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Canada: Research that works

You’ve got ideas to change the world. We’ve got the research infrastructure, expertise and educational programs to help you do it – and we’re willing to invest in you to help make innovation a reality.

Beyond a land of possibilities – a place where research becomes reality

When you pursue your academic goals in Canada, you become a valued member of a scientific community that is internationally recognized for excellence and enjoys a long-standing tradition of delivering on discovery.

Whether you continue in research, apply your work in the private sector, stay in Canada, follow further opportunities abroad or return to your roots to give something back – Canada can be a proactive partner in realizing your goals.

Through scholarships, awards and fellowships to initiatives like our Networks of Centres of Excellence that promote international collaboration and industry partnerships, Canada brings the best and brightest minds together to find groundbreaking solutions for lasting impact. Canada is the global knowledge partner of choice.

Explore the possibilities

Discover the wealth of programs offered at Canada’s colleges and universities nationwide and see which industry partnerships are active right now. Many links are provided in this document to guide your search. Step up to make your contribution and join the thousands of international students and researchers who choose Canada as a springboard to success!

Did you know?

You may work to gain valuable experience or help finance your stay while you study in Canada.

As an international student who has graduated from a post-secondary program in Canada, there are permanent immigration options available to you.

For further information: www.cic.gc.ca

Fast Facts

  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) invested over $164 million in environmental sciences and technologies in 2009-10.
  • Canada has more biomass resources per capita than any other country.
  • Canada is a world leader in third-party sustainable forest management certification, with more certified land area than any other country.
  • Canada has been a global leader in environmental research for over 50 years and maintains a high-rate of co-publication with U.S. researchers.
  • Canadian universities and colleges attract more private sector R&D investment than those in other nations.

Canada is a leader in environmental research

Canada has been a leader in environmental research for more than half a century, and this sector remains a national priority. We are internationally recognized for expertise in ocean research, with a variety of projects such as NEPTUNE Canada and the Ocean Tracking Network. We have also led several important studies in the Arctic region, signifi cantly contributing to the International Polar Year (2007-08).

In addition, Canada is an international leader in the following environment related sectors:


Canadian innovations have enabled the commercial production of organic chemicals from biomass feedstocks like corn, soy, wheat and biowaste. Hemp and fl ax crops are being converted for high-value applications such as textiles, plastic composites, insulation and paper, while residues from wheat straw are recycled into straw board, concrete reinforcing, filler for plastic composites and animal bedding. These innovations are supported by Canada’s many agricultural biotechnology centres of excellence, including those in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec.

Air pollution control

Canada is developing high-tech air analysis equipment and modeling software (which provide real-time information about emissions levels), as well as new carbon absorption systems and highly efficient dust collection and suppression systems. Our expertise extends to emissions solutions for specific sectors, including the pulp and paper, energy generation and mineral processing industries.

Green buildings

Canada has an international reputation for advanced building design and engineering, especially for extreme climates. Our expertise in advanced building techniques and wood structures continues to grow, based on a strongly interlinked national and international research and industry network.

Waste management

Canada is a frontrunner in recycling and waste-to-energy technologies – key advancements for the future of the waste-management industry.

Networks of Centres of Excellence bring partners together

  • These world-renowned centres enable researchers to collaborate with international institutions and industry partners on specific R&D challenges.
  • ArcticNet, headquartered at Université Laval, Québec City, has adopted a revolutionary approach to studying the impact of climate change along the Arctic coast.
  • The Canadian Water Network at the University of Waterloo is a leader in water resource management. Established in 2001, it connects Canadian and international water researchers with decision makers engaged in priority water management issues.
  • GreenCentre Canada, based at Queen’s University, Kingston, is a Centre of Excellence in commercialization research that is transforming green chemistry breakthroughs into marketable products. www.greencentrecanada.com
  • www.nce-rce.gc.ca

Canadian Universities ranked in the Top 100 in the world!

Universities recognized for their environmental sciences programs by the Quacquarelli Symonds 2011 world rankings:

  • University of Toronto
  • The University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • University of Waterloo

2007 Nobel Peace Prize
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Dr. Paul Kovacs, University of Western Ontario, and Dr. Ken Denman, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Victoria, made valuable contributions to IPCC that won the organization a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

People like you are making a difference

Dr. Yiran Peng,
PhD in Atmospheric Science,
Dalhousie University,
Nova Scotia, 2004

The sky’s the limit in atmospheric studies

Awarded the Killam Scholarship in 2000 for post-graduate studies on global warming and climate change, Dr. Yiran Peng went on to work at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, before returning to Canada in 2007 as a research associate at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia.

“It was a great time for me to have been studying and living in Canada. I gained a lot of experience in my research work and benefited from many aspects to enhance my scientific expertise and broaden my professional knowledge. Communication with world-class scientists helped to expand my horizons widely.”

Canada Excellence Research Chairs program attracts top international scholars

The Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program awards 10 million dollars over seven years to support the world’s leading scholars in four strategic areas:

  • environmental sciences and technology
  • health and related life sciences
  • information and communications technologies
  • natural resources and energy, Website: www.cerc.gc.ca

Canada Excellence Research Chairs pursuing environmental work in Canada

These leading international scholars are benefi ting from CERC funding:

Dr. Ian A Gardner – Aquatic epidemiology
Dr. Ian Gardner will build on established strengths in population and aquatic health at the Atlantic Veterinary College and the University of Prince Edward Island. Gardner, together with a supporting team and network, will respond to the increasing global demand for protein, notably for healthy fish from healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Philippe Van Cappellen – Ecohydrology
Dr. Philippe Van Cappellen is working to increase understanding of how groundwater and surface waters interact, and how this interaction affects the health of human populations and aquatic ecosystems. He is based at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Howard Wheater – Water security
Dr. Howard Wheater will lead a new research institute at the University of Saskatchewan that will bring together experts in ecology, toxicology and hydrology to develop the new science and risk assessment tools needed to understand and manage the complex interactions between water, land use and climate change.

Dr. Sören Rysgaard – Arctic geomicrobiology and climate change
Leading a research team studying the effects of melting sea ice on coastal Arctic ecosystems, Dr. Søren Rysgaard is at the forefront of research into the causes and consequences of global warming. He will be joining the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba’s Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.

Environmental research in action

NEPTUNE Canada - The world’s largest cabled seafloor observatory network

Located off the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the fibre optic cable extends across the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, gathering data from a broad range of undersea environments. Information is transmitted to a data centre at the University of Victoria, where it can be accessed by scientists working anywhere in the world. NEPTUNE will further understanding of phenomena such as underwater volcanic processes and marine ecosystems, climate change and toxic algal bloom.

The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) – a $168-million conservation project

OTN will track thousands of marine animals around the world using acoustic telemetry technology, while building a record of climate change data. Headquartered at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, OTN unites leading ocean scientists around the globe and is led by Dr. Douglas Wallace, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology and a world leader in the field of climate change and its effect on oceans.

The Energy Institute at Centennial College and REGEN Energy Inc.

The Energy Institute and REGEN Energy are collaborating on a project to evaluate, refine and adapt REGEN’s patent-pending load management devices for new markets. Wireless controllers smooth a building’s electrical demand by intelligently operating cycles of fans, compressors, pumps and other large loads. Electricity users save money and energy while pollutants and greenhouse gases from generating plants are kept out of the atmosphere.

Studying ozone depletion over the Arctic via satellite

A team of scientists at the University of Waterloo is using the Canadian satellite SCISAT to advance understanding of ozone layer depletion, especially over the Arctic – a project supported by the Canadian and European space agencies and NASA. Launched in 2003, the satellite was designed and built through a partnership between Canadian universities, international researchers, industry and government. SCISAT helps monitor the effects of regulations (such as those based on the Montreal Protocol) on emissions control, as well as the use of chemicals harmful to the ozone layer.

Reducing mercury contamination in the Amazon

Dr. Donna Mergler, a researcher at the Université du Québec à Montréal, collaborated with Brazilian and Canadian researchers to determine the source and health effects of mercury contamination in the Rio Tapajós, a tributary of the Brazilian Amazon. Area residents were exposed to high levels of mercury after eating contaminated fish and suffered motor and visual impairments as a result. Mergler’s team developed strategies for maintaining nutritious diets from local resources, while reducing toxic risk. The local community is now taking steps to reduce mercury contamination caused by deforestation.

Understanding the changing Arctic environment

Since launching in 2003 as Canada’s dedicated research icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen, based at Université Laval in Québec City, has facilitated ground breaking, multidisciplinary research by a group of international scientists on climate change, sea ice, glaciers, fish distribution, contaminant transport and the impact of global warming on marine mammals. It is providing vital baseline data that are crucial for documenting how drastically the environment is changing.

A select list of Canadian government-sponsored scholarships, awards and fellowships

$323.5 MILLION in grants and fellowships awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2008-09

For undergraduate studies

Emerging Leaders in Americas Program

An exchange program for college, undergraduate and graduate students from the Americas.

For graduate and post-graduate studies

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship
Seventy Banting fellowships awarded annually in the social sciences and humanities, health research, and natural sciences and engineering.

Canada-Mexico Awards – Graduate and Post-Doctoral Programs
Specific to Mexican graduate students who wish to study for a semester or conduct a year of post-doctoral research at a Canadian university.

Canada-U.S. Fulbright Awards
For graduate and post-doctoral students, professors, professionals and teachers from the two countries who wish to explore a wide range of contemporary issues.

Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships
Financial support for highly qualified science and engineering graduates to gain research experience in industry while undertaking advanced studies in Canada.

Post-doctoral Research Fellowships
One-year fellowships for students from various countries to conduct research in Canada.

Trudeau Scholarship
Provide national or international doctoral students in the social sciences and humanities with up to $180,000 over four years.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship
Assist both Canadian and international students to pay for their studies in Canada.

For professionals

Faculty Research Program
Funds international researchers to study Canadian and/or common bilateral issues.

Human Frontier Science Program Fellowships
Canada participates in this international program, which provides opportunities for research, training and fellowships.

International Research Linkages
An awards program aimed at creating links between Canadian and international research teams.

Professional Development Awards
Available to citizens of developing countries who have a master’s, doctoral or post-doctoral degree and/or career experience and who wish to come to Canada to expand their knowledge.

Research Associates Program
The National Research Council Canada hires associate researchers with doctoral degrees or who are working toward their master’s or doctoral degree.

Visiting Fellows in Canadian Government Laboratories
Funds emerging scientists and academics to work at Canadian research institutions and laboratories.

Do you have what it takes to earn an award or a scholarship? There’s no time like the present to find out. Consult the above links.

Environmental Research Bodies

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
A national and international leader in marine safety, involved in managing ocean and freshwater resources and R&D in these fields.

Environment Canada (EC)
Specializes in wildlife and landscape science, risk assessment, and atmospheric and water science and technology.

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development.

Funding Programs

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) 
Supports more than 7,000 projects across Canada, leading to breakthroughs in areas such as the environment.

Going Global Innovation (GGI)
Promotes Canada’s innovation efforts by supporting Canadian researchers to solidify partnerships with international key players for science-based research and development projects that have commercial potential.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows and 12,000 professors every year.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
Promotes and supports post-secondary based research and training in the humanities and social sciences to enhance our understanding of modern social, cultural, technological, environmental, economic and wellness issues.

Explore the Possibilities

A comprehensive list of programs and information on education in Canada

Partnership opportunities and information on innovation projects

Profiles on cutting-edge research at institutions across Canada

International scholarships and fellowships

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Association of Community Colleges of Canada

This document is a joint collaboration between the Innovation, Science and Technology Division and the International Education and Youth Division of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

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