$15.9 million investment places Canada at the forefront of microchip research and design

July 17, 2001

Ottawa, July 17, 2001…Ms. Marlene Catterall, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-West--Nepean on behalf of the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry, today joined Dr. David Strangway, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), on the announcement of an investment of $15.9 million by the CFI to support the development of an advanced microchip research and design network. The “System-on-Chip” research network will link over 250 Canadian technology researchers at 32 universities and research institutions across the country. This is the first time a national network for system-on-chip research has been implemented on this scale anywhere in the world.

"The CFI's investment focuses on two key elements of the Government of Canada's innovation agenda - knowledge infrastructure and people, " said Ms. Catterall. "These two elements are essential to ensure our prosperity and to foster a culture of innovation to make Canada a world leader in the highly competitive global knowledge-based economy."

"This national project represents a unique Canadian model to link researchers and students at universities and research institutions in 9 provinces, " said Dr. David Strangway, President and CEO of the CFI. "It will play a critical role in helping to position Canada's researchers and their industry partners at the forefront of microchip technology."

The Ontario Innovation Trust Fund is also supporting the development of the new research network by investing $6.2 million.

"To remain competitive in the new, innovation-based economy, Ontario is investing in infrastructure to build world-class centres of research, scientific discovery and innovation," said Jim Wilson, Ontario's Minister of Energy, Science and Technology. "To help achieve that goal, the Ontario government established the Ontario Innovation Trust, and I am pleased that the Trust has invested in this initiative led by Queen's University."

Awarded to Queen's University on behalf of a consortium of universities and research institutions, the national network infrastructure will involve university-industry partnerships and create a national library of intellectual property. This national library will consist of microelectronic system components and computer-aided design tools, available to research sites through secure communication links.

Canadian researchers who have access to that library and a distribution network for System-On-Chip designs will be able to conduct innovative research in a many areas including telecommunications, robotics, computing, sensors, biotechnology and medicine.

The CFI funds are awarded following an independent assesment by experts in Canada and abroad using the following criteria: 

  • Quality of research and the need for infrastructure.
  • Contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation.
  • Potential benefits of the research to Canada.

The CFI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997 to address an urgent need of Canada's research community: new, state-of-the-art research infrastructure. The Foundation covers 40% of the eligible costs of projects, with the remaining 60% coming from the research institutions and their funding partners from the public, private, and voluntary sectors.

The CFI has been entrusted with a capital investment budget of $3.15 billion. 

A list of the projects approved by the CFI to date is available here.

For more information, please contact:

Suzanne Corbeil
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Telephone: (613) 996-4403
Fax: (613) 943-0923
suzanne.corbeil [at] innovation.ca


About System-On-Chip (SOC) Technology

Using SOC technology, it is now feasible to place an entire microelectronics system on a single chip that needs nothing else to interface with the outside world. SOC technology avoids the use of larger, more expensive and power hungry circuit boards. It enables products such as sophisticated digital cameras, telecommunications / Internet equipment, cell phones and personal digital assistants. The technology also allows for mobility through such things as high performance signal processing in the field for example - medical equipment in ambulances.

Single microchip solutions are a key driver of current and future market applications. Researchers who contribute and participate in the revolutionary SOC world, must have access to cutting-edge computer-aided design tools, design methodologies and reusable design content. The new research network gives them those tools and methodologies.

The SOC Research Network proposal was developed as the result of a collaboration among 32 Canadian universities and research institutions and in consultation with the following organizations: 

  • the Canadian Microelectronics Corporation, which provides Canadian researchers, students and industry with the best available tools for the design, testing and manufacture of microchips. The CMC will be working with Queen's University for delivering the SOC network to researchers at universities across Canada;  
  • the Strategic Microelectronics Consortium, a non-profit association that represents microelectronics companies in Canada;  
  • Micronet, the federally-funded Network of Centre of Excellence in microelectronics research; and  
  • the Ontario Innovation Trust, which the Province of Ontario established in 1999 to support research infrastructure in the province's universities, colleges, hospitals, and research institutes.

List of participating institutions

Carleton University
Concordia University
Dalhousie University
École de technologie supérieure
École polytechnique de Montréal
Institut national de la recherche scientifique-Énergie; Télécommunication
McGill University
McMaster University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Queen's University
Royal Military College
Ryerson Polytechnic University
Simon Fraser University
Université de Montréal
Université de Sherbrooke
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Université du Québec à Montréal
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Université Laval
University of Alberta
University of British Columbia
University of Calgary
University of Manitoba
University of New Brunswick
University of Ottawa / Université d'Ottawa
University of Regina 
University of Saskatchewan
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
University of Waterloo
University of Western Ontario
University of Windsor