Students and researchers at the University of Alberta to share historic Budget 2018 funding for science

News release

Canada’s research community to benefit from largest investment in discovery science in Canadian history

October 11, 2018 – Edmonton, Alberta

Science is about discovery. When researchers are given the tools to push the boundaries of knowledge, great things happen. These discoveries lead to the innovations that will grow the economy and help ensure Canada has a workforce capable of taking on the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced an investment of more than $39 million to support fundamental research at the University of Alberta. The funding is part of the more than $558 million announced earlier this week by Minister Duncan for institutions across Canada and supports the Government of Canada’s plan to attract global talent and promote diversity. The national funding will provide nearly 4,300 researchers and students with the means to pursue world-leading discovery work.

This $558-million investment in research—the largest one this year from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)—includes $70 million in new funding announced in Budget 2018. With this investment, the Government of Canada is delivering on Budget 2018’s historic commitment to science by giving more support to researchers and students.

This year, as part of the $558-million investment, the NSERC Discovery Grants program is providing more than $5 million in additional supplements for early-career researchers, ensuring the next generation of scientists, engineers and researchers will have the tools they need to flourish. At the University of Alberta, this includes funding for the work of Dr. Stephanie Green, whose research team is developing science-based tools for the conservation of marine ecosystems, and for Dr. Matthew Brown, who is part of a team researching the use of artificial intelligence in diagnostic tools for mental illness.


“This investment at the University of Alberta demonstrates why we made science a priority in Budget 2018. The support we give researchers and students provides the solid foundation they need to explore new avenues of discovery that will benefit all of us.”

– The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources 

“Today is a good day for Canadian science and the hard-working scientists at the University of Alberta and across the country. The investments we are making will help scientists advance their research and generate the ideas and discoveries that will drive Canada’s innovation-based businesses and create tomorrow’s good middle-class jobs.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Canada supports science and our talented researchers. Today, we are delivering on our historic investment in research and in the next generation of scientists. The remarkable researchers and students we are celebrating are working to make the world a better place and to secure a brighter future for all Canadians.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport 

“The funding commitment outlined in Budget 2018 will provide a very significant increase to the Discovery Program to support science and engineering researchers. Additionally, this investment will contribute critical supplementary funding to launch early career researchers and to support equity, diversity and inclusion.”

– Dr. Pierre Charest, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada 

“Innovation stems from curious people asking challenging questions—questions like, ‘Can artificial intelligence help us treat mental illness?’ Researchers at the University of Alberta are investigating these and other critical questions, and the answers they discover hold enormous social and economic potential for Canadians. I want to thank the federal government for supporting and enabling fundamental research at U of A and at institutions across the country.”

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

Quick facts

  • The $558 million research investment announced by Minister Duncan on October 9 includes $70 million in new funding from Budget 2018. The grants go toward NSERC discovery programs, graduate and postgraduate scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships, and research tools and instruments.

  • Among this year’s Discovery Grants recipients is the University of Waterloo’s Dr. Donna Strickland, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, who is receiving support for her work on using lasers to better understand matter at the molecular level.

  • The $558-million investment also includes $5.4 million in funding to help more than 400 early-career researchers in the first year of their Discovery Grants launch their careers.

  • Investments in science are essential to innovation and to the economic strength of a country.

Associated links


Follow @CDNScience on social media for science-related news: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Follow NSERC on Twitter: @NSERC_CRSNG

Nyree St-Denis
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada


NSERC invests over $1.2 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 supported by NSERC help inform research and development and solve scale-up challenges.

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.

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