Government invests $11.2 million to support a cleaner environment and talented researchers

Large-scale network will help mining communities by minimizing the environmental impact of mining operations      

WATERLOO, ON, Dec. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Canada's biggest environmental and economic challenges require the brightest minds working together to produce innovative solutions that will support a clean environment, a sustainable economy and a strong middle class. That's why the Government of Canada supports an inclusive and collaborative approach to innovation, one that encourages researchers and their partners to combine their expertise so they may address these crucial issues together.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, today highlighted $5.5 million in funding for a research network, based at the University of Waterloo, that is researching new ways for mining companies to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment. This network funding comes through the Strategic Partnership Grants program, administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The network is one of four that received a total of nearly $22 million, as announced on October 19 by Minister Duncan at Carleton University. Scientists and business leaders have joined together in these networks to tackle pressing challenges like targeting pollution, exploring enhanced manufacturing technology, developing sustainable natural resource extraction methods and modernizing the stewardship of Canadian lakes.

The University of Waterloo–led network is investigating new ways to stabilize mine wastes and prevent future environmental contamination. These new approaches will have obvious economic and societal benefits, especially for communities that are dependent on mining operations for jobs. The research will also make it less expensive for companies and governments that are responsible for cleaning mine sites.

Minister Chagger also recognized $5.7 million in funding for six University of Waterloo researchers, who are among 203 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs. The areas of focus will span a variety of topics from improving soil and groundwater to developing more advanced medical research software.


"Our government is proud to support the important work of talented researchers who are collaborating with their partners to create solutions for some of the most critical issues Canada is facing. These networks will help train the next generation of young researchers by providing them with the skills they need for today's job market. By investing in these networks, our government is demonstrating its commitment to generating the evidence needed to support a clean environment, a sustainable economy and a strong middle class."
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

"Our government is committed to inclusive and sustainable growth for the entire nation. The research network based at University of Waterloo will be critical in protecting communities that rely on the mining industry and on the land near mining operations. By researching ways to modernize how the natural resources sector operates, this network will help ensure that we protect our environment and natural resources for many years to come."
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

"NSERC is proud to support these networks of researchers and companies that are working to find innovative solutions to some of Canada's most pressing challenges. Facilitating close connections and partnerships with business ensures that discovery research is enriched by industry perspectives and market needs."
B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"This particular award is a first for Waterloo and represents further support and opportunity for research in this important area while leveraging expertise from many partners who represent government, industry and academia."
– Dr. D. George Dixon, Vice-President, Research, University of Waterloo

Quick facts

  • Four research networks are being supported over the next five years. Other networks are focused on helping curb pollution from oil and gas refinery flare stacks; modernizing the stewardship of Canadian lakes; and developing virtual machining technology software to allow companies to design and produce new products without costly physical trials.
  • NSERC conducts extensive reviews to ensure that these networks remain relevant for Canada.
  • The 2016 Strategic Partnership Grants competition will focus on advanced manufacturing; environment and agriculture; information and communication technologies; and natural resources and energy. The results of this competition will be announced next year.
  • Created in 2000, the Canada Research Chairs Program has helped attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. Canada Research Chairs deepen our knowledge, enhance our quality of life and grow our economy.
  • Minister Duncan announced more than $173 million in funding to support a total of 203 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at 48 post-secondary institutions across the country.
  • More than 1,600 Canada Research Chair holders, including those announced today, are working at more than 70 post-secondary institutions across the country in a wide range of fields. More than 632 of these chairs are in Ontario.
  • Three of the University of Waterloo's research chairs are new and three are being renewed.

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Associated links

Follow Minister Duncan on social media:
Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin

Follow Minister Chagger on social media:
Twitter: @MinofSBT
Instagram: minofsbt

Follow NSERC on social media:

NSERC invests over $1 billion each year in natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. Our investments deliver discoveries—valuable world-firsts in knowledge claimed by a brain trust of over 11,000 professors. Our investments enable partnerships and collaborations that connect industry with discoveries and the people behind them. Researcher-industry partnerships established by NSERC help inform R&D, solve scale-up challenges, and reduce the risks of developing high-potential technology.

NSERC also provides scholarships and hands-on training experience for more than 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows. These young researchers will be the next generation of science and engineering leaders in Canada.


SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

For further information: Véronique Perron, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Science, 343-291-2600; Martin Leroux, Senior Communications Advisor, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Tel.: 613-943-7618, Email:; Media Relations, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 343-291-1777,


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