‘Frontiers fund’ created for cutting-edge work

Mark Daley, Associate Vice-President (Research) says the federal New Frontiers fund is a 'watershed moment' for research.

International, interdisciplinary, fast-breaking research is newly eligible for federal grants from a New Frontiers in Research Fund in what is being described as a “watershed moment” in Canadian research funding.

The fund, announced in the 2018 federal budget and outlined in more detail by Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan on Thursday, is a $275-million investment over five years ($65 million ongoing) in three streams: exploration, large-scale transformative projects and international collaboration.

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

The Exploration stream will support 75 grants of up to $250,000 each to enable emerging early-career researchers to conduct high-risk, high-reward, interdisciplinary research projects over a two-year period.  Researchers must signal their intent to apply by Jan. 11, 2019 and submit their application by Feb. 7, 2019. Results will be announced a month later.

Details and applications applications for the two other streams, open to all Canadian researchers, are expected to open next spring.

Mark Daley, Associate Vice-President (Research) at Western, welcomed the funding details. “This really is an exciting announcement and a watershed moment for Canadian research.”

He added, “The challenges facing humanity in the 21st century are unlikely to be solved by lone scholars, isolated in their basement labs, working with only the tools, and intellectual frameworks, of a single discipline.”

The greatest impacts will come from teams drawn from across many spheres of human endeavour.” ~ Mark Daley, Associate Vice-President (Research)

“With the New Frontiers in Research Fund, the government of Canada has recognized the critical importance of investing in convergence research and developing the capacity to undertake this research in our nation. The first call for this fund is targeted exclusively at early-career researchers; how better to build capacity for the future than by investing in our young scholars.”

Duncan, at the same time, noted the Networks of Centers of Excellence program will be winding down over the next three to five years. Further information will be posted on the NCE website.

In a statement, Universities Canada President and CEO Paul Davidson said the organization will continue working with the federal government to encourage continued progress on its Fundamental Science Review agenda.