Government of Canada recruits world’s best minds to push the boundaries of research and contribute to a better quality of life for all Canadians

News release

Canada Excellence Research Chairs help position Canada as a leader in science and innovation

April 17, 2019—Toronto, ON—Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat

To build a country that is stronger, more innovative and better connected, we must invest in top research talent. Canada is increasingly becoming the destination of choice for some of the world’s leading researchers and scholars. They build on Canada’s talent and bring new ideas that help create modern industries and jobs.

That’s why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, today announced the Government of Canada will invest over $80 million to help establish eight new Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) and further Canada’s reputation as a global centre of excellence in science, research and innovation.

New requirements for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs were introduced by Minister Duncan to address a lack of equity, diversity and inclusion in the pool of research talent. As a result, about 60 per cent of these new chairs are being awarded to women who are global leaders in their fields.

These efforts are part of the wholesale culture change we are seeing now in Canadian science and research, which includes a transformation of the research landscape so our labs and classrooms look more like the Canada we see today.

Minister Duncan welcomed new Canada Excellence Research Chairs from as far away as Denmark, Italy, Germany and Finland. These research leaders specialize in areas such as human-centred robotics, precision design of cancer drugs, and Arctic ice and climate change.


“Our government has a vision of an international research community in which all voices are heard and valued equally. Because we are all better off when the people at the forefront of global research are truly representative of the world that we see today. This talented and diverse group of research leaders is an excellent example of how when we bring together new points of view, we make science and research stronger.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“For over a decade, the CERC program has supported world-leading researchers whose work at Canadian institutions not only contributes to Canada’s role as a global leader in innovation, but also whose mentorship helps train the new generation of Canadian researchers across all disciplines.”

—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Chair, CERC Steering Committee

“I am very pleased to see so many exciting and promising fields of research represented in the natural sciences and engineering. The diversity of the nominees in terms of gender and national background demonstrates that Canada is a magnet to the world’s top researchers, and is further evidence that our universities are leaders in seeking out the best, with a commitment to research excellence.”

—Marc Fortin, Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC

“Congratulations to the world-leading researchers awarded support today. The CERC program has led to transformative advances in all areas of science over the last 10 years, and we are proud to continue supporting the work of our very best scientific minds. Their research in priority areas, such as climate change, human-centred robotics and cancer research will push the boundaries of scientific knowledge to the benefit of all Canadians.”

—Michael Strong, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“From high-tech laboratories and virtual networks to space for community engagement, the Canada Foundation for Innovation provides our leading researchers the foundation on which to build success and a bright future for our country.”

—Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Quick facts

  • The Canada Excellence Research Chairs program supports Canadian universities in their efforts to build on Canada's growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation.

  • Chairs are created for seven years and are not renewable. Each Chair is awarded $10 million over seven years.

  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation will provide additional investments of $2 million to support Canada Excellence Research Chairs among those announced today.

  • The Canada Excellence Research Chairs program is a tri-agency initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Associated links


For Canadian Science news, follow @CDNScience on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Follow Canada’s three granting agencies on Twitter: @SSHRC_CRSH, @NSERC_CRSNG, @CIHR_IRSC

Follow the Canada Foundation for Innovation on Twitter: @InnovationCA

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

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada

Andrea Matyas
Director of Communications
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

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