Canadian Universities and Research Institutions Get $21.6 Million Boost for World-Class Innovation

October 19, 1998

OTTAWA, October 19, 1998…Dr. David W. Strangway, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), today announced the first results of a national competition for infrastructure funding under the CFI's Institutional Innovation Fund and Regional/National Facilities, as well as the first awards under the Research Development Fund.  Representing a total investment of $21.6 million, these awards will help strengthen the capability for world-class research and technology development at 35 Canadian universities and research institutions. 

"These awards represent an important milestone in the development of Canadian innovation," said Dr. Strangway. "The CFI investment will enable more than 550 researchers in institutions across the country to have access to the advanced equipment and facilities they need to undertake leading-edge research." 

Under the Institutional Innovation Fund (under $350,000), the CFI approved an investment of $7.8 million for 67 infrastructure projects at 26 institutions. These awards will help strengthen the research infrastructure in the institutions' priority areas. 

Under the Institutional Innovation Fund (over $350,000) and Regional/National Facilities, 14 institutions will receive funding for 16 projects totalling $8.1 million. In addition, after an initial review, the CFI approved 159 projects that will be invited to move on to a further stage of review before final funding decisions are made in 1999. These proposals were first reviewed by three multidisciplinary committees in September. The selected proposals will be assessed using a variety of mechanisms (such as site visits and interviews) depending on the scope and complexity of the proposed infrastructure project. 

"Each project was carefully reviewed, and had to demonstrate its potential to contribute to the advancement of Canadian innovation," said Dr. Strangway. "The projects invited to move on to the next stage of the review represent about $735 million in proposed infrastructure. Considering the budget of approximately $370 million available for this competition, this next phase will remain very competitive." 

Under the Research Development Fund, the CFI approved an investment of $5.7 million for 24 awards in seven universities. These awards are designed to help strengthen the research environment at institutions that receive less than 1 percent of the annual total in sponsored research at Canadian universities. 

"The Research Development Fund awards represent a strategic boost to the research capability of these universities," said Dr. Strangway. "These awards are not only a strategic investment in research, they also recognize and reinforce the critical role that universities play in the development of many smaller communities across Canada." 

The CFI investments target key needs in the areas of health, science, engineering, and the environment. Over 450 applications were submitted by Canadian universities, hospitals, and not-for-profit research institutions. They represent a wide range of infrastructure projects including: specialized wind tunnel equipment to study the impact of atmospheric icing on power lines; nanofabrication facilities for materials and microelectronics research; research installations to understand the conditions needed to ensure independent living and quality of life for disabled and elderly people; and leading-edge equipment to further our understanding of heart diseases and to improve existing health care programs. 

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 

Award and Competition Update

Institutional Innovation Fund (under $350,000) 
Under the Institutional Innovation Fund (under $350,000), the CFI Board of Directors approved the investment of $7.8 million for 67 infrastructure projects at 26 institutions. These awards are aimed at strengthening the research infrastructure in the institution's priority areas. The overall success rate in this competition is 54 percent. The projects are in the following areas: 49 percent in health, 27 percent in science, 15 percent in engineering, and 9 percent in environment. 

Institutional Innovation Fund (over $350,000) and Regional/National Facilities
 
Under these two funding mechanisms, CFI received 296 proposals. The Board approved 16 projects totalling $8.1 million for immediate funding. The committees concluded that they had sufficient information on these highly rated projects to recommend that they be approved at this time. The Board also approved another 159 projects to proceed to the next stage of the review process. This means that 121 proposals requesting about one third of the funds in this group will not proceed further. 

The next phase remains very competitive considering the maximum budget available for this competition ($370 million) and the total value of the proposals invited to move to the next stage of the review (close to $735 million). The evaluation mechanisms to be used during the second stage of the review process will vary from proposal to proposal. The review will involve a variety of methods depending on the complexity of the proposed project. Among the 159 projects remaining in competition, less complex proposals will be reviewed relatively quickly. The Board is expected to make a decision on some of these in January 1999. 

More complex proposals will require greater in-depth review before the Board can make a decision later in 1999. For proposals in areas such as high-performance computing, genomics, biomedical imaging, and campus networks, the CFI has identified a need for better co-ordination on an institutional, regional or national basis. The proposals in these areas will be grouped and reviewed in the context of national strategies aimed at ensuring that the CFI is making the best possible investment in infrastructure at Canadian institutions. In the case of digital libraries, the CFI will invite applicants to review their proposals with the goal of developing a single, national proposal involving institutions in all regions, focussing on a pilot program for site licensing. The CFI has identified 28 building proposals that could be invited to move on to the next stage of the review. These proposals are those where construction costs represent more than two-thirds of the total project costs. 

Before inviting any such proposal to the next stage of the competition, the CFI will hold a further review to assess the value added of each proposal to Canadian innovation. This review will involve the chairs of the multidisciplinary assessment committees that reviewed these proposals. The total CFI expenditure in this category will be limited to $100 million in this competition. 

Finally, there are six other projects, each of which has a total cost exceeding $25 million, for which the CFI will design a specific review process. Information on strategic approaches and review processes will be released in the near future. 

Research Development Fund
 
This mechanism is intended to strengthen the research environment at institutions that receive less than 1 percent of the annual total in sponsored research at Canadian universities. Forty six proposals were under this mechanism. At its October 13 meeting, the Board approved an investment of $5.7 million for 24 awards under this Fund. Fifty two percent of the proposals were approved for funding. 

October 19, 1998 

Canada Foundation for Innovation
  -Backgrounder 

Institutional Innovation Fund (over $350,000) / Regional/National Facilities
 

Awards by Institution
 

Institution Invited for further review Awarded
Alberta 12 1
British Columbia 10 1
Calgary 5 1
Carleton 1  
Concordia 3  
Dalhousie 3  
École Polytechnique 4 1
Guelph 8 1
Hospital for Sick Children 1  
Institut national de recherche scientifique 1 1
Laval 10  
London Cancer Centre 1  
Manitoba 4  
McGill 9  
McMaster 6 1
Memorial University of Newfoundland 6  
Mount Sinai Hospital 1  
Ottawa 4 2
Queen's 6 1
Saskatchewan 4  
Sherbrooke 2  
Simon Fraser 1 2
St. Boniface General Hospital 1  
St. Joseph's Health Centre of London 1  
St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton 1  
Toronto 14 1
Toronto Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute 2  
Université de Montréal 12 1
Université du Québec à Montréal 1  
Université du Québec à Rimouski 1  
Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre 1  
Victoria 1 1
Waterloo 9 1
Western Ontario 9  
Windsor 1  
York 3  


Canada Foundation for Innovation Institutional Innovation Fund (under $350,000) 

Awards by Institution
 

Institution Awarded
Alberta 3
British Columbia 10
Calgary 2
Carleton 1
Concordia 2
Dalhousie 3
Institut national de recherche scientifique 1
Laval 3
Manitoba 5
McGill 8
McMaster 1
Montréal 12
Ottawa 2
Sherbrooke 2
Simon Fraser 6
St. Boniface General Hospital 1
Toronto 2
Université du Québec à Montréal 1
Victoria 2


Research Development Fund
 
Awards by Institution
   

Institution Awarded
École de Technologie Supérieure 1
Lakehead 5
Moncton 1
New Brunswick 10
Trent 1
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi 3
Université du Québec à Trois Rivières 3