CIFAR, CABHI among recipients of more than $850 million in federal science and research funding

Two dozen third-party science and research organizations are being backed by the new Strategic Science Fund.

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) is among 24 Canadian science and research institutions that have received a collective $858.7 million in funding over the next five years from the federal government’s new Strategic Science Fund (SSF). 

“CIFAR depends on national-level funding in order to take the risks that have led our programs to numerous profound advances in research.” 
– Stephen Toope, CIFAR CEO 

The SSF was first planned in the 2019 budget and kicked off its inaugural competition process in 2021, in which it evaluated each application on criteria such as federal priorities, national presence, governance, and demonstrable impact, and awarded winners in December 2023. 

Anita Anand, Treasury Board president, and Marci Ien, the minister for women and gender equity and youth, announced the funding at the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) on Sunday. 

The federal government said the recipients were selected through a new competitive evaluation process that saw 55 letters of intent narrowed down to 34 full applications. Those were then evaluated by sub-committees and a technical review before a final decision was made by an independent 18-person expert review panel. 

Vancouver-based Mitacs, which provides research services to public, private, and academic institutions, received the most funding at $218.1 million. Mitacs says that it connects researchers and advisors in post-secondary institutions to those in industry and society that could apply the academic research in the real world. The organization also funds research and startups. Mitacs participated in Vancouver-based foodtech startup Maia Farms’ $2.3-million pre-seed financing round earlier this month. 

The only other organization to receive more than $50 million from the SSF is Genome Canada, an independent, federally funded non-profit that was granted $154.2 million to invest in genomics research, innovation, and talent. 

Canada-based global research organization CIFAR, which has a 128-member AI Chair program, a key component of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, received $34.5 million from the SSF. The chairs appointed by CIFAR are meant to support Canadian understanding and research in the strategy’s priority areas, which include health, energy, the environment, fundamental science, and the responsible use of AI.

RELATED: Google Canada provides $2.7 million in research grants to major Canadian AI institutes CIFAR, Amii, CEIMIA

“CIFAR depends on national-level funding in order to take the risks that have led our programs to numerous profound advances in research,” CIFAR President and CEO Stephen Toope said in a statement. “I’m delighted that the support through SSF will allow our organization to continue pursuing bold ideas that drive profound impact.”

CIFAR recently received $1.3-million in grant funding from Google to support its Accelerated Decarbonization program, responsible AI research and development, and training programs for future AI scientists. According to CIFAR, its Accelerated Decarbonization program brings together experts in carbon capture, storage, and utilization to find new ways of solving climate-related problems. 

CABHI itself received $39.2 million to continue its work in accelerating the development of products and services that support aging and brain health. CABHI backed the $3.4-million CAD seed round of Toronto-based senior-care platform Homecare Hub last September.  

Other recipients of SSF funding include $34.4 million going to Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, $6 million to Age-Well, and $5 million to life sciences accelerator adMare. Last year, adMare partnered with MaRS Discovery District to lead the MaRS-adMare Therapeutics Accelerator aimed at helping biotech ventures overcome fundamental barriers, such as a lack of lab space and access to capital.

The federal government said the SSF funding will be disbursed from April 2024 to March 2029, pending finalization of contribution agreements. The next call for applications to the SSF is scheduled to take place in 2026 to 2027. 

Feature image courtesy CABHI via LinkedIn.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

0 replies on “CIFAR, CABHI among recipients of more than $850 million in federal science and research funding”