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New research and scholarship programs unveiled by feds


Toronto, ON – The federal government has launched two new research and scholarship programs: the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Program and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program (Vanier CGS). Members of the selection boards for each program were also announced.

“Canada’s prosperity as a nation is increasingly based on excellence in innovation and technology and the highly skilled and creative individuals whose talents bring discovery to life,” said Jim Prentice, minister of industry, in making the announcement. “I am proud to announce the launch of two new government initiatives dedicated to global excellence in research and to strengthening Canada’s ties to the global supply of talent and ideas.”

The CERC program will award 20 chair holders and their research teams with up to $10 million over seven years to establish ambitious research programs at Canadian universities. When fully operational, the Vanier CGS program will support 500 Canadian and international doctoral students each year with three-year scholarships valued at up to $50,000 per annum. Both programs are a tri-agency initiative of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). The CERC program is administered by the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat, which is housed within SSHRC. The Vanier CGS program is administered by each granting agency and coordinated by the Canada Research Chairs Secretariat.

“The Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program will promote the development and application of leading-edge knowledge and position Canada as a magnet for the world’s top research leaders and doctoral students,” said Dr Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. “They will attract candidates of the highest calibre including leading academics in every field.”

Applications and nominations to the CERC program will be peer-reviewed. An arms-length selection board, comprised of world-renowned Canadian and international experts, will assess all applications and nominations. Board members also include Derek Burney, senior strategic advisor, Ogilvy Renault, who will serve as the chair, Robert Prichard, president and chief executive officer, Torstar Corporation who will serve as the vice chair.

The Vanier program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies and leadership skills. Vanier CGS nominees will be evaluated by agency-specific multidisciplinary peer review committees that will forward selected nominations to a blue-ribbon independent inter-agency selection board. The board will recommend Vanier CGS recipients, and will be chaired by Laurent Beaudoin, chairman of the board of Bombardier, Martha Piper, chair of the board of trustees of the University of Alberta-based National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) will serve as the vice chair and Marc Lortie, ambassador of Canada to France will serve as one of the members of the board. The selection board will also comprise other Canadian and international experts.