A brain gain for Canada

Scientists from top international universities such as Harvard, Imperial College London, recruited as Canada 150 Research Chairs

December 13, 2017, Ottawa, Ontario—Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat

The Government of Canada understands that if we want to build a country that is bold and innovative, we must rely on the breakthroughs of Canadian scientists and their counterparts around the world. It’s their discoveries and inventions, along with the hands-on training they provide to new generations of students, that fuel Canada’s ability to build a strong economy and grow the middle class; one that is open, diverse and welcomes the contributions of all people.

To put this value into action, the government invested $117.6 million in Budget 2017 through the new Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, a one-time funding program designed to attract the world’s most talented researchers and scholars, including Canadian expatriates, to Canada. The world’s top researchers and scholars heard the call. Now, more than 25 winning researchers have been selected through a rigorous, peer review process to build new research initiatives at Canadian universities. They will receive either $350,000 or $1 million per year for seven years, based on the costs of the research proposals submitted.

Today, at a ceremony in Ottawa, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, revealed the first wave of Canada 150 Research Chairs who will soon call our country home. They are:

  • Donna Rose Addis, who will receive $350,000 per year as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory and Aging, is going to the University of Toronto from the University of Auckland;
  • Caroline Colijn, who will receive $350,000 per year as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health, is going to Simon Fraser University from Imperial College London;
  • Miguel Ramalho-Santos, who will receive $350,000 per year as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Developmental Epigenetics, is going to the University of Toronto from the University of California, San Francisco; and
  • Margo Seltzer, who will receive $1 million per year as the Canada 150 Research Chair in Computer Systems, is going to The University of British Columbia from Harvard University.

The first four newly recruited Canada 150 Research Chairs will further knowledge in areas such as brain health, computer science, infectious disease and human development. They will also equip students with the advanced skills they need to become the next generation of researchers, doctors, engineers and software developers who will power a bolder, brighter future for all people.


“I want to congratulate these talented international scientists and researchers who have accepted positions as Canada 150 Research Chairs. Our government is proud to support them and will continue encouraging our country’s brain gain by promoting our openness, diversity and willingness to welcome the scientists and strivers of the world.”
—Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“Canada is succeeding in attracting top international talent. The Canada 150 Research Chairs announced today chose Canada as the best place to lead their research and pursue ground-breaking science. That says something about the culture of innovation in Canada and how important it is to building a bold and bright future for all Canadians.”
—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada invested $117.6 million in Budget 2017 to launch the Canada 150 Research Chairs competition, a one-time funding program designed to boost Canada’s brain gain.
  • Over 60 per cent of the winning researchers being recommended for Canada 150 Research Chairs are women, and over 37 per cent are Canadian expatriates. The successful researchers come from a variety of countries around the world, including Australia, Austria, France, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation will provide additional investments of $780,000 to support Canada 150 Research Chairs among those announced today.

Associated links

Follow the Canada 150 Research Chairs on Twitter: @CRC_CRC

Follow Minister Duncan on social media:

Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin


Ann-Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Julia Gualtieri
Media Relations Advisor
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council