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 the Government of Canada’s science, technology and innovation (ST&I) priority areas expected to generate social and economic benefits for Canadians;
  • help Canada build a critical mass of expertise in ST&I priority areas identified by the Government of Canada;
  • create a competitive environment to help Canadian institutions, in their pursuit of excellence in their research, attract a cadre of world-leading researchers; and
  • contribute to branding Canada as a location of choice for world-leading research, science and technology development, alongside 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 selection process involving a multilevel peer review assessment.

Chairs are awarded in alignment with the Government of Canada’s ST&I priority areas for the CERC and Canada First Research Excellence Fund programs. Applications are invited from a broad range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health and related sciences. Canadian institutions administer the funds, receiving either $8 million or $4 million over eight years for each Canada Excellence Research Chair, depending on the award value.

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