OTTAWA, ONTARIO — To ensure Canadian research continues to remain competitive and produce results that benefit society, it is critical to attract and retain talented researchers. State-of-the-art facilities and equipment are essential for these researchers to make advances in important areas such as genetics, quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, climate change, and health and well-being.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced more than $64 million to support 251 research infrastructure projects at 40 universities across the country. This contribution, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), will help universities more competitively recruit and retain outstanding researchers by helping acquire the state-of-the-art labs, equipment and facilities they need to make discoveries that will have an impact on Canadians.
For example, projects being funded through the JELF will contribute to:
- Identifying sources of atmospheric humidity in a warming Arctic
The Arctic is the region warming the most due to human activity. This warming trend results in a clear increase in atmospheric humidity, which enhances the greenhouse effect. The University of British Columbia’s Anaïs Orsi intends to provide new data from water vapour and precipitation to better understand the sources of atmospheric humidity in the Canadian Arctic. This new understanding will lead to more accurate climate predictions, which are essential for the planning of infrastructure, the well-being of the local population, and the identification of emerging economic opportunities.
- Understanding the needs of adults with autism
Many autistic people live in complex situations and require help from professionals, but healthcare and social services struggle to respond effectively to their needs. Marie-Hélène Poulin’s research project at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue aims to develop, implement and evaluate models of mental health and dependency services to improve the support offered to adults with autism.
- Establishing a muscle ultrasound in health and breast cancer laboratory
While breast cancer patients in Canada have a five-year survival rate of 89 per cent, a fifth of those patients will develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) in survivorship. Cancer can lead to unhealthy metabolic changes and significant weight gain, which may result in new T2D diagnoses. Muscle tissue is vital for maintaining healthy blood glucose, but very little is known about how cancer treatment affects it. Kirsten Bell from McMaster University will establish a new lab to develop novel ultrasound approaches to better understand and improve muscle health in adults with breast cancer. The end goal is to reduce the risk of serious diabetic complications in cancer survivors and the burden of diabetes management on the healthcare system.
- Optimizing artificial intelligence to manage energy
Artificial intelligence (AI) has made impressive progress in recent years, impacting several industries, including the electric utility sector. One of the most dynamic research areas in the field of AI in this sector involves using sensors to inspect infrastructure. Moulay Akhloufi's research program at Université de Moncton aims to design an intelligent inspection system for power lines and other electricity components using novel AI tools. One of his objectives is to accelerate technology transfer to Canadian industries using state-of-the-art tools as the fast-growing global AI in the energy market is expected to reach $27.15 billion by 2028.
- Building an Indigenous intellectual and well-being research laboratory
As universities are creating more opportunities for reconciliation by fostering Indigenization, Indigenous researchers are envisioning Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing research on campus. The University of Ottawa’s Tricia McGuire-Adams intends to build a space on campus where Indigenous-led research about land, language, ceremony and well-being will be created. This project will connect and amplify systems of knowledge created and shared by Elders and other knowledge holders, through the recording and sharing of their knowledge systems.
- Transforming a century-old facility into a smart-building living laboratory
Today's buildings are complex “cyber-physical systems,” emitting data based on their usage and managing their heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, major appliances and access control systems. Eleni Stroulia’s research project will involve the installation of hardware and software infrastructure layered on top of the existing infrastructure of a building on the University of Alberta campus. Once equipped, the building will be home to the Computing Science department and will serve as a living laboratory for developing, deploying and validating algorithms to optimize the building system usage, curtailing its energy impact on the environment and reducing its operation costs.
Find the full list of recipients below.
“Canada is world-renowned for our state-of-the-art institutions and talented researchers. Through this Fund, our government is strengthening our leadership and competitive advantage by supporting Canadians to pursue discoveries, overcome challenges and innovate to make a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable future for all.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Thanks to the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund, universities across the country will be able to attract and support promising, world-class researchers who will use their expertise and creativity to bring novel ideas to solve concrete problems that impact society. The CFI proudly contributes to this mission by supporting, from coast to coast to coast, projects in areas ranging from wastewater treatment to DNA approaches for cancer therapy, permitting brilliant minds to kick start or move their careers forward.”
– Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
- The total JELF investment made today by the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation is $64,297,061.
- This total investment includes $14,837,783 awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF), a mechanism that assists institutions with the incremental operation and maintenance costs associated with the new infrastructure.
- Funding provided through JELF helps institutions attract and retain outstanding researchers. It also contributes to acquiring the tools that enable the innovative work of those researchers.
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About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
Since 1997, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has been investing in infrastructure that researchers need to think big, innovate and push the boundaries of knowledge. State-of-the-art research facilities and equipment increase the capability of Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to carry out high-quality research. This, in turn, helps them to attract and retain the world’s top talent, train the next generation of researchers and support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.
Newfoundland and Labrador