The Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program offers eligible Canadian degree-granting institutions the opportunity to establish highly funded research chairs in research areas that are of strategic importance to Canada.
The Canada Excellence Research Chairs are identified through a highly competitive two-stage process:
Phase 1: Each eligible institution is allowed to submit a limited number of applications. Universities compete for the opportunity to establish chairs by submitting documentation that addresses the evaluation criteria described below. Only shortlisted applications are invited to Phase 2 of the competition.
Phase 2: Universities that submitted successful Phase 1 applications are invited to nominate world-class researchers for the available chair positions. Nominations must demonstrate excellence in the evaluation criteria, which include the world-class excellence of the nominee and of his/her proposed research.
All CERC program recruitment and nomination processes at universities must be transparent, open and equitable. In particular, these processes must include open advertising, with a statement of commitment to equity in the nomination process. Universities are asked to demonstrate exemplary recruitment and selection processes to ensure an inclusive and comprehensive candidate search and equitable selection process. The recruitment and outreach strategy of the nominating institution will be assessed in both phases of the competition.
|Phase 2||(By invitation only)|
|Discipline codes (PDF document, 35 KB)|
|Phase 1||May 28, 2012|
|Phase 2||Anytime prior to February 28, 2014|
The Secretariat, in collaboration with universities, aims to provide a response in approximately two months after the submission of the Phase 2 nomination.
Canada Excellence Research Chairs awards are tenable for seven years and are not renewable.
For each Chair awarded in the 2012 competition, the university receives from the CERC program an amount up to $10 million over seven years, and must ensure 100 per cent in matching funds over the same period (excluding tri-agency and CFI funds). Institutions may request less than $10 million over the seven years. Awards will be paid out in equal parts per year over the seven years.
New sources of support, either cash or in-kind, that are related to the Canada Excellence Research Chair can be counted as part of the matching funds. The only exception to this is support received from the three federal granting agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Support received from other Canadian government sources is eligible towards the matching funds requirement. It is important to ensure not only that the matching requirement is met, but that the proposed budget is appropriate for the research being proposed.
Universities may include a request for infrastructure support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) with their CERC program nomination. CFI is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada to strengthen national research capability through investments in research infrastructure in Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and eligible not-for-profit organizations.
This request is a distinct funding request separate from the budget for the chair. Through its Leaders Opportunity Fund, CFI will contribute 40 per cent of the total cost of the infrastructure project and the institution and its partners are responsible for securing the remaining funding.
CFI's board of directors is responsible for the review of requests for infrastructure support for successful chair nominations, including foreign nominations. Following the review process, CFI will communicate the decisions directly to the universities.
Information on the CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund is found at www.innovation.ca. Applications must be submitted through CFI-Online.
Chairs must be taken up on a full-time basis.
Canadian degree-granting universities are eligible to participate in the CERC program only if they have received, annually, an average of $100,000 or more from the three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
To be considered degree-granting, an institution must meet both of the following criteria:
Nominees must be full professors or associate professors who are expected to be promoted to the full professor level within one or two years of the nomination. Alternatively, if they come from outside the academic sector, nominees must possess the necessary qualifications to be appointed at these levels.
The program imposes no restrictions on nominees with regard to nationality or country of residence. Procedures to allow non-Canadian chairholders to work in Canada have been established by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Members of the chair's team may also be eligible for an expedited work permit. For further information on the process, universities should contact their local Temporary Foreign Worker Unit. Other procedures have been established by the government of Quebec for foreign researchers taking up a chair in this province.
Researchers who hold a tenured or tenure-track position at a Canadian university are eligible to be nominated; however, they may not be nominated by the university at which they hold the tenured or tenure-track position as of the Phase 2 deadline. They may take up a position at the nominating institution once the nomination is submitted.
If a university nominates a researcher for the chair who is currently at a Canadian institution, the university must demonstrate the net benefit to the country in moving the researcher from one Canadian institution to another.
Applications to the CERC program have to be submitted through an eligible institution. Eligible institution may submit a limited number of applications to the Phase 1 of the 2012 competition. Applications to the Phase 2 competition can only be submitted upon invitation.
The program is exclusively excellence-based. No special consideration is given to applications based on region, size of applying university, or factors other than those noted in the following criteria:
Universities invited to participate in Phase 2 have the opportunity to nominate world-class researchers. The selection is based on the highest standards of research excellence, and nominations are assessed based on the following criteria:1. Quality of the nominee
Chairs are awarded in the four priority research areas outlined in the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy, as well as in other key areas of benefit to Canadians. Proposals are invited from a broad range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities; natural sciences and engineering; and health and related sciences.
For the 2012 competition, the 11 new chairs will be allocated as follows:
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Phase 1 applications and Phase 2 nominations to the program undergo a multilevel peer review. The selection is based on the highest standards of research excellence.
If appropriate, national and international experts will be asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Phase 1 applications in relation to the evaluation criteria. The evaluations are provided to the review panel, along with all nomination materials, for further evaluation.
Appropriate experts, selected both nationally and internationally, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals in relation to the selection criteria. The panel may also conduct interviews with university delegations as part of the evaluation. The evaluations are provided to the selection board, along with all proposal materials, for further evaluation.
A prestigious and distinguished arms-length selection board assesses the proposals to determine which ones represent the best strategic investment that can be made through the program. In the context of the CERC program, an investment is strategic when it:
The majority of the selection board members are world-renowned international and Canadian experts. The chair and co-chair of the selection board are distinguished Canadians. Other members include the vice-chair of CIHR's governing council, the vice-president of NSERC's council, the vice-president of SSHRC's governing council, and the deputy minister of Industry Canada as an observer.
In Phase 1, the selection board recommends the approval of up to 11 applications. These recommendations are provided to the tri-agency steering committee, which approves the successful Phase 1 applications.
Tri-agency steering committee
The steering committee is composed of the presidents of CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (as an observer), and the deputy ministers of Industry and Health Canada. The committee reviews the evaluation process to ensure that it was rigorous, objective, transparent and consistent with the objectives of the program. The steering committee approves Phase 1 applications based on the recommendations from the selection board.
Universities that submit successful Phase 1 applications are invited to submit Phase 2 nominations. If more than 11 applications meet the expectations of excellence set out for the program, the selection board will rank an additional slate of Phase 1 applications beyond the top 11. In the event that a university fails to recruit a researcher to their CERC position, one of the Phase 1 applications on the ranked reversion list will be invited to submit a Phase 2 nomination.
Appropriate experts, selected both nationally and internationally, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Phase 2 nominations in relation to the selection criteria. The evaluations are provided to the review panel, along with all nomination materials, for further evaluation.
Expert reviewers review criteria one, two and three. The quality of institutional recruitment process (criterion four) is evaluated separately by a distinct set of reviewers.
Members of the Phase 2 review panel are national and international experts, and may include members from the Phase 1 review panel. The Phase 2 review panel evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the nominations in relation to the selection criteria 1,2 and 3. The evaluations are provided to the selection board, along with all proposal materials, for further evaluation.
The selection board reviews the quality of institutional recrutment process, ensures that the standards of excellence established for the program are respected and that the proposals under evaluation reflect the strategic priorities set out by the government. The board provides recommendations for support to the tri-agency steering committee, which approves the successful Phase 2 nominations.
Tri-agency steering committee
The steering committee reviews the evaluation process to ensure that it was rigorous, objective, transparent and consistent with the objectives of the CERC program. The committee approves up to 11 successful nominees based on the recommendations of the selection board.