The government of Canada has provided CAD $117.6 million as part of the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program to bring in the best international talent to enrich academic institutions across the country. These funds are allocated to the Canada Research Chairs Program, a government-funded initiative to attract world-leading academics to the country and rejuvenate the learning process of students enrolled in Canadian universities.
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced on April 3 at the University of Waterloo that the government of Canada provided this one-time funding in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation. The investment in science and innovation is expected to attract roughly 25 established researchers or Canadian expatriates who would like to relocate to Canada and continue their research in the sciences, technology, health, engineering, social sciences or humanities.
“I am pleased to announce the government of Canada’s support for recruiting top talent from the world’s science and technology sector,” stated Ms Duncan.
“Attracting international researchers and scholars to Canada is critical for us as a country. These efforts will also ensure the next generation of students learn from the best and brightest talent in the world, seeing what they have to offer so that they are better prepared for the highly skilled jobs of the future.”
What this means to the future of Canadian research
By attracting talented scientists and scholars, the government expects that economic growth will follow. In a press release following the launch of the initiative, the government stated that ‘Opening Canada’s doors to talented scientists and researchers from around the world will help bring new ideas and fresh perspectives, while creating good, well-paying jobs, growing the economy and strengthening the middle class.’
Ms Duncan has been vocal with her concerns about the lack of females involved in science, technology, and engineering fields.
Canada’s Minister of Science has also called for transparency and fairness in universities’ recruitment processes, as well as the filling of positions as part of the Canada Research Chairs Program. Since 2016, the program began to publish additional statistics to show the progress made and the work that still needs to be done on the representation of women among the Canada research chairs.
Ms Duncan has already expressed dissatisfaction with the significantly lower female presence in the program, hinting at a prospective increase in the number of females occupying positions. The Minister’s concern could impact future decision making in the selection of international scholars, with more female representation in Canadian universities that will address the government of Canada’s commitment to equity and diversity.
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