Government of Canada invests in high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research to support world-leading innovation
Investments will support close to 200 game-changing research projects and cement Canada’s position as a leader in science and innovation
April 25, 2023—Canada Research Coordinating Committee
When Canadian researchers from different disciplines are encouraged to collaborate, new ideas and ways to overcome Canada’s present and future challenges can be unearthed. This can lead to the health and the social and economic well-being of our society. That is why the Government of Canada is there to support research teams pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced more than $200 million in support for Canadian-led interdisciplinary, international, high-risk and high-reward research through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). Through three different NFRF competitions, the government will support 195 projects.
First, the NFRF 2022 Transformation competition is funding six large-scale, interdisciplinary research projects that address major challenges. The topics include overcoming cardiovascular diseases; building an innovative open science platform for neuroscience drug discovery; developing non-invasive cancer therapy; improving patient care for the treatment of neurological disorders; creating a renewable energy seasonal storage solution; and ensuring artificial intelligence is inclusive of Indigenous knowledge systems.
Second, the NFRF 2022 Special Call on research for postpandemic recovery is supporting 61 research teams that will mobilize efforts in support of a more equitable, sustainable and resilient postpandemic reality by addressing priorities identified in the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery. Science is a global endeavour, and this call was part of a international research effort to address global socio-economic inequities that have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Third, the NFRF 2022 Exploration competition is funding 128 research projects that are bringing disciplines together in novel ways to form bold, innovative perspectives. Projects will focus on different topics, such as training artificial intelligence models to detect medical bias experienced by marginalized communities; developing a self-powered nanocomposite filter for point-of-use drinking water treatment in First Nations communities; and using aeromicrobiology as an innovative approach to greenhouse gas mitigation.
Today’s investment in 1,054 researchers, including 338 early career researchers, through the NFRF program highlights the government’s commitment to keeping interdisciplinary research at the forefront to build a global brand that will attract talent and capital for years to come.
“Science and research are essential to solving the greatest challenges facing humanity today and in the future. That’s why our government is committed to continuing support for researchers who are pushing the boundaries of innovation, by investing in transformative, high-risk / high-reward research that will address issues that impact Canadians in all sectors of our economy and society. With our highly educated workforce and world-class research institutions, we are well positioned to meet the needs of the next century and remain a global leader in science and innovation. ”
—The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Improving health outcomes in Canada requires innovation, which is why supporting researchers who are taking risks for the betterment of patient outcomes is so important. Through this investment, we are helping researchers create a more equitable, sustainable and resilient postpandemic reality as they set out to find better treatments, new drugs, and improve patient care.”
—The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health
“Through the New Frontiers in Research Fund competitions, we are fostering world-leading discovery and innovation and encouraging Canadian researchers to take risks, meet new challenges, push disciplinary boundaries and lead transformative projects across the country and abroad.”
—Ted Hewitt, Chair, Canada Research Coordinating Committee; and President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Since 2016, the government has provided more than $16 billion in new resources to support science and research.
This is the second competition of the NFRF Transformation stream, which runs every two years. Teams were awarded grants of up to $24,000,000 over six years.
Through the NFRF 2022 Special Call on research for postpandemic recovery, Canadian researchers are partnering with Canada’s International Development Research Centre and international organizations, such as the German Research Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) from Brazil, and the Fund for Science, Technology and Innovation (FONSTI) from Côte d’Ivoire.
The NFRF Exploration stream supports projects that bring disciplines together to reach beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches by research teams. Interdisciplinary research is often risky, but worthwhile, given the potential for significant, groundbreaking impact.
The NFRF program is under the strategic direction of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee and managed by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), on behalf of Canada’s three federal research funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and SSHRC.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
New Frontiers in Research Fund
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