OTTAWA: Operating costs of 14 national research facilities at 10 universities across Canada will be supported through a new $230 million funding, Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announced on Tuesday (July 21).
“As the Government of Canada responds to the challenges of COVID-19, it is clear why investments in research are important. Canadian researchers from all disciplines play a key role in finding solutions to the challenges we face now and in the future”, an official statement said.
The funding will be through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science
Initiatives (MSI) Fund. As a result of these ongoing investments, some of these initiatives were able to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The additional funding announced today will further strengthen the facilities’ ongoing research activities. Bains said: “Canada is home to several state-of-the-art, internationally renowned research facilities.
Not only do these facilities make it possible for cutting-edge research to take place in Canada, we are also benefiting from the impressive and innovative power of Canadian researchers in our coordinated, national approach to fight COVID-19.”
Here are just some of the ways they have pivoted their research to tackle this challenge:
• SNOLAB, an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics at Queen’s University is applying its expertise in gas handling and control systems used in dark matter experiments to design a simple ventilator;
• Érudit, an online database of Canadian social sciences and humanities publications, led by Université de Montréal, has opened access to academic articles on the social, environmental and economic impacts of the pandemic;
• CGEn, Canada’s national platform for genome sequencing and analysis, leads the country’s COVID-19 host genome sequencing initiative, which includes sequencing the genome of 10,000 Canadians to understand how the body responds to COVID-19;
• The Canadian Research Data Centre Network, headquartered at McMaster University, has several social science projects focused on understanding the pandemic’s impact on society, the labour market and the economy;
• The University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Light Source has three streams of ongoing COVID-19 research taking place on drug development, studying the coronavirus’ physical
behaviour and transmission and improving equipment for COVID-19 frontline workers;
The MSI Fund supports the unique operating and maintenance needs of Canada’s large, complex research facilities so that they can stay on the cutting edge and continue to serve communities of researchers in Canada and around the world.
Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation, said:
“Canada’s national research facilities allow our country’s best researchers to participate at the leading edge, and to address some of our most pressing national and international challenges. The CFI’s investments in research infrastructure through its MSI Fund meant these facilities were ready to tackle emerging challenges like COVID-19. As society becomes more complex, we need to continue to foster ingenuity and a relentless passion for knowledge with the equipment and spaces researchers need to flourish.”