Organization: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Pressure grows to increase support for fundamental research, tie funding levels to demand

Canada’s support for fundamental research has fallen by a third between 2005 and 2015, but many in the Canadian research community are concerned the federal government doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to take action. The deterioration in federal support — occurring over a period closely corresponding to the decade in which the government of Stephen Harper was in power — witnessed a major swing in funding from fundamental to applied research, with 40% of researchers reporting a similar shift in their focus.

Canada to lead council of global research funders

Canada’s renewed efforts to raise its profile on the global stage were bolstered last week with news that Dr. Mario Pinto will take over as chair of the Global Research Council (GRC), a federation comprising the heads of 70 science and engineering funding councils from 50 countries. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) president replaces Dr. Yuichiro Anzai, president of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, who now becomes vice-chair. As GRC chair, Pinto will represent the interests of Canada’s major research granting agencies.

R$ talks with Dr. Rebecca Keiser — NSF international chief pursues new collaborations with Canada

President Donald Trump intention to slash key areas of his government’s research spending is inadvertently providing an incentive for new research collaborations between the United States and Canada.
The president’s fiscal 2018 budget, unveiled earlier this year, proposed massive cuts for climate science, medical research and energy projects across government, including major granting organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite a reprieve in early May when Congress voted to mostly maintain current budgets for the rest of 2017, it’s uncertain whether the axe can be avoided again in 2018.

Quantum computing, brain research top list for new US-Canada collaborations

President Donald Trump’s push for major cuts to research funding in the US are fueling even closer scientific ties between our two countries. Preliminary talks have begun between the US National Science Foundation and research funders in Canada to kickstart new research collaborations in quantum computing, the brain, biodiversity and the Arctic. Recent meetings held in both Ottawa and Washington are expected, as a first step, to result in a Dear Colleague letter from the NSF encouraging its researchers to identify opportunities for joint projects the rapidly evolving field of brain research.

Dr Bettina Hamelin

Dr Bettina Hamelin has been appointed president and CEO of Ontario Genomics, replacing Dr Mark Poznansky who is leaving after nearly seven years in the positions. Hamelin will be responsible for overseeing and directing the agency’s genomics technology pipeline which to date has assisted 16 genomics firms to the “investor ready” stage of development and…

NSERC field robotics network pitches for extended funding

The NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN) put on an impressive display of robots and drones last week in Ottawa as the national network readies its pitch for renewed and increased federal funding. NCFRN, one of 16 active NSERC Strategic Networks, is currently in its final year of a five-year $5 million award. Demonstrations representing the work of 180 researchers from eight universities and 12 industrial and government partners coincided with the network’s annual meeting where high-level discussions took place on how to secure an even larger injection of funding from the federal government…

Basic science needs better oversight and coordination, and more money: Expert panel

R$ talks to David Naylor

A federally commissioned blue-chip panel calling for greater coherence and financial support for fundamental research has made a series of 35 recommendations, including a $1.3-billion increase in the budgets of the three granting councils, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and related entities over the next four years.

IMII supports deep aquifer research at U of S

The International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) is investing $325,000 in the Univ of Saskatchewan to launch a project examining deep groundwater systems (aquifers) to achieve sustainable resource development in the mining and other extraction sectors. The project has submitted an application to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to secure matching funds. To be…

NSERC awards $48M for Strategic Partnerships Grants

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has announced $48 million in awards to 76 research teams through its latest Strategic Partnerships Grants competition. The awards include $10 million to support two networks — the new Ryerson Univ– based NSERC Energy Storage Technology Network and phase II of the NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, a…