Senior leadership at Western University is celebrating today’s announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder, which outlined how the country’s top researchers will compete for money available through the federal government’s newly established Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).
Faced with mounting competition for the world’s brightest minds from universities and research organizations from around the globe, the new $1.5-billion CFREF will provide Canadian post-secondary institutions with a significant infusion of new funding to drive innovation and discovery.
“We appreciate how the federal government engaged and listened to post-secondary leaders in the creation of this new fund. And I would like to give special thanks to Prime Minister Harper and Minister Holder for their leadership,” says Western University President & Vice-Chancellor Amit Chakma. “The competitive, peer-reviewed framework that’s been announced today is exactly what our sector needs to promote the kind of excellence Canada needs to compete on the world stage.
“We are also pleased to see how this fund will support a wide range of research – in areas important to Canadians, including the environment, agriculture, health and life sciences, natural resources and energy, information and communications technologies, and advanced manufacturing – and to see that decisions on the best initiatives to support will be based on a measure of excellence determined by expert panels composed of academic, industry and business leaders.”
The inaugural CFREF call for proposals will see $350 million in awards allocated over the next seven years, with applications for this first competition due in March 2015. A second competition will be launched by 2016 for an additional $900 million, and a third competition slated to begin in seven years for a final pool of $250 million. Grants will be awarded on the basis of scientific merit, strategic relevance to Canada (including the potential for the research area to create long-term economic advantages for Canada), and quality of implementation plan.
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