The Canada Foundation For Innovation Invests $36 Million To Boost Research Careers In Universities

August 13, 1998

OTTAWA, August 13, 1998...Dr. David W. Strangway, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), today announced the investment of $36 million to help launch the research careers of more than 400 new faculty members in 26 universities across Canada. Awarded through the CFI New Opportunities program mechanism, the funds will provide infrastructure support to these new researchers in the areas of health, science, engineering, and the environment. 

"These researchers are being recognized for their talents and their creativity in addressing problems in priority areas for Canadians," said Dr. Strangway. "Our support means that they will be able to undertake research that will help to, for example, better understand the molecular processes behind herbicide resistance, develop intelligent systems to enable robots to operate in dynamic or dangerous situations, and build better and safer roads." 

As part of the CFI competition for funding, Canadian universities were invited to seek infrastructure support for faculty members who have recently taken up their first full-time academic position. The quality and innovativeness of proposals, which could involve teams of researchers with complementary skills and expertise, were reviewed by multidisciplinary committees. In considering the proposals, the committees used the three CFI assessment criteria:

  • quality of research and suitability of the infrastructure;
  • contribution to strengthening the capacity for innovation; and
  • potential benefits of the research to Canada.

Following its established funding formula, the CFI supports, on average, 40% of the selected infrastructure projects. The remaining costs are supported by funding partners in the public, private, and voluntary sectors. Provincial governments have supported the universities by becoming funding partners in many of the New Opportunities projects that were submitted to the CFI. 

"The partnership with the provinces goes a long way to help universities attract and retain talented researchers across Canada," said Dr. Strangway. "These funding partnerships not only help institutions offer the right conditions to train young Canadians interested in research and innovation-driven careers, they also strengthen their capacity to conduct world-class research." 

Dr. Michael Smith, Nobel Prize Laureate (Chemistry 1993) and a member of the CFI Board of Directors, also stressed the importance of investing in researchers at an early stage in their careers. 

"By providing these researchers with the tools they need to conduct their research, we are not only strengthening the capacity to train future researchers, we are investing in the science and technology leadership of this country. This kind of investment is critical if Canada is to become a truly innovative society." 

Following the initial call for New Opportunities proposals, the CFI has established an ongoing process aimed at strengthening the research capacity of Canadian universities through the recruitment of high-calibre candidates in areas of importance to the institutions. Information on the application process is published in the Program and Policy Guide

The CFI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established in May 1997 with a contribution of $800 million from the Government of Canada. The Foundation's mandate is to invest in infrastructure for research and development in Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals, and other not-for-profit research institutions. The CFI's investments will be made in partnership with the private and voluntary sectors, as well as with all levels of government. Through these partnerships, the CFI has the potential to trigger about $2 billion in investment in research infrastructure. 

Canada Foundation for Innovation Backgrounder 

New Opportunities Awards by Institution

Alberta 17
Calgary 10
Carleton 1
Concordia 2
Dalhousie 4
École Polytechnique 1
Guelph 4
Laval 14
Manitoba 7
McGill 17
McMaster 7
Memorial 3
Montréal 23
Ottawa 11
Queen's 7
Saskatchewan 2
Simon Fraser 5
Sherbrooke 7
Toronto 23
UBC 18
Victoria 3
Waterloo 11
Western 10
Windsor 1
York 3

Note: Following its established funding formula, the CFI supports, on average, 40% of the eligible costs of a project. The CFI investment of $36 million, and the partner contributions to the New Opportunities projects, represent approximately $90 million in research infrastructure for new faculty in Canadian universities. The overall success rate of the New Opportunities competition is 71%, of which 51% is in health, 40% in science and engineering, and 9% in environment.