Lab Canada

Basic research gets boost with $413M in Discovery Grant awards

Ottawa, ON – Canada’s federal government is committed to supporting basic research, says Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). He made the comment today at the awarding of $413 million in Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funding to 3,800 researchers and scientists across Canada over the next five years under its Discovery Grants Program.

The total funding awarded is up by $10 million over last year.

Of that total, $15 million is going to 125 researchers under the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program, which provides recipients with extra resources that they can use to expand their research groups or to purchase specialized equipment. Each researcher receives $120,000 over three years. In addition, $70 million supports NSERC’s Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships programs as well as its share of the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program.

Discovery Grants support long-term basic research programs, and are designed to give researchers the flexibility to pursue promising avenues of research.

In making the announcement, Goodyear asserted that this and continued funding of other basic research programs such as the Vanier Graduate Scholarships shows the federal government is still committed to supporting basic research. But, he added, “a high-performing innovation ecosystem goes beyond basic research. It is a continuum that includes the full spectrum of activity from fundamental basic research to innovation and the commercialization of discoveries.

He added that the government wants to drive basic research “off the shelf” and into commercial use – a process behind changes announced at the National Research Council (NRC) last week.