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$109M in funding for Canada Research Chairs


Calgary, AB – The federal government has announced nearly $109 million in funding for 135 newly awarded and renewed Canada Research Chairs. Of that total, 26 researchers have been recruited from abroad, including 11 Canadians returning to work in their home country. The research will be conducted at 41 Canadian postsecondary institutions.

The Canada Research Chairs Program was created with an annual budget of $300 million to establish up to 2,000 research professorships across the country and to position Canada as a world leader in post-secondary research. The program currently supports researchers, in more than 70 Canadian post-secondary institutions, who are conducting research in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities disciplines.

The announcement at the University of Calgary featured Dr. Sabine Gilch, Canada Research Chair in Prion Disease Research. The University of Calgary will receive $500,000 over five years to support Gilch’s work. She is a new Tier 2 chairholder. Her research explores the molecular and cellular biology of prion diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; as well as “chronic wasting disease” affecting animals such as white-tailed and mule deer, elk and moose.

“The scientific environment here at the University of Calgary is excellent,” she said. “Alberta is really interesting, because there is no other place in the world that has to deal with both BSE and chronic wasting disease. My basic research on the cell biology of prion infection will benefit Canadians by leading to the discovery of new drug targets for treating prion diseases, and for limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease.”

“For more than 10 years, the Canada Research Chairs Program has served to attract the highest calibre of researchers across disciplines to Canadian postsecondary institutions,” said Janet Walden, chief operating officer of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and member of the Canada Research Chairs Steering Committee. “The program is a magnet for expertise, talent and creativity. Through teaching and mentorship, the chairholders foster research excellence among the next generation of scholars.”

In addition, through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (formerly the Leaders Opportunity Fund), the Canada Foundation for innovation annouced $8.3 million in research infrastructure support for 43 Canada Research Chairholders.

“Since 2000, the CFI has provided Canada Research Chair holders with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities so they can explore the frontiers of knowledge,” says Dr. Gilles G. Patry, CFI’s president and CEO. “This research has led to new discoveries and innovations, and is helping Canadian businesses compete and create the jobs that we need today—and the jobs we will need tomorrow.”

A complete list of newly awarded and renewed chair holders and list of CFI recipients can be downloaded with this article.