Media Releases

Research Excellence Fund will help U of T compete globally

December 4, 2014

TORONTO, ON — The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and oth­er lead­ing Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ties will be bet­ter equipped to com­pete glob­al­ly, thanks to the new­ly-launched $1.5 bil­lion Cana­da First Research Excel­lence Fund (CFREF), says Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Pres­i­dent Mer­ic Gertler.

Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harp­er unveiled details of the fund Decem­ber 4; it will ini­tial­ly offer $50 mil­lion for Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ty research in 2015, grow­ing to $200 mil­lion annu­al­ly.

“The Cana­da First Research Excel­lence Fund will enable Canada’s lead­ing insti­tu­tions of advanced research to com­pete, and win, on the glob­al stage,” Gertler said, as he thanked the prime min­is­ter. “Build­ing this capac­i­ty is cru­cial in fos­ter­ing the cul­ture of inno­va­tion we need, to cre­ate good jobs and long-term pros­per­i­ty. Today’s research excel­lence leads to tomorrow’s dis­cov­er­ies, from which new prod­ucts and ser­vices, new jobs, and even entire­ly new indus­tries will emerge.”

Gertler spoke on behalf of Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ty lead­ers at the cer­e­mo­ny. He sin­gled out his imme­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor as U of T pres­i­dent, David Nay­lor, and oth­er uni­ver­si­ty lead­ers for the “cre­ativ­i­ty and ded­i­ca­tion” that was cru­cial in bring­ing about the CFREF.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has a long tra­di­tion of research, and counts 10 Nobel Prizes among U of T fac­ul­ty and alum­ni. Today research at U of T spans three cam­pus­es and nine part­ner hos­pi­tals. In 2012–13 U of T was award­ed $1.3 bil­lion in research funds, and U of T fac­ul­ty pub­lished more than their col­leagues at any uni­ver­si­ty in the world, oth­er than Har­vard. U of T also boasts the high­est num­ber of Cana­da Research Chairs in the coun­try, as well as the great­est share of Tri-Coun­cil and CFI fund­ing.

CFREF fund­ing will help U of T researchers to reach even greater heights, Gertler said. “Now the gov­ern­ment has tak­en a big, bold step for­ward. The Cana­da First Research Excel­lence Fund is not only a major break­through in pub­lic pol­i­cy – it rep­re­sents a new hori­zon for break­throughs in cut­ting-edge research, lead­ing to a bet­ter qual­i­ty of life for all Cana­di­ans, for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

Harp­er spoke of how Cana­di­an researchers have been “expand­ing the bound­aries of knowl­edge for gen­er­a­tions,” includ­ing among his exam­ples break­throughs from U of T such as the dis­cov­ery of insulin, the devel­op­ment of the arti­fi­cial pace­mak­er, the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of stem cells and the devel­op­ment of IMAX movies.

“Canada’s abil­i­ty to attract top tal­ent and research part­ner­ships requires its world-class insti­tu­tions to have the abil­i­ty to seize emerg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties on the glob­al stage by cap­i­tal­iz­ing on their proven strengths,” said Harp­er. “The Fund will enable research that cre­ates jobs, oppor­tu­ni­ties and the pros­per­i­ty of Cana­di­ans for years to come from coast to coast to coast.”

The fund will be admin­is­tered by the Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties Research Coun­cil of Cana­da in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nat­ur­al Sci­ences and Engi­neer­ing Research Coun­cil of Cana­da and the Cana­di­an Insti­tutes of Health Research. The inau­gur­al com­pe­ti­tion will see Cana­di­an post-sec­ondary insti­tu­tions vying for research fund­ing over sev­en years, accord­ing to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Grants will be award­ed on a peer-reviewed basis, fac­tor­ing in sci­en­tif­ic mer­it, strate­gic rel­e­vance to Cana­da (includ­ing the poten­tial for the research area to cre­ate long-term eco­nom­ic advan­tages for Cana­da), and qual­i­ty of imple­men­ta­tion plan.

See the full text and video of Pres­i­dent Gertler’s remarks.


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