New investments in major science initiatives to keep Canada at the forefront

Close to $230 million will support 14 facilities across the country


A collage of photos showcasing research infrastructure and researchers at work.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — As the Government of Canada responds to the challenges of COVID-19, it is clear why investments in research are important. Canadian researchers from all disciplines play a key role in finding solutions to the challenges we face now and in the future.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry,  announced close to $230 million in funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives (MSI) Fund to continue to support the operating costs of 14 national research facilities at 10 universities.

As a result of these ongoing investments, some of these initiatives were able to respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional funding announced today will further strengthen the facilities’ ongoing research activities and their efforts to combat COVID-19.

Here are just some of the ways they have pivoted their research to tackle this challenge:

  • SNOLAB, an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics at Queen’s University is applying its expertise in gas handling and control systems used in dark matter experiments to design a simple ventilator;
  • Érudit, an online database of Canadian social sciences and humanities publications, led by Université de Montréal, has opened access to its academic articles on the social, environmental and economic impacts of the pandemic;
  • CGEn, Canada’s national platform for genome sequencing and analysis, leads the country’s COVID-19 host genome sequencing initiative, which includes sequencing the genome of 10,000 Canadians to understand how the body responds to COVID-19;
  • The Canadian Research Data Centre Network, headquartered at McMaster University, has several social science projects focused on understanding the pandemic’s impact on society, the labour market and the economy;
  • The University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Light Source has three streams of ongoing COVID-19 research taking place on drug development, studying the coronavirus’ physical behaviour and transmission and improving equipment for COVID-19 frontline workers;
  • The Centre for Phenogenomics has collaborated with Sinai Health Systems to streamline the process of sterilizing Personal Protective Equipment, including
    N95 masks, and;
  • CMC Microsystems, which manages Canada’s National Design Network, collaborated with researchers from across the country to make a device that detects COVID-19 using optical technology.

The MSI Fund supports the unique operating and maintenance needs of Canada’s large, complex research facilities so that they can stay on the cutting edge and continue to serve communities of researchers in Canada and around the world.

View list of funded projects


“Canada is home to several state-of-the-art, internationally renowned research facilities. Not only do these facilities make it possible for cutting-edge research to take place in Canada, we are also benefiting from the impressive and innovative power of Canadian researchers in our coordinated, national approach to fight COVID-19.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Canada’s national research facilities allow our country’s best researchers to participate at the leading edge, and to address some of our most pressing national and international challenges. The CFI’s investments in research infrastructure through its MSI Fund meant these facilities were ready to tackle emerging challenges like COVID-19. As society becomes more complex, we need to continue to foster ingenuity and a relentless passion for knowledge with the equipment and spaces researchers need to flourish.”

– Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Quick facts

  • Today’s investments include continued MSI support for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac). This funding was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 23 in a separate release and is therefore not listed here.
  • The MSI Fund supports the operations of key national research facilities by contributing to the ongoing operating and maintenance needs of these facilities.
  • This additional investment of close to $230 million increases the total amount of support through the CFI’s MSI Fund to $533 million between 2017 and 2023.

Quick links
Canada Foundation for Innovation
Major Science Initiatives Fund
An overview of Canada’s national research facilities
The CFI Research Facilities Navigator: An online database of labs and facilities that are open to working with business

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
For more than 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. Fostering a robust innovation system in Canada translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

Related products
A full list of the funded projects and stories about the facilities we fund are available online at For updates, follow us on Twitter @InnovationCA and subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos about the CFI and its many transformative research projects.

Discover other CFI COVID-19 research investments:
New COVID-19 college research infrastructure competition launches
New competition to fund COVID-19-related research: Call for proposals now live
Prime Minister announces additional funding to support COVID-19 research


Malorie Bertrand
Media Relations and Social Media Specialist

Canada Foundation for Innovation
C: 613-227-0198
malorie.bertrand [at] (malorie[dot]bertrand[at]innovation[dot]ca)


Media Relations
Innovation, Science, and Economic
Development Canada
O: 343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic [at] (ic[dot]mediarelations-mediasrelations[dot]ic[at]canada[dot]ca)

John Power

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

O: 343-550-1456

john.power [at] (john[dot]power[at]canada[dot]ca)




Additional Funding - Major Science Initiatives 2017-2023



Major Science Initiatives

Maximum CFI Increase

Dalhousie University

Ocean Tracking Network




McMaster University

The Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy


Canadian Research Data Centre Network Evolving to Meet New Research Data Needs and Policy Priorities





Queen’s University



Canada’s National Design Network


Canadian Cancer Trials Group Operations and Statistics Centre at Queen’s University





Sinai Health System

The Centre for Phenogenomics




The Hospital for Sick Children

Canada's Genomics Enterprise




Université de Montréal

Plateforme de recherche en sciences humaines et sociales – ERUDIT.ORG




Université Laval

CCGS Amundsen




University of Ottawa

The Andre E. Lalonde Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility for Environmental Radionuclides




University of Saskatchewan

Canadian Light Source


SuperDARN Canada:  A Global Space Weather Collaboration




University of Victoria

Ocean Networks Canada