Government of Canada investing in Canadian researchers to help them make world-class discoveries

News release

Investments in Simon Fraser University will help attract the best and the brightest talent

March 15, 2019 – Burnaby, British Columbia

Discoveries made in research labs across Canada are leading to cleaner, greener, healthier and more prosperous lives for all Canadians. Whether researchers are looking for effective cancer treatments or developing clean technologies, they need the right tools to turn their bold ideas into reality.

That’s why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, was at Simon Fraser University (SFU) today to highlight more than $39 million for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This investment will support 251 researchers leading 186 projects at 43 universities across Canada. JELF aims to help universities attract and retain top talent from around the globe by providing researchers with the highly specialized infrastructure they require to be leaders in their field.

As part of this funding, SFU is receiving $746,300 in support of three projects in areas such as disease and river dynamics. Dr. Ralph Pantophlet, for example, will use the funding to continue investigating antibody-virus interactions with the goal of developing new and better vaccines.

The Minister also highlighted Budget 2018 commitments for the CFI, which include $763 million over the next five years and $462 million per year starting in 2023. This investment provides the CFI with long-term, stable funding, one of the key recommendations from the expert panel that conducted the Fundamental Science Review.

These new investments will allow the CFI to continue to support researchers by investing in state-of-the-art labs and research equipment at Canada’s universities, colleges and research hospitals. Investing in research infrastructure creates the spaces to train the new generation of researchers and bring together researchers and entrepreneurs who can jump-start innovation.


Since 1997, the Canada Foundation for Innovation has been ensuring Canadian researchers have the tools they need to push the frontiers of knowledge in all disciplines. The stable, long-term funding we are celebrating today will help Canada continue to be an international destination for research and innovation.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

The Canada Foundation for Innovation lays the cornerstone for the future by providing equipment that ensures the success of researchers from the very start of their careers. The John R. Evans Leaders Fund creates the conditions necessary for the extraordinary talents in Canada’s universities and hospitals to excel. With ongoing, permanent funding, the CFI will be able to continue to support their ambitions.”
– Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation 

“On behalf of the university, I’d like to express my sincerest congratulations to the three SFU researchers receiving the John R. Evans Leaders Fund awards from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. These awards will ensure our researchers can continue with their cutting-edge research and assist with attracting and retaining leading experts in their fields. We are grateful for CFI’s investment that helps SFU expand its global impact by continuing to grow our capacity in research excellence and innovation.”
– Joy Johnson, Vice-President, Research and International, Simon Fraser University

“We look forward to utilizing this new technological platform to advance our vaccine research endeavours, particularly those focused on HIV-1, and continue to build capacity at SFU for research in infectious diseases and immunology.”
– Dr. Ralph Pantophlet, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU

Quick facts

  • The John R. Evans Leaders Fund helps exceptional researchers at universities across the country conduct cutting-edge research by giving them the tools and equipment they need to become leaders in their field.

  • The total funding of $39,125,771 includes $30,096,747 in capital funding for infrastructure and an additional $9,029,024 for incremental operating and maintenance costs awarded under the CFI’s Infrastructure Operating Fund.

  • Budget 2018 is making a historic investment of nearly $4 billion over five years in research and in the next generation of scientiststhe single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history.

  • Budget 2018 set aside $763 million over five years for the CFI and ongoing funding of up to $462 million per year starting in 2023. This permanent funding will put cutting-edge tools in the hands of our researchers and students to ensure they can continue to make discoveries and innovate.

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Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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