Launch of the New Frontiers in Research Fund

Speech

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, PC, MP
Minister of Science and Sport

Ottawa, Ontario
December 6, 2018

Check Against Delivery

Good morning and welcome, everyone.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that today is the anniversary of the massacre at the École Polytechnique in Montréal in 1989.

Today we remember the 14 young women tragically killed, we remember the families and we commit to ending gender-based violence.

I would now ask for a moment of silence to remember those we lost. [Silence]

Thank you.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.

I’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge Dr. Ted Hewitt, Chair of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee, and Michael Tremblay, CEO of Invest Ottawa. Thank you for being here.

And a special welcome to Carleton University researcher and associate professor Audrey Girouard. Her research in the area of next-generation technologies illustrates how important it is, in this day and age, to work across disciplines to discover, create and innovate. Thank you for being here today, Dr. Girouard.

Following Budget 2018, I asked Dr. Hewitt to lead a comprehensive national consultation to hear from the research community about how to make our Budget 2018 commitment meet their needs.

I’d like to thank the Canada Research Coordinating Committee for leading these efforts.

I know that many in this room contributed to this process.

And, as always, I want to offer a big thanks to our world-class research community.

Science matters. Research matters. And what you do matters.

That’s why, in Budget 2018, we made the largest investment in research in Canadian history: $4 billion, which included $1.7 billion for fundamental research.

We understand the nature of research is changing.

It is increasingly multidisciplinary. It crosses borders. It’s fast-paced.

And as research changes, we must change with it.

Budget 2018 set aside $275 million for the next five years, and $65 million per year thereafter, to create a new research fund.

We are calling it the New Frontiers in Research Fund.

This fund represents a fundamental shift in how we invest in research. It brings together Canada’s funding agencies with an ambitious mandate and a new jointly administered fund.

The new fund will support the kind of research that will accelerate the pace of discovery and make a difference to our health, environment, communities and economy.

The New Frontiers in Research Fund will draw on the rich experience of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program over the last 30 years.

The budget of the NCE program will gradually transition to and double this new fund over the next few years.

The government recognizes that NCEs have made significant contributions to the research and innovation landscape.

As reflected in our historic investments in research, the Government of Canada remains committed to researchers and collaborative teams of researchers.

The New Frontiers in Research Fund has three streams:

  • The Transformation stream, which will provide large-scale support to interdisciplinary and transformative research—and we mean transformative!

  • The International stream, which will enhance research opportunities with global partners.

  • The Exploration stream, which we are launching today. This stream provides extra support to help early-career researchers build on their innovative ideas and think big.

We’re moving to a more modern funding approach, which researchers have been asking for.

This commitment was part of our unprecedented $4-billion investment in research, which includes a 25% increase to the granting councils, the lifeblood of the research ecosystem. This means significant new funding for Canadian researchers.

It’s not often that anyone gets a 25% financial increase, and I’m proud we made that happen.

Today, with this announcement, we make good on the commitment we made in Budget 2018 and enter a new era of Canadian research—one that is supporting the high-risk, high-reward research that will prepare us for the future.

I hope that you too are thrilled by the possibilities for new discovery through this transformative approach to funding research.

We are focusing on where we can make the most difference: the researchers themselves.

This is a big day and one that creates new possibilities for research and discovery in Canada. I hope you are all as excited about it as I am.

I can’t wait to see what you do next.

Thank you.

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