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Canada’s big science networks get $25M boost


Quebec City, QC – The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is providing a total of $25 million to support nine elite Canadian “big science” enterprises.

The funding comes through a special competition of the CFI’s Major Science Initiatives Fund, which supports national research facilities that conduct world-class research projects too large or complex to be funded by a single agency.

Université Laval, for example, will receive over $7.5 million to support the arctic research conducted aboard the CCGS Amundsen, the Canadian research icebreaker that plies Arctic waters to advance knowledge of the country’s most remote regions.

In Ontario, the University of Guelph’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) was awarded $2.15 million. BIO is the global headquarters for the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project, which involves more than 1,000 researchers in 25 countries. At BIO, the researchers work at discovering, identifying and cataloguing species worldwide using DNA barcoding technology.

First proposed by Guelph integrative biologist Paul Hebert, DNA barcoding allows researchers to identify animal and plant species using short, standardized regions of genetic material. The method is effective for all life stages and allows biologists to rapidly identify species from a snippet of tissue.

“My colleagues and I are very grateful for this support from CFI’s Major Science Initiatives program,” said Hebert. He serves as BIO’s director and iBOL scientific director, and holds a Canada Research Chair in molecular biodiversity.

A full list of the institutions and funding amounts is as follows:

  • McMaster University: The Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy. $1,473,020
  • Mount Sinai Hospital: Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics. $5,295,880
  • Queen’s University: NCIC Clinical Trials Group Central Operations and Statistics Office at Queen’s University. $3,831,564
  • Université Laval: Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen. $7,608,313
  • Université de Montréal: Plateforme de recherche en sciences humaines et sociales – ERUDIT.ORG. $1,403,800
  • Université du Québec – INRS: Advanced Laser Light Source. $1,494,546
  • University of Alberta: The Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility – A National Platform for Accessing Canada’s Oceans. $1,290,145
  • University of Guelph: Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. $2,150,000
  • University of Saskatchewan: SuperDARN Canada: The Canadian Component of the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network, A Global Space Weather Collaboration. $461,680