Government of Canada invests in the country's most promising young researchers

The 2015-16 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships recipients will develop innovative research that will support a strong middle class

OTTAWA, Oct. 3, 2016 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada values the role that young researchers play in producing the knowledge, discoveries and innovations that help build a strong, healthy middle class. That is why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, and the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced 166 new Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients and 70 new Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients. These awards, which are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows,  demonstrate the government's $34.7 million commitment to attracting and retaining the best young doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada and from around the world. The specialties of these researchers span health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities.

The extraordinary research being conducted by the following three researchers illustrates the range of disciplines being supported:

  • Vanier Scholar Yasmine Hajar at the University of Ottawa is examining how electricity can speed up the movement of chemicals that react with methane gas, which could then lead to the development of low-cost fuel for vehicles and a reduction of air pollution.
  • Vanier Scholar Erin Hetherington at the University of Calgary is studying which social support systems best help women avoid postpartum depression after they have given birth.
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Julien Lefort-Favreau at Université de Sherbrooke will research how, since 1959, editors of various publications in France helped intellectuals communicate political thoughts that led to significant social change for the country's citizens.

Quick facts

  • Both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships programs are funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Quotes

"I congratulate all recipients of this year's Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. This investment represents our government's commitment to support emerging researchers whose hard work will help put our country at the forefront of scientific discovery while equipping them with the skills they need to join a strong middle class."

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan
Minister of Science

"I'm proud to support the world's most promising young research talent in Canada, so that our country remains a leader in discovery and applied research. I congratulate the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars and Banting Postdoctoral Fellows and wish them continued success with their research that will benefit the health of all Canadians."

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

"The federal research agencies – CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC – are proud to support the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. Through these programs we are supporting the creation of Canada's next generation of researchers whose work will have a tremendous positive influence on the wellbeing of citizens from around the world."

Dr. Alain Beaudet
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"We are proud that these rising stars call the University of Ottawa their home. Thanks to these scholarships, these emerging researchers will get to expand their horizons and participate in some of the most transformative research in Canada."

Dr. Mona Nemer
Vice-President, Research, University of Ottawa 

Backgrounder

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, respectively, working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. Through these programs, the Government of Canada strengthens the ability of Canadian universities to attract and retain world-class research talent and supports the development of the research leaders of tomorrow.

Today's announcement represents a Government of Canada investment of $34.7 million:

  • 166 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships for $24.9 million over three years (Scholarship provides $50,000 per year for up to three years)
  • 70 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships for $9.8 million over two years (Fellowship provides $70,000 a year for up to two years)

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS), launched in 2008 by the Government of Canada and named after Governor General Major-General Georges P. Vanier, is a program to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in Canada. Additionally, the program aims to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. The Vanier CGS program also helps build and strengthen relationships and partnerships with international researchers. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering, and health.

Vanier Scholars receive $50,000 a year for up to three years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 1,000 scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the program. The program supports up to 500 students annually who are pursuing doctoral degrees at Canadian universities. Many Vanier Scholars remain in Canada and pursue professional careers. This, in turn, fosters innovation and creates jobs in the future.

Examples of 2015-16 Vanier scholars include:

Myriam Drouin, from Laval University, is trying to create chemical bonds in proteins that cannot be destroyed by natural enzymes in the human body, which could then lead to the development of stronger pharmaceutical medication. (NSERC)

Ina Filkobski, at McGill University, will examine how young adults use peacebuilding initiatives from various organizations in society to resolve their conflicts. (SSHRC)

Masoud Mohammadalizadeh Shabestary at the University of Alberta will study how Canada's electricity sector can blend common power generation and transmission with clean energy resources (such as wind, solar, and geothermal) in efficient and cost effective ways. (NSERC)

Perri Tutelman, at Dalhousie University, will study how chronic pain among children can also have an emotional impact on both mothers and fathers, so that new intervention and prevention programs can be developed to help families. (CIHR)

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships (Banting PDF) program is named after Dr. Frederick Banting, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of insulin. The program was created by the Government of Canada in 2010 as a way to strengthen Canada's ability to attract and retain world-class post-doctoral talent, develop their leadership potential and position them for success as the research leaders of tomorrow. The program will also help these researchers positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research-based growth through a research-intensive career.

The Banting PDF program is unique in its emphasis on the synergy between applicants and research institutions. Therefore, all applicants have to apply in close collaboration with the university or other eligible research institution with which they hold fellowship. Research institutions hosting these applicants must demonstrate their commitment to the applicant's success through institutional research priorities, a supportive research environment and professional development opportunities.

Banting Fellows receive $70,000 a year for up to two years of research. Including today's recipients, a total of 280 fellowships have been awarded since the program's creation. The program supports 140 post-doctoral researchers annually who work at Canadian universities and leading international research institutions. This helps develop research leaders who will positively contribute to Canada's economic, social and research based growth.

Examples of 2015-16 Banting postdoctoral fellows include:

Adalberto Loyola-Sanchez, at the University of Calgary, will analyze how researchers can help Indigenous peoples in Canada and Mexico avoid arthritis-related problems through community-based programs that are respectful of Indigenous traditions and ways of knowing. (CIHR)

Rita Orji, at the University of Waterloo, will study whether her design of personalized persuasive games can help adolescents avoid risky sex and drugs/alcohol use and promote healthy behaviours. (NSERC)

Gordon Pennycook, at Yale University, will analyze how people's conflicting thoughts (such as greed vs. generosity) can be resolved if they understand the benefits of positive actions in their everyday lives (e.g.: cooperation at work, school, and home). (SSHRC)

Shea Balish, from University of Toronto, will be developing a new digital tool that measures whether emotion can motivate youth to participate in sports. (SSHRC)

Associated links

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information: Contacts: Véronique Perron, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Kristy Duncan, 343-291-2600; Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563, mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

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