Canada Research Chairs program boosts “foreign content” with latest awards

Guest Contributor
July 7, 2003

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program is nearing the halfway mark of its goal to create 2,000 research chairs with the announcement of another 80 awards. The $69.7-million investment brings the funding-to-date to $906.6 million and number of chairs awarded stands at 926. The latest round includes a significantly higher amount of researchers recruited from abroad.

Of the 80 chairs awarded, 30 or 37.5% will be held by foreign researchers or returning Canadians, bumping the program total to 191 or 20.6%, compared to 10.6% just 16 months ago. (R$, February 11/02). That breaks down to 92 foreign researchers and 99 expatriate Canadians. Increasing the number of top-flight foreign researchers in Canada is a key objective of the CRC program. The latest increase will help to dispel early criticism that it was being used by institutions primarily to retain and reward their own researchers.

Another previous area of concern was the number of chairs being awarded to women, which has lagged behind the percentage of female faculty (16% versus 25%). The recent announcement does not include an updated gender breakdown.

The latest awards are supported by $10.3 million in infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. (CFI). The CFI will allot $250 million for CRC infrastructure over the life of the program, leveraging an additional $375 million from other sources. When added to the $900 million devoted to the CRC program, that represents a total of $1.525 billion.

The number of CRC awards an institution is eligible to receive is based on the amount of research funding it receives from the three federal granting agencies. Discipline allotment is 45% for natural sciences and engineering, 35% for health sciences and 20% for social sciences and humanities.

Not surprisingly, the four large provinces dominate the chair allocation, taking 88.8% of the chairs awarded to date. Ontario universities have received $354.3 million or 39.1% of total allocations followed by Quebec ($241.9 million or 26.7%), British Columbia ($117.1 million or 12.9%) and Alberta ($91.6 million or 10.1%). The remaining six provinces accounted for 11.2%



Institution# chairs$ millions
Univ of Toronto130121.7
Univ of British Columbia7978.2
Univ of Alberta6463.5
Univ of Montreal52.55.7
Laval Univ4750.5
McGill Univ4743.3
Univ of Quebec *4550.0
McMaster Univ4143.0
Univ of Calgary3734.7
Univ of Western Ontario3332.7
Queen’s Univ2724.3
Univ of Manitoba2322.3
Univ of Ottawa2227.2*
Univ of Waterloo2222.7
York Univ2219.1
* all campuses

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