../Morning Post
Posted May 18 , 2010

New Government of Canada Investment Attracts Top Minds to Canadian Universities

Inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chairs Introduced at University of Toronto Ceremony

TORONTO - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, yesterday welcomed some of the world's most renowned researchers, who have chosen to pursue their leading-edge research at universities across Canada. As part of a welcoming ceremony held at the University of Toronto, the Minister announced the 19 inaugural recipients of the prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program (CERC).

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting leading-edge research and world-class researchers," said Minister Clement. "The CERC program confirms Canada's standing as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. This program supports our government's commitment to ensuring Canada's future economic growth by investing in innovation and research capacity in priority areas."

For each Chair, universities will receive up to $10 million over seven years to support chairholders and their research teams in undertaking ambitious research programs. The complete list of chairholders, including the 13 universities where they will be working, is available at http://www.cerc.gc.ca/cpch-pctc-eng.shtml.

Two outstanding researchers were featured at the event: Dr. Frederick Roth, CERC in Integrative Biology, and Dr. Oliver Ernst, CERC in Structural Neurobiology.

Dr. Roth will use his computational expertise to reveal more about how diseases such as cancer develop. His work will contribute significantly to the discovery and development of new drugs to treat complex diseases, while keeping Canada at the forefront of biomedical research. Using leading-edge systems in his studies, he will also train new highly qualified personnel in this growing field and contribute innovative products and intellectual property to Canada's economy.

"I am honoured to be coming to Canada and excited to join the University of Toronto and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute as a CERC," said Dr. Roth, who comes to Canada from Harvard University's celebrated biophysics department. "Science at the University of Toronto and its 10 affiliated hospitals is absolutely world-class, and especially so in the application of large-scale experimentation to understand the biology of cells and complex diseases. I very much look forward to advancing my group's research in Toronto."

Dr. Ernst will continue his groundbreaking work on the most studied receptor - the light receptor in the eye. His work will increase our understanding of the receptors on the molecular level and, particularly, their role in the development of neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Dr. Ernst's research program will be the first of its kind in Canada, and promises to mark a major leap forward for structural neurobiologists.

"Canada is one of the world's leaders in innovation in so many vital areas that have a direct and positive impact on people's lives," said Dr. Ernst, who joins the University of Toronto from Charite, a medical institute set up jointly by the Free University of Berlin and Humboldt University. "I am thankful to the federal government for creating the CERC program, and I am eager to become part of the Canadian research success story."

"The arrival of these globally respected researchers will have multiple benefits for Canada," said Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Chair of the Tri-Agency Steering Committee. "Research chairs of this calibre working together with other researchers, students and post-doctoral fellows already in Canada will create meaningful new opportunities."

The CERC program was announced in Budget 2008 as part of the government's Science and Technology Strategy to help build expertise in strategic areas. Research conducted by the chairholders will focus on the areas of environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and technologies, and information and communications technologies.

"The Government of Canada is to be applauded for spearheading this initiative to advance research and scholarship in areas that are essential to the future of global society," said Dr. David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto. "We are particularly proud to have Dr. Roth and Dr. Ernst join the University of Toronto's research community. I know their work, along with that of all the chairholders in institutions across Canada, will result in important benefits for science, future generations of researchers and Canada's innovation capacity."

The CERC program is administered jointly by Canada's three research granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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