The next competition of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Program will be launched in fall 2021 with application deadlines in spring 2022. The list of active and former chairholders is a testament to how the program is meeting its objectives in supporting world-renowned researchers and their teams to establish ambitious research programs at universities across Canada.
We have received valuable feedback through meetings, reports and engagements with institutions and stakeholders on how the CERC program can be improved. Some examples include:
- the publication of the 10-year program evaluation report and management response, which provide several concrete action items related to program administration and competition design;
- engagement sessions in January 2021, organized by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), with approximately 120 senior institutional representatives from over 75 institutions; and
- a virtual symposium in June 2021 that brought together chairholders and their peers, to celebrate accomplishments, share diverse experiences and discuss challenges and best practices in meeting the objectives of the program.
TIPS has worked with our governance committees to refine some of the design elements to ensure the program continues to meet its objectives. While many elements of the next funding opportunity will remain similar to those in previous competitions, here are some highlights of the design changes to the program for the next competition:
- streamlining the application process to a one-phase approach where the research program and nominee are presented together;
- establishing two award values of $8 million dollars and $4 million dollars each over a period of eight years to allow for participation from a greater range of research disciplines and to continue to support core teams that include students, highly qualified personnel, early- and mid-career researchers;
- strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) by ensuring it is incorporated into research design, research teams and recruitment processes. Chairholders have a role to play in following the institution’s EDI action plan and ensuring that their core teams are diverse and inclusive and offer more equitable access opportunities.
- launching future competitions every four years in a predictable way to support planning for institutional recruitment and program delivery;
- removing the one-to-one matching funds requirement to instead focus on the quality of the research environment and enhance emphasis on sustainability plans, as well as on the ability of institutions to leverage funds.
More information will be released in the fall, including the details of the funding opportunity, eligibility, application timelines, and information on upcoming webinars.
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