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$1.5B research fund launches inaugural competition


Ottawa, ON – The federal government has officially launched the inaugural competition of the new Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).

Announced as part of the government’s budget this year, the fund will provide $1.5 billion over 10 years to enable Canadian post-secondary institutions to excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada. It is available to all post-secondary institutions on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis.

The fund is governed by a steering committee comprised of the presidents of the three granting agencies – the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – and the deputy ministers of Health and Industry Canada. SSHRC administers CFREF on behalf of all three granting agencies.

The inaugural competition will see a total of up to $350 million available for awards over seven years. Applications are due in March 2015. The government says a second competition will be launched by 2016 at the latest. Grants will be awarded on the basis of scientific merit, strategic relevance to Canada (including the potential for the research area to create long-term economic advantages for Canada), and quality of implementation plan.

In addition, the proposals must be in the government’s stated priority research areas, which are: environment and agriculture; health and life sciences; natural resources and energy; information and communications technologies; and advanced manufacturing. 

More details are available on the CFREF website.