CFI awards $308 million for science, engineering research

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation Wednesday announced $308 million in funding for science and engineering research, part of a near-$800 million investment to support research and development at 69 post-secondary institutions, hospitals

and not-for-profit research centres.

CFI officials were joined in Vancouver by Industry Minister Allan Rock to announce the $779 million in funding, $588 million of which was promised through the Innovation Fund towards 208 projects at 65 institutions. Another $11 million went to 72 projects at 31 institutions through the New Opportunities Fund, and $180 million was given under the Infrastructure Operating Fund.

Just over $231 million in infrastructure money from the Innovation Fund went to science and engineering projects like the creation of a research centre in opto-photonics at Laval University, which received $16.6 million. An additional $69 million from the Infrastructure Operating Fund went to science and engineering projects.

“”Associated with these (Innovation Fund) funds, we also provide the Infrastructure Operating Fund,”” said CFI senior vice president Carmen Charette. “”Institutions will get 30 per cent of the infrastructure value to assist them in operating these facilities.””

The approved science and engineering projects, which Charette said includes those in computing sciences, microelectronics and telecommunications, received $7 million of the $11 million given through the New Opportunities Fund, designed to help institutions lure new researchers.

“”That way, it makes the institution more attractive to the researcher,”” Charette said.

Dave Patterson, excecutive director of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance’s Ottawa office, said he was very pleased with Wednesday’s funding commitment.

“”This is the sort of activity that CATA has been lobbying for for years now,”” he said.

Charette said the CFI, an independent corporation established by the federal government in 1997, picks up 40 per cent of the costs of projects through the Innovation Fund. Institutions and their private and public funding partners are responsible for the rest.

“”When they apply (for funding), they have to show they have a convincing plan to secure the funds,”” Charette said. She added institutions, after being approved, must show they have the complimentary funds before receiving CFI money.

Wednesday’s announcement marked the conclusion of the CFI’s third major funding competition, and its first since July 2000. To date, the CFI has investment a total of $1.55 billion in research infrastructure.

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