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Research institutions to get funding boost from federal government

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more than $518 million in funding for research projects at colleges, universities and hospitals across the country.

The funding will finance 102 “state-of-the-art” projects at 35 post-secondary institutions and research hospitals covering a variety of subjects, from vaccine production and climate change to smart cities and Indigenous reconciliation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation said in a news release.

Some of the funding will go toward projects aimed at speeding up domestic vaccine production. The Liberal government has faced criticism over what critics say were insufficient efforts to invest in domestic COVID-19 vaccine research and manufacturing capacity early in the pandemic.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation will provide the money, which will cover 40 per cent of the costs of eligible infrastructure for each project.

The projects being funded include:

  • A public vaccine production program to build and test vaccines, launch startup companies and support existing ones, led by researchers at the University Hospital of Quebec and Laval University ($1.8 million).
  • A project to deploy sensors in the North Atlantic Ocean to collect information about ocean warming and carbon capture, led by researchers at Dalhousie University ($3.5 million).
  • A data analysis study of more than four million pregnant women and children to better understand the effects of medications on expectant mothers and kids, to be led by researchers at the University of Montreal and the pediatric hospital CHU Sainte-Justine ($1.1 million).
  • A ‘smart campus’ testing lab at Ryerson University to allow researchers to test new smart building, security, lighting, construction and energy efficient technologies ($1.9 million).
  • A digital archive of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s records, to be built by the University of Manitoba​​​​ ($2.4 million)​.​

Each project was chosen through competitions held by the the CIF’s Innovation Fund which take place every two to three years and involve a rigorous review process, the release said.

At a press conference today, Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the funding will help fund research facilities, lab equipment and research databases.

“Our Canadian researchers need these kinds of tools to turn their bold ideas into reality,” said Champagne. 

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