Empowering thousands of Canadian researchers and students to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation

News Release

More than $26M in funding for scientists and engineers at the University of Alberta means more opportunities for discovery, skills training and job creation.

September 8, 2017 – Edmonton, Alberta – Government of Canada

When Canada’s scientists and engineers have the opportunity to succeed, they’re able to make the discoveries that lead to ground-breaking innovations, sustainable economic growth and a stronger middle class. The hard work of these researchers also helps new generations of students master the advanced skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

That is why the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, today announced an investment of more than $26 million to support fundamental research at the University of Alberta through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) 2017 competition for the Discovery Grants program as well as scholarships and fellowships. The funding announced at the University of Alberta is part of the overall $515 million announced by Minister Duncan earlier today that will go to support the work of more than 4,000 researchers at 71 institutions across Canada. This is NSERC’s largest annual investment, which assists researchers by offering financial support though scholarships, fellowships, research supplements and equipment grants.  

The funds will support scientists, engineers and graduate students working in a variety of disciplines such as astronomy, chemistry, biology, mathematics, medicine and physics. Those who receive NSERC’s support through the Discovery program will be empowered to make new breakthroughs while providing the next generation of students the skills they need for their future careers.

This funding also reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthen science by supporting the very people – our country’s remarkable scientists and engineers – who are working to build a better tomorrow.


“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in fundamental research and engineering that will improve and enrich our country’s knowledge economy. We believe in encouraging scientists’ cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to greater social and economic growth. I am particularly proud of the support offered to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, who, thanks to today’s investment, will be exposed to advanced training experiences that will prepare them for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow.”

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“This commitment from our government will inspire a brand new generation of scientists and researchers. By investing in programs such as such as Discovery Grants, we are investing in the knowledge that will help us face new challenges and take advantage of novel opportunities that will improve the lives of all people.

- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“At the core of every research project, every laboratory and every discovery, there are people. NSERC empowers these people to build an innovative, prosperous and inclusive society. NSERC Discovery Grants, scholarships and fellowships provide thousands of top researchers, students and fellows with the foundation they need to concretize their research ambitions and explore the unknown.”

- Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"This is an exciting day for fundamental research across Canada and for the University of Alberta. NSERC Discovery Grants, scholarships and fellowships provide long-term resources that allow researchers to tackle global challenges and innovate for the public good by taking risks and exploring novel pathways of inquiry. On behalf of the University of Alberta, I thank NSERC and the Government of Canada for this critical investment and warmly congratulate all recipients"

- Dr. David H. Turpin, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta

"The research conducted in my lab explores how fungi growing in symbiosis with the roots of trees influences the ecosystem processes underpinning the health, productivity and resilience of boreal forests. My research bridges historically disparate fields in forest ecology and emphasizes interactions between forest ecosystem components, which is critical if we are to preserve our forests for future generations. Funding through the NSERC Discovery Grant allows me to continue this research and I thank the Government of Canada for this historic investment."

- Dr. Justine Karst, Assistant Professor, Department of Renewable Resources, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta, and NSERC Industrial Chair in Terrestrial Restoration Ecology

Quick Facts

  • An investment of $515 million will be made in NSERC Discovery Grants, graduate and postgraduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships.

  • $368 million in support will go to NSERC’s flagship Discovery Grants Program to foster research excellence in the full range of science and engineering disciplines, from biology and chemistry to advanced materials engineering and astrophysics. These grants, which are subject to rigorous quality assurance, support ongoing research programs with long-term goals and build the foundation for innovation.

  • An investment of close to $86 million in Scholarship and Fellowships will launch a new generation of scientists and engineers who are at the early stages of their research careers, with support at levels of study from graduate to postdoctoral.

  • Researchers will share an additional $36 million in Research Tools and Instruments Grants to purchase new research equipment needed for world-leading discovery, innovation and training.

  • NSERC is also providing $15 million for resources to selected researchers to accelerate progress and maximize the impact of their promising research proposals through the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program. At small universities, 54 researchers will receive Discovery Development Grants, totaling $1,080,000, to support their research.

Associated Links


Follow Minister Duncan
Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin

Follow NSERC on social media:
Twitter: @nserc_crsng
Facebook: /nserccanada


NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries – valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.

Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science
Tel.: 613-404-2733

Michael Bhardwaj
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Science
Tel.: 343-291-3966

Lucy Lai
Media Relations Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-2341

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Tel.: 343-291-1777

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