Government of Canada Announces Results of First Phase of Canada Excellence Research Chairs Competition

(OTTAWA, November 8, 2012) — The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced the proposals from eight Canadian universities that have been selected to recruit 11 prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERCs). This latest CERC competition will further enable Canada to be at the leading edge of research breakthroughs, which will generate significant social and economic benefits for Canadians.

“Our government is committed to supporting research and innovation in areas that are vital to Canada’s future economic prosperity and growth,” said Minister Goodyear. “Canada Excellence Research Chairholders are among the world’s most accomplished researchers. Their presence in Canada’s universities will position us at the forefront of innovative research.”

The successful universities have been awarded Canada Excellence Research Chairs in the following areas:
•   École Polytechnique de Montréal—Data Science for Real-Time Decision-Making
•   McGill University—Personalized Pain Medicine
•   McGill University—Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals
•   Queen’s University—Particle Astrophysics
•   Queen’s University—GeoFluids in Sedimentary Basins
•   The University of British Columbia—Quantum Materials and Devices Based on Oxide Heterostructures
•   The University of British Columbia—Digital Media Research and Innovation
•   Université Laval—Neurophotonics
•   University of Calgary—Materials Engineering for Unconventional Oil Reservoirs
•   University of Saskatchewan—Integrated Infectious Disease Mitigation
•   University of Waterloo—Security and Privacy for the New Digital Economy

In Phase 1 of the two-stage competition, 46 research proposals were submitted by 27 universities. Following an extensive, multilevel peer-review process—including evaluation by external experts, assessment by a review panel, strategic review by the selection board, and final approval by a steering committee—11 applications from eight universities are being retained for Phase 2.

In Phase 2, the eight universities are now invited to nominate world-renowned researchers for the proposed projects. The nominations will undergo a thorough assessment—again involving external experts and strategic review—to assess that the nominees meet the criteria of the CERC Program.

“Canada’s universities responded enthusiastically to the call for proposals, and demonstrated the extent to which talent and innovation thrive on our campuses,” said Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Chair of the CERC steering committee. “The 11 proposals will strengthen Canada’s position as an international leader in research and consolidate the successes of this exceptional program.”

“It was a highly competitive selection process with a large number of outstanding proposals,” said Brian Levitt, Chair of the CERC selection board. “My colleagues on the selection board, which include prominent Canadians and international experts, believe that the 11 selected proposals represent the best strategic investment for Canada and will provide significant benefits in a wide range of areas.”

The CERC Program is designed to attract the world’s best researchers to build a critical mass of expertise in areas of importance to Canada. Launched in 2008, host universities receive up to $10 million over seven years to support the CERC and their teams in ambitious research programs. The first group of chairholders was announced in May 2010. These chairholders are currently working in 13 institutions across the country, contributing to Canadians’ well-being and the country’s global competitiveness. Economic Action Plan 2011 announced a competition for 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs. Since then, an additional Chair became available due to a vacancy from the inaugural competition. These awards are among the most prestigious and generous available globally.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Michèle-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Media Relations
Industry Canada

Michael Adams
Communications Advisor
Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council