Monday, 27 June 2011

Government of Canada Invests in University Research






ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - 06/17/11) - Over 3,800 scientists, engineers and students at universities across Canada will receive support for research programs and advanced training, thanks to a new investment by the Government of Canada. The announcement was made by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology); Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines; and Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), while speaking at Brock University.

"Our government is investing in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow's breakthroughs in order to keep Canada's economy growing and create new jobs," said Minister Goodyear. "This research will improve the quality of life of Canadians, while helping universities develop, attract and retain leading scientists and engineers."

The successful applicants, from universities across the country, will receive over $411 million in grants and scholarships over terms ranging from one to five years. These awards comprise the 2011 competition results for NSERC's Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships programs.

Among the grantees, Brock University psychology professor Catherine Mondloch is receiving a Discovery Grant and a Discovery Accelerator Supplement for her research on how children recognize faces. The result of her work is being used by researchers around the world to investigate cases of children with autism or infantile brain lesions.

"These programs are key tools for unleashing the creative power of our most innovative students and researchers," said Dr. Fortier. "The Discovery Grants Program has an outstanding international reputation because it has a very broad scope and offers researchers a lot of flexibility. Our scholarships and fellowships programs play a key role in attracting and retaining the best brains in Canada."

The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing programs of research in every scientific and engineering discipline. Of the 2,003 recipients, 123 have been identified to receive a Discovery Accelerator Supplement in addition to their Discovery Grant. Valued at $120,000 over three years, the awards are given to top-ranked researchers judged by their peers to show strong potential for becoming international leaders.

NSERC's scholarships and fellowships awards announced today-comprised of the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships-offer support at the master's, doctoral and postdoctoral levels. A total of 1,836 new awards have been offered this year.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. It promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

For the lists of recipients and descriptions of projects, see www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Research Grants and Scholarships

2011 Competition Results




The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 2011 research grants and scholarships competitions resulted in the following awards being offered.

The terms of the awards vary from one to five years.

Discovery Grants Program

The Discovery Grants (DG) Program is NSERC's largest program and a key element of Canada's support for excellence in science and engineering research and training at Canadian universities. The program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility to pursue the most promising research directions as they arise, encouraging creative and cutting-edge approaches as well as international collaborations.

The objectives of the DG Program are:



Discovery Grants support ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals), rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. Researchers are free to structure their program in the most appropriate way for their research area. The grants are awarded for one to five years, although most terms are five years.

As part of NSERC's commitment to excellence, the agency introduced enhancements to the peer review system in 2009 and 2010. The changes include a new two-step process for reviewing grant applications that offers a more objective and transparent way to evaluate excellence. These enhancements have created a more dynamic and competitive funding system, with more opportunity for researchers with superior accomplishments and contributions to receive substantial increases. The structure of the review committees was also improved, incorporating more flexibility to bring together different combinations of members to provide an optimum mix of expertise when evaluating research proposals that increasingly transcend the traditional boundaries between disciplines.

Discovery Accelerator Supplements

The Discovery Accelerator Supplements (DAS) Program provides substantial and timely resources to a small group of researchers who have a well-established research program and who show strong potential to become international leaders in their respective area(s) of research. In particular, for the purposes of the DAS Program, a superior research program is one that is highly rated in terms of originality and innovation. Applicants nominated for a DAS will include those whose research proposals suggest and explore novel or potentially transformative concepts and lines of inquiry, and are likely to have impact by contributing to groundbreaking advances in the area. The timeliness of DAS support represents the potential for the researcher at this time to capitalize on an opportunity-such as a recent research breakthrough, a paradigm shift or a new strategy to tackle a scientific problem or research question. Each award is valued at $120,000 over three years ($40,000 annually) and provides recipients with additional resources to compete with the best in the world.

The Three Scholarships Programs

Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) provide financial support to high-calibre scholars who are engaged in master's or doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering. A CGS is offered to the top-ranked applicants at each level (master's and doctoral) and the next tier of meritorious applicants is offered an NSERC PGS. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their studies and seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields. Overall support is limited to four years-a maximum of one year at the master's level and up to three years at the doctoral level.

The Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) Program provides support to a core of the most promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers. The fellowships are also intended to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading-edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government and universities.


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