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First call for proposals will boost study of Canada’s North


Ottawa, ON – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has launched a new research initiative aimed at helping teams of researchers carry out large-scale projects.

The initiative includes two elements: Discovery Frontiers, focused on discovery research, and Innovation Frontiers, focused on research partnerships with industry. All funded projects will include an international partnership component that taps into global expertise.

Innovation Frontiers initiatives will fund large-scale research projects focused on accelerating research and development. The focus of the initiative is on research projects that have the capacity to revolutionize existing fields. For instance, previous research of this scale includes quadrupling the life span of concrete structures by replacing steel reinforcement bars with composite materials and transforming mineral exploration with powerful sub-surface imaging tools. Successful applicants will receive a minimum of $1 million per year in funding for up to five years. Proposals for Innovation Frontiers grants can be submitted at any time.

The initial Discovery Frontiers Call for Proposals launched in late October will result in funding of up to $4 million over a five-year period to bolster research in Northern Earth Systems, a combination of physical, chemical, biological and social factors that affect the North and its inhabitants. Researchers with recognized expertise in their current fields will work collaboratively to tackle broad problems defined with the input of the northern community. These will include studying areas such as fresh water, sea level, permafrost, weather patterns and biodiversity, to find solutions to issues affecting the North.

“The goal of these initiatives is to bring teams of researchers together in a way that results in transformative research,” says Suzanne Fortier, NSERC’s president. “We have designed NSERC Frontiers initiatives with the flexibility to quickly launch broad-based, international collaborative projects that can benefit Canada in the short term while providing lasting solutions for the long term.”