Government of Canada invests $506 million into AI, computer science research

lab research
University of Calgary, University of Victoria, Memorial University to secure research funding.

The Government of Canada is making a commitment of $506 million into the country’s pool of researchers. The funding is being made through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Research programs.

A total of around 69 institutions were granted with funding from the Discovery Grants program this year, representing more than 1,725 researchers.

Researchers from across Canada will receive over $430 million of this cumulative amount to continue research programs in a wide variety of disciplines such as artificial intelligence, computer science, climate change, and biology.

The $506 million also includes $73.8 million to provide researchers with one-time, one-year extensions to their existing Discovery Research grants. The federal government is also allocating $850,000 for 28 researchers to promote and maintain a diversified base of high-quality research in small universities across Canada.

Discovery grants are awarded to ongoing research programs with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. Funding provided through Discovery are typically five years in duration and considered “grants in aid” or research as they provide operating funds and can facilitate access to other funding opportunities but are not meant to support the full costs of a research program.

RELATED: Federal government commits $492 million in grants for virus, AI research

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne announced the over $500 million investment at the University of Ottawa, which is receiving $13.3 million and one-year COVID-19 extensions with funds for the university’s researchers. Associate professor Anne Broadbent is also receiving a Discovery Grant to create software technologies for the quantum internet.

McGill University secured $26.5 million from NSERC’s latest investment, which will support field geologist and associate professor Christie Rowe’s research in promoting public outreach efforts on prehistoric earthquakes and reducing their damage.

NSERC funds projects and project leaders that are searching for scientific and technical breakthroughs that can benefit Canada. The organization claims that it backs 70 percent of Canada’s researchers through Discovery investments.

Each year, NSERC said it doles out 9,200 grants, scholarships, and fellowships for research.

In 2020, the federal government announced that it is providing up to $492 million through NSERC to Canadian researchers studying viruses, AI, and other fields of research. That investment was part of a $4 billion increase for research in the 2018 budget, which included an additional investment of more than $1.7 billion over five years.

Featured image from the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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