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$325M in research funding announced for science and engineering professors


Ottawa, ON June 2, 2003 The federal government has announced 2,752 new NSERC grants worth $325 million over five years to university professors in 67 Canadian postsecondary organizations.

The announcement was made today by Dr Rey Pagtakhan, minister of veterans affairs and secretary of state (science, research and development), on behalf of Allan Rock, minister of industry and minister responsible for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“NSERC discovery grants are awarded to both new and established researchers,” says Dr Pagtakhan. “The NSERC awards allow university professors to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers who will be essential to Canada’s success in the knowledge-based global economy.”

Each year thousands of professors from universities across Canada apply to NSERC for discovery and related grants. These funds provide the primary support for research in dozens of fields such as chemistry, life and material sciences, mathematics, and civil engineering. The complete list of new awards can be viewed at http://www.nserc.gc.ca/programs/result/2003/rg/index_e.htm. The professors dedicate a large portion of their grant funds to training Canadian undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

“Canadian universities are appointing hundreds of new professors to replace those who are retiring. It is also very good for Canada that these new people are not only eager but also well qualified to do research,” said NSERC President Tom Brzustowski. “NSERC Discovery Grants are very important because they help them to meet the costs of their research programs.”

NSERC says it received a $62.5 million increase for fiscal year 2003-04 in this year’s federal budget. This increase enabled the council to inject $12.5 million into the Discovery Grants budget for new researchers. It said the number of first-time applicants was at its highest this year at 894, which created enormous pressure on the selection committees’ budgets.

The budget increase also permitted the council to allocate $17.6 million for its research tools and instruments (Category 1) competition, which resulted in an 18.5% funding rate.