Canada: Supporting research coast-to-coast Innovation, Science & Economic Development

canada ISED, economic development
© Cherylramalho

Canada (ISED) works in all areas of the economy and in all parts of the country to improve conditions for investment, enhance innovation performance, increase Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace

ISED is the Federal Institution that leads the Innovation, Science & Economic Development portfolio, which encompasses 18 federal departments and agencies including the Canadian Space Agency, the National Research Council Canada and Destination Canada. Together, these organisations work to further the government’s goal of building a knowledge-based economy in all regions of Canada and advance the jobs and growth agenda.

To this end, ISED works in partnership with members of the Innovation, Scienced & Economic Development Portfolio to leverage resources in a number of areas:

  • Innovation through science and technology: Helping firms and not-for-profit institutions more rapidly turn ideas into new products and services.
  • Trade and investment: Encouraging more firms in more sectors to export to more markets and helping Canadian firms attract a larger share of foreign direct investment.
  • Growth of small and medium-sized enterprises: Providing access to capital, information and services.
  • Economic growth of Canadian communities: Fostering new approaches to community economic development based on community strengths and information infrastructures.

In January, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced a major investment of over $550 million to support more than 5,500 researchers from coast to coast.

The programme is part of the government’s ongoing effort to support Canada’s science and research sector.

Canada (ISED) includes funding for:

  • The New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Transformation stream, awarding grants totalling $144 million over six years to seven Canadian-led research teams for large-scale, interdisciplinary research projects with the potential to realise lasting change. The New Frontiers in Research Fund has three streams – Transformation, Exploration and International – and the flexibility to launch special calls. The Transformation grants are unique in Canada, supporting large-scale, interdisciplinary research projects focused on addressing major challenges, with potentially far-reaching impacts in terms of scientific breakthroughs and applied economic, environmental or health outcomes.
  • The Canada Research Chairs programme, which invests around $295 million a year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds in all fields of research in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. There are currently 1,981 active Canada Research Chairs.
  • The granting agencies’ scholarships and fellowships programmes, which will provide funding through an investment of more than $260 million for more than 5,300 promising graduate students and emerging researchers from across Canada whose research spans many disciplines.

Institutions that are receiving funding include:

  • The University of Alberta, which is receiving $24 million for a project, led by Dr Brenda Parlee, that aims to empower Indigenous peoples and engage Indigenous youth to apply their knowledge to help Canada and the world understand the impact of trends in biodiversity.
  • Queen’s University, which is receiving $24 million for a project, led by Dr Cathleen Crudden, seeking to develop a new approach to the protection of metal surfaces by forming carbon-to-metal coatings with unprecedented strength and resistance to oxidation.
  • Dr Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, from McGill University, is receiving $600,000 to address environmental sustainability by replacing plastics, textiles and electronics with biomaterials designed to meet evolving industrial and societal needs.
  • Chloe Crosschild from the University of British Columbia is receiving $105,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research 2021 scholarships and fellowships for her work on enhancing relations between Indigenous women and registered nurses and journeying toward transformative reconciliation to foster maternal health equity.

The research aims to spur major advances in all scientific fields, from revolutionising organ transplants and merging biology with engineering to solve sustainability challenges to fostering the revitalisation of Indigenous language.1

Launching the programme, Francois-Philippe Champagne said: “Our government has taken action to establish the role of science and scientists, and over the past two years, all Canadians have seen the true impacts of science and research in our lives. Such is the value of Canadian institutions and researchers who think outside the box to tackle major challenges.

“These programmes are a catalyst for generating new breakthroughs and discoveries that will improve people’s lives, nourish our innovation ecosystems and shape Canada’s prosperity for years to come. Congratulations to all recipients!”2


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