OSHAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 22, 2015) - More than 3, 800 researchers at over 70 Canadian universities received a significant, long-term investment from the federal government today. The announcement was made at an advanced big datalaboratory at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology). He was accompanied by Pat Perkins, MP for Whitby-Oshawa, and Dr. Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

This major federal investment of more than $340 million supports academic researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and students across the country as they make new discoveries in science and engineering that push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs, opportunities and improve the quality of life of Canadians. The awards announced today are the results of the 2015 competition for NSERC's Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Discovery Development Grants, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, Postgraduate Scholarships, Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Tools and Instruments Grants.

At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), $1.9 million will go to researchers and students, including Dr. Christopher Collins who is receiving $300,000 to develop new techniques to better process and present large volumes of text-based data so users can more easily understand them and find the answers they are looking for.

Along with the scientists and engineers receiving Discovery Grants, almost 60 researchers have been offered grants of $20,000 each over two years by NSERC as part of a new pilot Discovery Development Grant program. This new initiative is targeted at researchers working at small universities, enabling them to contribute to a diversified and competitive research base across Canada. Six of those researchers are at UOIT.

A foundation of the government's efforts to develop and support talented researchers at Canadian universities, the NSERC Discovery Grants Program funds discovery in a variety of disciplines, including in chemistry, physics, life sciences, mathematics, computer science, earth sciences, and the many branches of engineering. The broad base of research capacity built by these awards has given this country a strong reputation for research excellence around the world.

Quick Facts

- Researchers across Canada will be sharing more than $340 million from NSERC's flagship Discovery Grants program. These grants - based on recommendations from peer review committees containing world experts in each of 12 science and engineering fields - typically last for five years. They provide the core funding and freedom so Canada's best researchers can pursue their most promising ideas and breakthrough discoveries - world-firsts in knowledge.

- Researchers also will share an additional $25.2 million in Research Tools and Instruments Grants, to pay for new equipment such as mass spectrometers, high-throughput liquid chromatographs, specialized microscopes, or tracking devices for wild animals such as birds, fish or caribou.

- The $77.8 million in scholarship and fellowship awards provide the flexibility and independence so Canada's future research leaders can develop their full potential. As well, researchers with Discovery Grants use a significant part of their funding to recruit and retain talented graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from across the country and internationally.

- Dr. Christopher Collins, Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization at UOIT, received a Discovery Accelerator Supplement worth $120,000 to "turbocharge" his research program in addition to a five-year, $180,000 Discovery Grant. He is developing new applications to help people quickly and efficiently navigate through large volumes of text, such as emails, business reports, books, legal proceedings, or social media feeds.


A key pillar of our government's updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy is ensuring Canada develops, attracts and retains the world's most talented researchers. Today's investment in more than 3, 800 researchers at 71 universities across the country ensures Canada has a broad base of talented men and women whose research continues to push the boundaries of knowledge, creates jobs and opportunities while improving the quality of life of Canadians.

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"Our government has made record commitments to science, technology and innovation to the social and economic benefit of Canadians. Today's investment in researchers like UOIT's Dr. Chris Collins will ensure that research powers Canadian business innovation to remain competitive on global markets while creating jobs at home."

Pat Perkins, Member of Parliament (Whitby-Oshawa)

"NSERC's Discovery Grants program is our flagship. It invests in the full range of science and engineering disciplines and thus builds the strong foundation that is a necessary prerequisite for innovation. We're building on its success with our Discovery Development Grants, because we want to take advantage of the full diversity of insights and ideas across Canada. Complementing our support for discovery research, NSERC's scholarships and fellowships invest in a new generation of talent and give these brilliant students and fellows the skills and experience to meet the challenges of the future."

B. Mario Pinto, President, NSERC

"Thank you Minister Holder for highlighting the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's innovative research. Congratulations to all NSERC Discovery Grants Program recipients across the country who, like our university's faculty and students, are advancing high-quality research that leads to transformative cultural, economic and scientific change."

Tim McTiernan, President and Vice-Chancellor, UOIT

"My laboratory focuses on new ways of visualizing big data, extracting meaningful information that makes those data relevant to groups like businesses and policy makers. The NSERC Discovery Grant enables us to explore how visualizing big-data can discover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful information that can help Canadians make informed decisions. The grants also assist the next generation of researchers, like the students in my lab, to become future leaders and innovators."

Christopher Collins, Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization, UOIT

Associated Links
Competition statistics:

- Discovery Grants

- Scholarships and Fellowships

- Research Tools and Instruments grants

- List of recipients

Discovery research video


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the primary funding agency supporting Canada's science and engineering research community. The agency supports almost 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately 12,000 professors every year and works with over 3,000 Canadian companies that are participating and investing in postsecondary research projects.

Contact Information:

Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Media Relations
Industry Canada

Martin Leroux
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada