Government of Canada invests in the next generation of world-class scientists

News release

Investment will support 236 talented post-doctoral researchers and doctoral students across Canada

July 15, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Research trainees play a crucial role in scientific progress. They are helping to make the discoveries and innovations that will build a strong future for Canada: one that is healthier, more equitable, greener and more prosperous.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the recipients of 166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. These talented doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers are part of Canada’s next generation of research leaders, spanning the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. These awards represent a total investment of $39.6 million over three years from the Government of Canada.

Parliamentary Secretary Ehsassi made the announcement during a round table with six of the award recipients, who are conducting extraordinary research across Canada on a range of research areas:

2021 Banting post-doctoral researchers

  • Gillian Kolla, from the University of Victoria, is investigating the intersection of the opioid overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Chen Sun, from the Université de Montréal, is using neuroscience principles to explore unanswered questions about artificial intelligence.
  • Simplice Ayangma Bonoho, from Bishop’s University, will study Canada’s contribution to supporting the health development of francophone countries in Africa.

2021 Vanier scholars

  • Han Yan, from the University of Toronto, is researching how deep brain stimulation can help children with autism spectrum disorder who display self-injurious behaviours.
  • Meghan Martin, from Dalhousie University, is exploring the mechanisms underlying the structural development of the fetal mitral valve, using a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Gabrielle Doreen, from the University of Saskatchewan, is studying the principles underlying the land-based philosophy of Indigenous teachings.


“The great challenges our world is facing right now, like COVID-19 and a changing climate, have emphasized just how important science and research are in our society. Here in Canada, we have some of the world’s most highly accomplished scientists and researchers. The recipients of this year’s Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships could not be more deserving of these prestigious awards. They will bring critical new insights to their fields, help ensure that cutting-edge discoveries and innovations continue to propel Canada as a global leader, and contribute to a healthier, greener, more equitable and more prosperous future.”
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“To build Canada’s world-class research ecosystem, we must foster the development of Canada’s next generation of researchers. These talented individuals have bright futures ahead of them and will make discoveries that make life better for Canadians. Congratulations to this year’s Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships recipients! We are so excited to see what you will do next.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

“On behalf of the federal granting agencies, I wish to congratulate and extend best wishes to the recipients of these prestigious awards. We are proud to support these outstanding research trainees and look forward to following their progress in the years ahead.”
- Dr. Michael Strong, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Quick facts

  • The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The two programs are administered through the CIHR.

  • The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program supports some of the very best post-doctoral researchers, who will positively contribute to Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth.

  • The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program helps Canadian institutions attract and retain highly qualified doctoral students in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health research.

  • The Government of Canada is also investing in financial assistance for students. Through Budget 2021, the government is investing more than $4.1 billion to help make post-secondary education more affordable and provide direct support to students with the greatest need.

  • Since 2016, the Government has invested over $13 billion in science and research, including support for cutting-edge life sciences research and biotechnology, research into systemic racism and gender inequality, and national strategies on artificial intelligence, cleantech, quantum technologies and genomics.

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John Power
Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Thierry Bélair
Office of the Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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