized the field of glycomics. Her laboratory also discovered that microRNAs are major regulators of glycan expression and may be the missing link between genomics and glycomics. Her research interests include: unraveling the role of glycans in cancer progression; understanding the role of glycans in microbial diseses and the immune response against bacterial and viral infections; and studying the role of miRNA in controlling the expression of glycans in cells.

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Ursula Eicker
Concordia University | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities

The goal of the research agenda for next-generation communities and cities is to: develop sustainable urban transformation strategies that will support decision-making and faster implementation of sustainable urban energy and resource efficiency measures in the cities; and scientifically monitor and optimize performance of urban districts, entire cities and regions. The Canadian Excellence Research Chair is built on four interconnected vertical research axes: clean energy systems for an efficient built environment; integrated built environment design; smart technologies and optimized community operation; and collaborative community, knowledge mobilization and policies. These will be connected by a horizontal task of an urban platform development, merging software and services created. The Chair will link different academic disciplines from the building, transport, energy, biodiversity and socio-economic sectors, while bringing the right urban stakeholders together to discuss urban development. Based on a sound theoretical basis, the research will be translated into the design and implementation of hardware and information and communications technology solutions for a sustainable city infrastructure.

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Vincent Mooser
McGill University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine: Genes to Drug Targets for Next-Generation Therapies

Large-scale sequencing of the human genome opens up unprecedented opportunities to identify and validate new drug targets and to accelerate and improve the probability of success for drug development. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Genomic Medicine program intends to capture these opportunities by capitalizing on the cutting-edge resources at McGill University and affiliated hospital-based research institutes in terms of knowledge in genomic medicine, computational capabilities, sequencing infrastructures, access to patients and cohorts, and possible engagement with industry in this effort. The Chair will use the latest technologies in bioinformatics, high-throughput genome editing and genetically enriched clinical trials to prioritize disease-relevant genes, determine optimal indications and perform proof-of-concept studies on individuals who are genetically selected to respond optimally to a particular pharmacological intervention. This research will significantly benefit the Canadian population, propel McGill to the forefront of genomic medicine-based pharmaceutical sciences and accrue substantial funding from industry and other partners.


Anna Triandafyllidou
Toronto Metropolitan University | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration

The Canada Excellence Research Chair will explore the links between migration and post-migration processes, forced and voluntary mobility, internal and international migration, and the role of countries of origin and transit. This will produce innovative and usable knowledge. Anna Triandafyllidou and her team will focus on Canadian realities while developing comparative research with and among other countries in various global regions. Their work will engage with stakeholders at local, provincial, national and global levels (including the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees), who will be involved as co-creators of the Chair’s research agenda. The research will develop along five research streams: migration trends; migrant agencies, stakeholders, networks and institutions; comparative analysis of migration and integration policies and their outcomes; addressing the role of cities in managing diversity; and thinking forward: migration challenges for Canada and the world in 2050. The Chair will be supported by an interdisciplinary data and methods lab.


Orlando Rojas
The University of British Columbia | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Forest Bioproducts

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Forest Bioproducts will deliver next-generation materials from renewable, forest-based resources. These sustainable and cost-competitive, advanced materials are key for the success of the bioeconomy and the reinvention of the Canadian forest industry. Benefits to Canada include a cleaner environment and reduced dependency on non-renewable resources. Leveraging genetics, synthetic biology and polymer chemistry/physics, the Chair will produce materials, products and devices that will reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonize our economy and improve our quality of life. These research discoveries will help control the interactions involving lignocellulosic structures at the micron- and nanoscales to achieve enhanced structural, optical and other properties. The effort will involve cellulose- and lignin-based particles, filaments, films and composites. Leading a multidisciplinary team and integrating strong local and global networks, the Chair will produce world-leading science, innovative products and processes, accelerating demand for forest bioproducts with high societal impact.


Katja Mombaur
University of Waterloo | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human-Centred Robotics and Machine Intelligence

Every year, our machines are becoming smarter and more adaptable. Realizing their full potential poses fundamental scientific challenges at the intersection of mechatronics, computer vision, computing, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. It also poses fundamental philosophical, ethical and legal questions. How can these machines operate safely and efficiently in the human world, with all its dynamism, uncertainty and complexity? How should they behave? The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Human-Centred Robotics and Machine Intelligence will launch an ambitious multidisciplinary research program, integrating theory, computation and experiment. International collaborations will bring together expertise in mathematics, engineering, health science, social science and philosophy to pioneer a new range of intelligent technologies that will forever change how we live, work and play for the better.

Di Marzo

Vincenzo Di Marzo
Université Laval | CIHR

Canada Research Excellence Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health

Until now, research on the physiopathology of metabolic diseases has focused on endogenous and genetic factors that control our metabolism. The rise of genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and bioinformatic technologies has intensified recent research on energy metabolism, and contributed to better understanding about obesity and its complications.

Vincenzo Di Marzo, Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health, focuses on the integrated study of how the intestinal microbiome and the endocannabinoid system influence metabolic syndrome. The syndrome refers to the physiological signs that indicate increased risk for certain diseases. It is no longer defined solely by excess weight, but also by related variables, including belly fat, hypertriglyceridemia, low levels of high-density lipoproteins (or good cholesterol), high blood pressure and hyperglycemia.

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Pierre Marquet
Université Laval | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics, Pierre Marquet will develop new, multimodal optical techniques at a very high resolution to explore structure and cellular dynamics at the nanoscale. The multimodal aspect makes it possible to measure a large number of cellular parameters at the same time. It will produce a very detailed vision of the cellular processes that lead to a true cellular profile, which could be used to identify new biomarkers and create new theoretical etiological models.

The new optical approaches would strengthen and complement the already highly effective arsenal of neuroimaging techniques, such as MRIs, which are starting to enable the detection of discrete anomalies in brain structure and function among at-risk children. The approaches will also help identify new cellular biomarkers and thereby contribute to characterizing developmental risk trajectories among children of patients being treated in these multigenerational cohorts.

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Erik Snowberg
The University of British Columbia | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics

Erik Snowberg plans to make The University of British Columbia into the world leader in empirical political economy research. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Data-Intensive Methods in Economics at the university is using innovative data to understand the effects of politics and policy on the economy. Snowberg and his team’s research will explore how business and environmental groups can collaborate with government to simultaneously improve economic productivity and quality of life.


Zenghu Chang
University of Ottawa | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Attosecond X-ray Photonics

Attosecond X-ray pulses are the shortest bursts of light that scientists can create and control. To give you an idea of how short they are, one attosecond is equivalent to one quintillionth of a second, which is like comparing one second to the entire age of the universe (14 billion years). Attosecond X-ray photonics is a field that observes the movements of electrons inside atoms and molecules in real time, similar to capturing slow-motion footage of athletes performing on ice. Dr. Zenghu Chang is leading a program at the University of Ottawa to develop the world's first compact attosecond source that produces X-rays with a broad range of wavelengths, allowing scientists to study every element on the periodic table using attosecond X-ray spectroscopy in university laboratories. Such a breakthrough will enable researchers to explore and control incredibly fast processes involved in solar cells and quantum materials, advancing our understanding of physical chemistry at its core.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

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Kalyan Das
University of Alberta | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Antiviral Drug Design

The development of potent antiretroviral drugs represents a remarkable success in decades of global efforts to manage the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Unfortunately, antiviral drugs are not available for many other deadly viruses that could cause the next pandemic. Viruses evolve and adapt, which warrants sustainable activities in this area of research. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Antiviral Drug Design, Dr. Kalyan Das, uses a combination of X-ray crystallography and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to facilitate the development of medical countermeasures against emerging pathogens. High-resolution structural snapshots of dynamic viral targets and their mutated variants will form the basis for the structure-based design of small molecule antivirals, as well as vaccines. The new research program will develop a comprehensive approach to identify novel target sites, understand mechanisms of action and drug resistance, and build platforms that cover a complete discovery and development pipeline for clinical candidates. Targeting the replication machinery of “prototypic viruses” that represent families of pathogens with high epidemic potential is a strong focus of the research agenda.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

de Leeuw

Evelyne de Leeuw
Université de MontréalCIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in One Urban Health

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in One Urban Health acknowledges that cities are unique ecosystems with opportunities and challenges for the well-being and health of humans. With more than 50% of the population worldwide living in cities, many disciplines are engaged in analyses and interventions to make cities better places. The goal of this CERC is to merge the World Health Organization Healthy Cities social movement with the One Health approach that examines human-animal-nature disease interactions. By combining the social science and One Health approaches, this research program proposes new, engaged and integrated ways to develop healthier cities for all.

This inclusive partnership based in Montréal will mobilize citizen science, social movements and old and new networks for cities, health and sustainability. The CERC in One Urban Health will reaffirm and strengthen the relationship between the human, animal and natural environment ecosystems, and how they achieve durable meaning.

Award amount: $500,000 per year for eight years


Trung Q. Duong
Memorial University | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Next Generation Communication Technologies

Wireless communication is shaping our planet in an unprecedented way. However, the next generation communication technology—the sixth generation (6G)—is facing major challenges. A primary concern is to support the massive number of wireless and mobile devices requiring ultrasecurity, ultrahigh accuracy, very high capacity, ultrareliability and very low latency functionalities, which continue to generate ever-growing traffic for ubiquitous communications.

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Next Generation Communication Technologies, Dr. Trung Duong will address these challenges by developing novel communication technologies employing new wireless optimization and design, AI-empowered physical communications and quantum machine learning to generate the “wireless without limit” connectivity that guarantees high quality-of-service targets for a massive number of connected devices. Duong’s cutting-edge research will strengthen Memorial University’s growing international reputation as an innovative leader in advanced communications technology. His CERC research program will build a world-leading research team to address the significant technological, social, environmental and economic challenges and further advance Canada’s leadership in 6G.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves
University of Toronto | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Intelligent Digital Infrastructures

The computer networks we enjoy today have been built based on the initial designs by giants in the field of computer networks dating back to the 1960s to 1980s. These architectures and protocols have proven to be remarkably useful; however, the communication, computing and storage resources available today are many orders of magnitude larger and far more affordable than researchers could have ever imagined 50 years ago. Furthermore, there has been limited progress in the development of digital infrastructures that are just and equitable, ensuring that they are available to all regardless of geographic and socio-economic context.

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Intelligent Digital Infrastructures at the University of Toronto will focus on two equally important goals. First, it will reimagine how the internet could operate using more processing power, storage capacity and machine intelligence inside networks, rather than just using those resources at the server and client levels. Second, it will develop new network architectures, protocols and algorithms for just and equitable intelligent digital infrastructures that can serve all segments of society.

Award amount: $500,000 per year for eight years

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Darren Grant
Simon Fraser University | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Astroparticle Physics

Neutrinos are one of nature’s most elusive fundamental particles. They are produced prolifically in the cores of stars and extreme astrophysical events, in interactions in the Earth’s atmosphere, and at nuclear reactors and particle accelerators. Neutrino telescopes have revealed insights about the behaviour of neutrinos and the inner workings of the brightest and most intense places in the universe.

Dr. Darren Grant’s research focuses on measurements advancing our knowledge of neutrinos and rare interactions, including searches for unknown dark matter. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Astroparticle Physics supports three areas of innovation: analyzing data for existing neutrino telescopes; developing of next-generation detectors for large-scale neutrino observatories; and enhancing the reach of observations that involve multiple astrophysical messengers.

This CERC aims to enhance our understanding of the properties of neutrinos, and harness those properties to open new windows to study the most extreme processes in the universe. Grant’s CERC will provide the catalyst to establish an international centre in British Columbia, and have substantial impact on the international particle physics arena, cementing Canada’s leadership in the field of multimessenger neutrino astrophysics.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Niko Hildebrandt
McMaster University | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Nano-Optical Biosensing and Molecular Diagnostics

Through a smart combination of nanotechnology, optical sensing and biomolecular analysis, Dr. Niko Hildebrandt and his multidisciplinary research team at McMaster University will advance next-generation biosensing technologies with applications in clinical research and diagnostics, as well as in environmental sensing and food safety.

Hildebrandt is an internationally renowned expert in multiplexed biosensing and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) technologies using luminescent molecules and nanomaterials. As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Nano-Optical Biosensing and Molecular Diagnostics, Hildebrandt will build an ambitious research and technology centre to develop high-performance methods for biosensing and bioimaging—advancing health care, food safety and environmental security via improved clinical diagnostics, imaging and environmental analytics. By developing, understanding, characterizing and applying novel luminescence and energy transfer concepts, the CERC and his research team will advance and commercialize breakthrough biosensing technologies that will enhance the health and wellness of Canadians.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Rebecca Hull-Meichle
University of Alberta | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Islet Microenvironment

Pancreatic islet β-cells are the sole source of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Defects in β-cells underlie all forms of diabetes, which currently affects 3.5 million Canadians, with millions more at risk. Despite much progress being made in the 100 years since the discovery of insulin, current strategies to treat or replace β-cells remain inadequate. A major barrier to improving these treatments has been a lack of understanding of how islet cells are impacted by their microenvironment or “neighbourhood.” That is, even if β-cells can function perfectly in isolation, placing them into an adverse microenvironment threatens their function and survival. The goal of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Islet Microenvironment is to transform our understanding of the role of the microenvironment in helping islets thrive under healthy conditions, and of what goes wrong in diabetes. By understanding how the cells that make up the microenvironment are affected by diabetes and contribute to reduced β-cell function and survival, we will be able to develop better approaches to treat or prevent all types of diabetes.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Heather Igloliorte
University of Victoria | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Decolonial and Transformational Indigenous Art Practices

The historical narrative of Canada's colonial “truth” has long been told—and hidden—by museums, galleries, educational institutions and public spaces. As Canada Excellence Research Chair in Decolonial and Transformational Indigenous Art Practices, Dr. Heather Igloliorte will leverage the transformative power of art and innovative exhibition practices to advance reconciliation efforts, respond to colonial paradigms and generate new paths forward in Indigenous arts.

By integrating digital media, artistic processes and decolonial museum practices with creative technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, immersive video and Indigenous intergenerational customary practices like sewing, carving and beading, she will advance institutional, community-based and collaborative research towards decolonization across the country and internationally.

By providing hands-on training and mentorship to Indigenous and other equity-deserving postsecondary students—especially those from remote, northern, reserve and other underserved communities—the CERC will also support a new generation of researchers, educators, curators, artists and other change-makers.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

Kayla King

Kayla King
The University of British Columbia | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Evolutionary Dynamics of Host-Pathogen Interactions

Climate change is causing extreme heating, and altering the distribution of pathogens, while associated human activity and biodiversity loss are increasing human-animal contact. These factors will contribute to infectious diseases becoming more prevalent. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Evolutionary Dynamics of Host-Pathogen Interactions aims to harness evolution to better understand infection/immunity in a changing world and prepare us in the race against future pandemics. Dr. Kayla King’s research program will test the impacts of warming on host susceptibility and pathogen evolution across animals. It will further explore pathogen evolution after host jumps and in populations with variable or waning immunity. This research has implications for predicting virulence, transmission, and the tempo of evolution as pathogens emerge or move to new areas with shifting climates. Research will principally use “evolution experiments” in animal-pathogen models, as well as state-of-the-art genomics, computational analysis, and mathematical theory in a global change biology framework.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Robyn Klein
Western University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurovirology and Neuroimmunology

Emerging RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, have been identified as risk factors for diseases of cognition and may be associated with acute neuroinfectious, neurologic and neuropsychiatric diseases; these viruses may or may not be neuroinvasive. Dr. Robyn Klein has been at the forefront of this new field, defining neuroimmune mechanisms that contribute to diseases of cognition, and identifying molecular targets to predict and reverse memory deficits. As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurovirology and Neuroimmunology, her research program will use advanced genetic, pharmacologic, imaging and cognitive behavioural science techniques to examine neuroimmune responses to viral infections and the causes and outcomes of viral infection on cognition and cognitive recovery. Her work connecting neurology, immunology, virology and cognitive behavioural science will continue to be paradigm-shifting with the identification of novel drug targets and neuroimaging biomarkers to improve diagnosis and treatment of neurocognitive disorders, enhancing our understanding of the impacts of viral infections and neuroinflammation on cognition.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Steven Laureys
Université LavalCIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neuroplasticity

As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neuroplasticity, neurologist and brain scientist Dr. Steven Laureys will use the latest neurotechnology to understand how neuromodulation and lifestyle interventions, like improvements in quality of sleep, physical activity, and mind-body practices such as meditation and hypnosis, can enhance cognition, mental health, and well-being.

Building on his earlier groundbreaking research, and together with the team at CERVO Brain Research Centre, he proposes to use advanced brain imaging techniques to explore how these complementary interventions work in the brain, documenting their relative usefulness and, ultimately, improving their effectiveness in health and disease. This involves collaboration between experts in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, neurobiology, engineering and informatics, as well as clinicians, health care and social workers, and patient groups.

The goal is to validate the mechanisms underlying integrative medicine, conduct ecologically controlled clinical studies, and understand the impact on neuroplasticity—that is, the caused changes on the brain’s wiring. This timely and innovative initiative seeks to empower Canada’s citizens and bridge the gap between “traditional” and “alternative” health care, both preventive and curative, for better integrated and sustainable mental care.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

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Le Roux

Frédérique Le Roux
Université de MontréalCIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Eco-Evo-Patho of Microbes in Nature

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. Bacteriophages, which are the natural predators of bacteria, are being seriously considered as alternative therapies to antibiotics. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Eco-Evo-Patho of Microbes in Nature, led by Dr. Frédérique Le Roux, aims to explore antibiotic resistance in marine bacteria, and interaction between these bacteria and their bacteriophages. Vibrios, which encompass human and animal bacterial pathogens, will be used as model systems, relying on translational research as part of the One Health priority area (the interdependence of human, animal and environmental health). Based on a unique collection of environmental isolates, Le Roux and her team will explore the diversity, mechanisms and evolution of antimicrobial resistance (antibiotic and heavy metal). They will seek to understand genome size heterogeneity in natural populations of vibrio and test the hypothesis that shellfish function as a hot spot for horizontal gene transfer. They will also explore the mechanisms involved in the co-evolution of bacteriophages and bacteria in nature, and how co-evolution affects the specificity of the bacteriophages and the pathogenicity of the bacteria. This work will shed light on innovative approaches to overcome antibiotic resistance.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

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Leonard MacGillivray
Université de SherbrookeNSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Crystal Engineering for Green Chemistry and Sustainable Materials

Crystal engineering offers an ability to tailor properties of molecular solids by gaining control of the three-dimensional arrangement that atoms and molecules adopt in space with atomic precision. The field of knowledge can equip scientists with powerful tools to help sustain and support our planet. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Crystal Engineering for Green Chemistry and Sustainable Materials involves developing organic crystalline solids as green chemical laboratories, media for future organic semiconductors and solar energy storage, and materials to improve properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicine. Transformative and long-lasting impacts of the CERC program can be realized in vital sectors of the Canadian economy, including chemical manufacturing, electronics, energy use and pharmaceutical industries.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Isla Myers-Smith
The University of British Columbia | NSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Global Change Ecology of Northern Ecosystems

The rapidly warming climate is reshaping the planet’s biodiversity. At northern latitudes, change is four times greater than the global average and impacts are particularly pronounced. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Global Change Ecology of Northern Ecosystems will capture the transformation of tundra and boreal forest ecosystems in response to warming temperatures and shifting seasonality. The research will explore how vegetation change is altering wildlife habitats, movement of species and the collective impact of these changes on livelihoods of Indigenous communities in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Dr. Isla Myers-Smith and the CERC team will integrate field research, remote sensing, data synthesis and community engagement to address critical research questions about northern ecosystems experiencing rapid and accelerating climate change, and the resulting implications for northern communities. The program will establish a Climate Change Ecology Research Hub in the western Canadian North to bring together experts from Indigenous communities and government agencies and academic researchers to establish common infrastructure and data collection to facilitate ecological and drone monitoring capabilities in this region.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Nicholas Reo
Simon Fraser University | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Coastal Relationalities and Regeneration

Dr. Nicholas Reo, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Coastal Relationalities and Regeneration, will work with a constellation of partners to promote Indigenous collective continuance. This award enables an international Indigenous research family to support land-based healing, language learning, Indigenous foodways and other community-based practices tied to Indigenous resurgence. At the Indigenous nation scale, this multisite CERC will amplify Indigenous leadership in coastal tenure and contribute research relevant to Indigenous land repossession. Regenerative work at the family, community and Indigenous nation scales will be elevated through Indigenous international knowledge exchange and relationship-building.

Indigenous methodologies will be enacted in multiple regions: with the Anishinaabek of the greater Baawiting / Sault Ste. Marie region of Turtle Island; Kanaka Maoli on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi; Māori from Whāingaroa and Te Matau-a-Māui regions of Aotearoa; and with the Nuchatlaht First Nation on Vancouver Island. Simon Fraser University is creating new faculty positions focused on community-driven Indigenous research. These roles will be situated off-campus within three of the four partner communities to honour the unique needs and challenges facing Indigenous researchers doing place-based work within Indigenous contexts.

Award amount: $500,000 per year for eight years


Patricia Romero-Lankao
University of Toronto | SSHRC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Sustainability Transitions

While climate change is already threatening humanity, its disastrous cascading effects are falling most heavily on those least able to absorb their devastating results. Dr. Patricia Romero-Lankao, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Sustainability Transitions, will work with a range of neighbourhoods and cities, emphasizing partnerships with underrepresented communities, to catalyze the development of community-engaged and context-relevant approaches to just and equitable sustainability transitions. The CERC will use a transdisciplinary and community-engaged approach to understand the significance of past and current inequities in investments, lending and planning practices, and regulations (recognition justice). She will explore the role communities can play through full participation in decision-making about programs, investment services and other energy transition policies and innovations (procedural justice). By advancing the development of community-engaged and context-specific understandings of urban energy transitions, the CERC will create the knowledge needed to foster equity in the distribution of benefits and burdens (distributional justice). Through this approach it will be possible to realize urban energy transitions that facilitate both a good life for all and the achievement of net-zero carbon by 2050.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years

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Silva Acuna

Carlos Silva Acuna
Université de MontréalNSERC

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Light-Matter Interactions in Photonic Materials

Quantum photonics harnesses the unique properties of light in a precise quantum state for cutting-edge technologies like quantum computing, cryptography and teleportation. These applications involve generating, manipulating and detecting photons. Understanding how particles interact with their environment is vital to develop scalable quantum-photonics materials and determine the emitted light’s quantum state. The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Light-Matter Interactions in Photonic Materials aims to comprehend and control the quantum dynamics of light-induced excited states in condensed matter, influencing whether light emission occurs in a quantum or classical regime. Specifically, it will implement a two-fold approach. It will use laser bursts that are as short as a millionth of a billionth of a second to probe the way in which quantum information is lost by interactions between the light-prepared states and their environment. Secondly, it will implement light in a well-defined, so-called entangled quantum state, and the change of the quantum state of light as a result of light-matter interactions will be measured. These two parallel approaches will enable a complete comprehension of the quantum dynamics necessary for the development of quantum photonics technologies.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Dana Small
McGill University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Metabolism and the Brain

In Canada, obesity is the leading cause of diabetes and heart disease and a strong risk factor for depression, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause mortality. Dr. Dana Small, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Metabolism and the Brain, leads pioneering work that combines human neuroimaging and metabolic measures with animal models to reveal new insights into the mechanisms linking obesity and brain disorders. The CERC plans to develop a paradigm-shifting approach to combat the obesity and diabetes pandemics. As the founder and director of the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center, an international consortium that supports science in gut-brain health, Small will also bring new capacity to research at McGill University, and synergize with its world-class neuroscience and metabolism research and training programs to benefit the university, Quebec and Canada.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Karen Soldatić
Toronto Metropolitan University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Health Equity and Community Well-being

As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, advances in medicine cannot improve population health if vast segments within that population cannot access them. As the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Health Equity and Community Well-being, Dr. Karen Soldatić will lead health system transformation by positioning health equity as a strategic imperative—one that must be at the heart of systemic change.

The research program will use a critical disability lens to place specific communities—those facing exclusions, marginalization and adversities—at the centre of their interactions with health and social systems. It will also examine the potential of digitalization for transformative, accessible and equitable health communications and engagement within communities.

The CERC will collaborate with communities, civil society and formal health-care providers to co-create new knowledge frameworks. Outcomes on core questions of health inequity and community well-being, in turn, will lead to broad policy change and social innovation. Such health system transformation not only improves health equity for all, but, ultimately, provides important building blocks for sustainable public health, innovative and resilient communities, and increased preparedness for future health emergencies.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years


Darcy Wagner
McGill University | CIHR

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Lung Regenerative Medicine

Respiratory diseases afflict over 500 million persons worldwide. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, pulmonary disorders were the third most frequent cause of death. New therapeutic interventions, which can replace diseased lung tissue or accelerate its regeneration, are desperately needed. To achieve this goal, Dr. Darcy Wagner, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Lung Regenerative Medicine, aims to leverage recent advances in different disciplines such as biomaterials, stem cell biology and advanced biomanufacturing. The CERC will develop new manufacturing techniques based on 3D bioprinting approaches that incorporate novel microfluidic-based components to improve the precision at which lung tissue can be generated. In addition to moving these technologies closer to clinical reality, novel and more functionally realistic ex vivo 3D models of human lung and airway tissue will be created. These can be used by scientists and industry to better understand molecular mechanisms of lung disease, and as a new platform for both identifying and validating emerging therapies.

Award amount: $1 million per year for eight years