Categorized | Education

Empowering thousands of Canadian researchers and students to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation

Posted on 15 September 2017 by admin

Half a billion in funding for scientists and engineers means more opportunities for discovery, skills training and job creation.

VICTORIA, Sept. 8, 2017 /CNW/ – When Canada’s scientists and engineers have the opportunity to succeed, they’re able to make the discoveries that lead to ground-breaking innovations, sustainable economic growth and a stronger middle class. The hard work of these researchers also helps new generations of students master the advanced skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

That is why the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, announced today $515 million in support for fundamental research through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) 2017 competition for the Discovery Grants program, scholarships and fellowships. This is NSERC’s largest annual investment, and it assists researchers by offering financial support though scholarships, fellowships, research supplements, and equipment grants.

Today’s announcement was made at the University of Victoria. It was also announced that Dr. Stephanie Willerth, a prominent University of Victoria researcher and Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, will receive a Discovery Grant worth $120,000 over five years to support her work with stem cells.

Stem cells are identical biological cells that can separate into specialized cells and can divide to produce more stem cells. They can also act as a repair system for the human body, replenishing adult tissues. Dr. Willerth’s discovery research underpins her collaboration with Aspect Biosystems, a Vancouver-based company that produces 3D printing platforms for tissue engineering to find replacements for human tissue and organs that no longer function properly. By reprogramming a patient’s adult cells into their stem cell state, researchers will be able to develop any type of tissue, including heart, lung, skin and more. Ultimately, with the help of the 3D printing platform, a patient’s newly engineered cells can be used to test reactions to new drugs for diseases such as cancer.

This funding reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthen science by supporting the very people—our country’s remarkable scientists and engineers—who are working to build a better future for all.


“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in fundamental research and engineering that will improve and enrich our country’s knowledge economy. We believe in encouraging scientists’ cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to greater social and economic growth. I am particularly proud of the support offered to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows who, thanks to today’s investment, will be exposed to advanced training experiences that will prepare them for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow.”

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“At the core of every research project, every laboratory and every discovery, there are people. NSERC empowers these people to build an innovative, prosperous and inclusive society. NSERC Discovery Grants, scholarships and fellowships provide thousands of top researchers, students and fellows with the foundation they need to concretize their research ambitions and explore the unknown.”

– Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President, NSERC

“Our researchers and our institution as a whole benefit greatly from the NSERC discovery programs. These awards recognize that creativity and innovation drive research advances. We appreciate NSERC’s vital ongoing support for fundamental research and the training of the next generation of our leaders in natural sciences and engineering.”

– Professor Jamie Cassels, QC – President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Victoria

“NSERC funding has allowed me to conduct groundbreaking research in the field of tissue engineering and has connected with me several industrial partners, including Aspect Biosystems and Starfish Medical. It also helped me establish my lab when I was an early career researcher.”

– Dr. Stephanie Willerth, Professor at the University of Victoria


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