PDF Version (2.16 MB) *

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 almost $169 million in health and related life sciences in 2009- 10.
  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) invest approximately $1 billion annually for translation of new knowledge and to nurture talent.
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) currently funds over 1,100 life sciences projects.
  • Toronto has the largest faculty of medicine in North America, producing more peer-reviewed publications than any other medical centre in the world.
  • Canada’s health sciences research community includes over 30,000 investigators in 16 medical schools and over 100 teaching hospitals and research institutes.

Canada is a leader in life sciences research

Canada is a global leader in digital radiography, in vitro diagnostics, cardiovascular devices, dental implants and materials, and home health-care products. We have proven research strengths in areas such as genomics, bio-informatics, immuno-therapies and neuroscience. Canada’s position as a biotechnology leader – one of the top five countries in the world – is a reflection of our world-class credentials.

Canadian medical researchers have been at the forefront of regenerative medicine since the 1960s. James Edgar Till and Ernest Armstrong McCulloch were the first to identify the hematopoietic stem cell. Today, several of the world’s leading stem cell biologists are located in Canada – renowned for their leadership in tissue engineering and biomaterials.

Canada’s provinces are leading the way:

Alberta has a solid foundation in the bio-industry, with public and private research laboratories working in areas that will have tremendous impact on health, agriculture and a wide variety of other industries.

British Columbia supports one of the largest biotech sectors in North America, anchored by three of the world’s first profitable biotech companies: QLT, Angiotech and Aspreva. The University of British Columbia is ranked ninth in North America and number one in Canada for producing high-quality patentable research.

Manitoba – home to the Public Health Agency of Canada – is considered fastest-growing biotechnology sector in Canada. Dominant activities include pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical production and research and development (R&D), as well as agricultural biotechnology.

New Brunswick – with plentiful forests and proximity to the sea – is a world leader in tree improvement and the development of green technologies to protect against forest pests, green fish therapies, fish brood stock and new species for aquaculture.

Nova Scotia is home to more than 50 life sciences companies, with close to 500 products competing globally and an industry pipeline with more than 300 products at various stages of development.

Ontario’s strengths are in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, medical devices and the fields of agricultural biotechnology and biomaterials. The MaRS Discovery District in Toronto is dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of new discoveries across Canada.

Prince Edward Island is a leading centre for bio-actives R&D and commercialization of products for health and nutrition. It has established an outstanding collaborative environment for business, research, academia and government organizations to work in partnership.

Quebec is spearheading genomics research and has solid research infrastructure anchored by the Canada’s Biotechnology Research Institute, McGill University and Génome Québec’s Innovation Centre. More than 300 public research health groupsand some 75 research centres operate in the province.

Saskatchewan is using biotechnology to grow hardier, more productive crops, understand how infectious diseases work, and develop cleaner sources of energy from grains, oilseeds and forest waste. It is also home to two world-class universities, as well as the Innovation Place and Regina Research Parks.

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.

  • The Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen), based at McMaster University, focuses on catalyzing and supporting discovery, development, networking, capacity building, commercialization and knowledge translation to reduce the socio-economic burden of allergic and related immune diseases.
  • NeuroDevNet, at the University of British Columbia, strives to better understand the causes of neurological deficits, train a new generation of researchers, and translate new knowledge into improved measurement, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. www.neurodevnet.ca
  • The Stem Cell Network, led by the University of Ottawa, is a catalyst for enabling translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products and public policy. www.stemcellnetwork.ca
  • www.nce-rce.gc.ca

Canadian Universities ranked in the Top 50 in the world!

For the areas of clinical, pre-clinical and health by the Times Higher Education 2011-12 world rankings:

  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • Université de Montréal
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Toronto

For the area of life sciences by the Times Higher Education 2011-12 world rankings:

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

People like you are making a difference

Dr. Hassan Anwarul
PhD in Mechanical Engineering
University of Alberta, 2010

“I chose Canada for my doctoral study because of its reputation as the home for some of the world’s foremost research-intensive universities. Through unique interdisciplinary research, I helped develop a new drug to reduce droplets released during coughing to eliminate the spread of airborne diseases.

I was offered a job even before graduating as a research scientist for Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, the leading research institute of Alberta’s provincial government. I have since moved on to work for Champion Technologies, one of the largest chemical suppliers in the world.”

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
  • Iinformation and communications technologies
  • natural resources and energy


Canada Excellence Research Chairs pursuing life sciences work in Canada

These leading international scholars are benefiting from CERC funding:

Dr. Oliver Ernst – Structural neurobiology
Dr. Oliver Ernst’s work at the University of Toronto aims to understand how nerve cell receptors work on the molecular level to provide insight into their role in the development of neurological and other types of degenerative diseases.

Dr. Matthew Farrer – Neurogenetics and translational neuroscience
At The University of British Columbia, Dr. Matthew Farrer is pioneering new strategies for early detection and improved treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and will introduce a focus on degenerative disorders in children. He will establish a research centre for applied neurogenetics to study the molecular origins of brain diseases using new genetic and computing technologies.

Dr. Michael Houghton – Virology 
Dr. Michael Houghton and his team at the University of Alberta are developing low-cost prophylactic vaccines against the hepatitis C virus and therapeutic vaccines against hepatitis B (HBV). Houghton hopes to improve current HBV treatment methods and significantly reduce treatment time. He will also investigate a potential infectious basis for various human diseases that have so far remained uncharacterized.

Dr. Adrian Owen – Cognitive neuroscience and imaging 
Dr. Adrian Owen is testing new theoretical models at The University of Western Ontario and is using functional neuroimaging to detect and measure brain activity in brain-injured patients. He will also develop new brain-computer interfaces that will allow these patients to communicate with the outside world. In addition, Owen will study the cognitive deficits in patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Dr. Marcel Babin – Marine optics and remote sensing 
Dr. Marcel Babin and his team at Université Laval are using the most recent advances in satellite remote sensing to develop new ways to monitor change, create advanced computer models of Arctic ecosystems, and develop powerful new tools to archive and analyze the vast stream of research data about Canada’s new Arctic frontier.

Dr. Frederick Roth – Integrative biology
Dr. Frederick Roth leads a research team at the University of Toronto that is developing new technology for discovering gene functions, the pathways genes encode and the relation of genes to human disease. At the same time, the team is developing new computational methods for integrating the results of diverse, large-scale experiments.

Healthy mothers!

Diana Sanchez Hernandez, Mexico – Canada-Mexico Scholarship
Pursuing a PhD in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, to study the effect of Vitamin A in maternal diets on the expression of genes regulating food intake in brain regions.

612 Research Chairsactively conduct life sciences studies at colleges and universities across Canada.

Life sciences research in action

New and improved bandages
Groupe CTT, in association with Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, has developed silver-based medical tissues and antibacterial bandages for treating infections, wounds and burns. The team has developed expertise in synthesizing silver salt nanoparticles or nanocrystals that can be encapsulated, leading to excellent adhesion and performance of the silver coating.

Surgery in 3D
Researchers at the University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, in association with Canadian space-arm manufacturer MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, have developed a robotic arm that allows surgeons to conduct intricate procedures guided by 3D images of a patient undergoing magnetic resonance imaging – or MRI. This technology first is also proven to reduce patient recovery time. The first operation was successfully completed in May 2008.

Making blood from human skin
Researchers at McMaster University’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute have developed a process to convert skin directly into blood. This breakthrough will allow patients to use their own skin as a source of blood for surgery, cancer therapy, or treating other blood disorders. Clinical trials are planned to start as early as 2012.

I-THINK Research
Dr. Gwadry-Sridhar, Director of I-THINK Research at Lawson Health Research Institute, has developed computer-based tools for early detection of chronic disease and predicting risk of non-adherence to medication. I-THINK and India (Simulation Technologies) have partnered to develop surgical training techniques to improve safety and efficiency in healthcare.

Tissue engineering
World-leading tissue engineering researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a biodegradable “scaffold” that facilitates and speeds bone tissue regeneration, and have introduced a novel technique for growing nerve cells in the laboratory – a breakthrough that could help restore movement in people suffering from paralysis.

Canadians decode breast cancer genome
By sequencing the genomes of tumour tissues, BC Cancer Agency researchers, in British Colombia have shown how primary tumours are a mosaic of cells containing different mutations that then evolve. The discovery opens new doors to fight cancer through personalized treatments that target the genetic makeup of primary and metastatic tumours.

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.

Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements for holders of Canada Graduate Scholarships
Additional support for Canadian citizens or permanent residents who already hold a Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level.

CIHR Doctoral Foreign Study Awards
Support top-ranked doctoral students studying abroad.

CIHR Fellowships
Support post-doctoral or post-health professional degree candidates in their placements in Canada or abroad.

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 and 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.

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.

Life sciences research bodies

Genome Canada 
Offers primary funding and an information resource for genomics and proteomics in Canada.

Health Canada 
Provides national leadership in enhancing healthy living, responding to the changing nature of health issues, and promoting disease prevention.

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

National Research Council Canada (NRC) 
NRC institutes in the field of life sciences specialize in the development of biopharmaceutical and medical devices and foster international research linkages.

Funding Programs

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 
Support over 14,000 researchers and trainees in the creation of new health research knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians.

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Supports more than 7,000 projects across Canada that lead to breakthroughs in areas such as health.

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

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.

* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.