Canada 150 Research Chairs: a new opportunity for Concordia
Concordia is committed to next-generation learning and research — a strategic vision that anticipates the needs and aspirations of a rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world.
As the university heads into 2017-18, it has chosen to focus on three broad areas of research that address new funding opportunities from the federal government, that encompass existing and emerging strengths across all faculties, and that differentiate Concordia from other institutions.
Those areas are health and health technologies; smart, sustainable cities and communities; and digital humanities.
“Our focus is on convergence,” says Graham Carr, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs. “Convergence of expertise, convergence of space, convergence of opportunities — that’s the critical thing.”
The latest of those opportunities? The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program.
In celebration of the sesquicentennial, the Government of Canada is investing $117.6 million in globally competitive research and innovation.
The program’s primary objectives are to strengthen Canada’s research capacity through the recruitment and retention of top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers; enhance Canada’s reputation as a global centre for science, research and innovation excellence; improve Canadian universities’ capacity to generate and apply new knowledge; and improve the training and development of highly qualified research personnel.
It will create between 15 and 35 research chair positions with a seven-year tenure in two categories — $350,000 a year and $1 million a year.
“I think the government is saying, ‘We are a society that believes very deeply in the value and importance of world-class research,’” Carr explains.
“If you scout across the world, there are not many comparable programs. And at Concordia, we’ve already seen a boost in terms of our ability to recruit international scholars and students. People want to come to Canada, to Concordia, to Montreal…”
Justin Powlowski, interim vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, sees a direct connection between the Canada 150 program and Concordia.
“We’re interested in bringing a variety of international perspectives to our strategic research priorities,” he says. “They reflect our strengths in — and commitment to — transdisciplinary research.”
Chosen in collaboration with the deans of all four faculties, these research directions will serve as the basis for recruitment under the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program. They capitalize on Concordia leadership through initiatives such as the Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies, the PERFORM Centre and the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology.
Canadians, and non-Canadians living and working outside of Canada, can apply to Concordia under any of the three areas.
“By synergizing with people from around the world and encouraging research across borders and boundaries, we can really move knowledge forward at Concordia,” Powlowski says.
“Indeed, the $52.75 million that the Governments of Quebec and Canada recently invested in our new applied science research facility underscores that we are a force to be reckoned with.”