The University of Alberta is leading the way with a solid showing in a shortlist for a prestigious federal research funding program.

The shortlist was announced in late April for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs funding program, leaving only 40 proposals left, five of which are from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Lorne Babiuk, University of Alberta vice-president, research, said that having five out of 40 remaining proposals really shows the high level of work being done at the school and it was reflected in the number of their bids that go to the shortlist.

“It’s really fantastic (with) the quality of the proposals,” he said. “It really talks of the quality of the facility we have and the quality of the research that’s being done and everyone involved.”

The CERC was set up in 2007 with the intent to strengthen Canada’s ability to attract top researchers and develop research programs in environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and information and communication technologies.

In December of 2008, 139 programs had applied for the funding, with nine letters of intent from the U of A.

From those 139, the number was cut to 40, and of that number, 20 of those will get the funding from the program. While Babiuk said the school is competitive and wants as many of their selections to be picked, they realize getting all five would be extremely difficult.

“We know we won’t get all five in, but we sure would like to get three or four,” said Babiuk. “Odds are, though, we won’t get all five.”

Babiuk explained that the funding program only works with institutions that already have a world-wide reputation in their respective areas of research, so a combination of high-class hiring and quality of work went a long way to their high number of remaining bids.

“Over the last decade, we were able to attract very high-quality people that gave us a solid foundation,” Babiuk said. “And now with CERC funding, we can build higher on that foundation.”

“Hopefully we can bring in greater success.”

Latest From ...