The Honourable Ed Holder, PC, MP
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
University of Alberta
March 28, 2014
Check Against Delivery
Thank you, James, for that kind introduction.
A special thank you to Dr. Babiuk and the University of Alberta, our gracious hosts this morning, for providing me with my first opportunity as Minister of State for Science and Technology to celebrate our government's ongoing support for post-secondary research and training. It is indeed a great pleasure to be here.
I'd like to welcome Dr. Ted Hewitt, Executive Vice-President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and other distinguished guests.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's a real pleasure to be here with you today in Edmonton to make an important announcement about supporting Canadian research excellence.
And there is no place more fitting for this event than the University of Alberta. Indeed, this school is among Canada's top post-secondary institutions. The world-class research and training that takes place here fuels Canada's innovation engine.
As you know, U of A has made several notable research breakthroughs on a global scale, such as the production of medical isotopes in a cyclotron, a first-ever accomplishment in this field.
And I also understand that U of A students are working to launch Alberta's first cube satellite into space with the objective of observing space weather, which has been linked to disruptive events here on earth. This is an amazing example of the kind of cutting-edge innovation that goes on here. I would also note that the project is being crowd-funded—a great demonstration of the 21st-century leadership of this institution. What's more, I'm told this particular project is being led by past Canada Research Chair Dr. Ian Mann.
Since its beginning, the Canada Research Chairs Program has been one of our government's most successful in attracting and retaining the world's best researchers.
As a result, I'm proud to say that Canada has gone from brain drain to brain gain.
Of course, the benefits are manifold. Your research pushes the frontiers of knowledge while educating the next generation of highly skilled researchers. Applications of your research strengthen Canadian innovation and business competitiveness by efficiently moving ideas from the lab to the marketplace.
That's why I'm pleased today to announce that our government is providing a significant investment in this round of the Canada Research Chairs Program. This investment will support 102 new and renewed chairholders working in a variety of fields at 33 post-secondary institutions across the country.
The University of Alberta is leading the pack, receiving support for eight new and three renewed Canada Research Chairs, which builds on the nearly 100 chairholders U of A already plays home to. Congratulations!
We'll be hearing shortly from one of this year's renewed chairholders, Dr. Carlo Montemagno, whose pioneering work in intelligent nanosystems is really putting U of A on the map.
In his own words, Dr. Montemagno's work is "engineering real-world solutions for real-world problems."
Indeed, our government firmly believes that work like Dr. Montemagno's is an important part of the foundation of a modern economy.
Science drives the economy, improves the quality of life of Canadians, and creates jobs and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Canada Research Chairs Program is a key component of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment to Canadian science and technology.
As Economic Action Plan 2014 demonstrates, our government's investments are positioning Canadians to seize this moment:
- We launched the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, a legacy investment, to ensure Canada's post-secondary institutions remain world leading over the next decade.
- We provided the largest increase to the granting councils in a decade to ensure our researchers continue their ground-breaking research.
- And we committed to creating a social innovation fund that will partner community organizations with colleges to address our most burning social challenges.
What's more, we are working on a renewed science, technology and innovation strategy, a long-term plan to position Canada as a globally recognized leader in research and business innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to once again congratulate all of today's successful Canada Research Chairs, both here at U of A and across the country.
You are among the world's best researchers.
You make Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and the world a better place to live and work. I look forward to hearing about your successes.