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Canada announces “new funding architecture” for research

With a budget of CAD 6 billion (EUR 4.3 billion), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced a “new funding architecture” on 25 October, designed to “support cutting-edge research infrastructure” in the country. CFI’s new approach will channel funding through two new and two existing programmes, all of which is designed to build on the foundation’s 13-year history of working to build capacity within the Canadian higher education and research communities to carry out “world-class research and technology development”.

Roughly two-thirds of the CAD 6 billion has been earmarked for existing programmes; specifically, the Leading Edge Fund and the New Initiatives Fund (receiving CAD 200.5 million altogether, or EUR 145 million), and the Leaders Opportunity Fund (with a budget of CAD 182 million, or EUR 132 million). The two new CFI programmes are constituted by the Major Science Initiatives (MSI) and a new fund specifically targeted at Canadian colleges. MSI will receive CAD 185 million (EUR 134 million). This money will provide a pool of more stable and predictable funding for the operational costs associated with a select number of large-scale research facilities. These facilities provide opportunities for Canadian researchers and international colleagues to work with highly advanced technology and equipment, which would otherwise be too expensive to be supported by one organisation alone. The funding to be made available to colleges will total CAD 32.5 million (EUR 23.5 million) and will be distributed through one or more competitions to be launched by December 2010. The idea here is to engage Canadian colleges in more research activity and engagement with industry through the provision of funds that will allow them to invest in “the latest research infrastructure that will be instrumental in transferring innovative research from the lab to the marketplace”.

Canada has rolled out several initiatives and significant funding in the last several years to enhance its research and innovation profile. It will be interesting to see what these investments yield for the country in the mid- to long-term.

Canada Foundation for Innovation