Researchers and students at the University of Victoria will receive more than $13.5 million in grants and scholarships this year from the Government of Canada through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Nearly $4.4 million of the funding will go toward the first two years of operating expenses for the UVic-led NEPTUNE Canada project, the world’s first regional cabled ocean observatory.

Federal Minister of Industry Jim Prentice, the minister responsible for NSERC, made the announcement at UVic today, unveiling the results of NSERC’s 2008 grants and scholarships awards, which will see more than $535 million distributed to over 9,900 professors and students at more than 60 higher education institutions across Canada. At UVic, NSERC is providing $11,146,764 of funding for 72 research projects and $2,354,800 for 115 scholarships.

“There are three challenges at the heart of science, technology and innovation today: attracting the best minds, funding the most cutting-edge research, and commercializing the best ideas. By unveiling Canada’s new Science and Technology Strategy last year, our Government is addressing each of these issues,” says Prentice. “I’m proud to announce this research funding today which builds on our strategy—we’re directly addressing the first of these two challenges, and laying the groundwork for the third.”

“We are extremely grateful for NSERC’s support as it will help take UVic’s scientific and engineering research to an even higher level,” says UVic President David Turpin. “Not only will it assist UVic researchers in tackling the major issues of today—such as global change and sustainability—but it will also help our students grow into the leaders of tomorrow.”

“We’re delighted to receive this financial support for our initial operating phase,” says Chris Barnes, project director of NEPTUNE Canada. “This allows Canada to lead the way in a new era of wiring the oceans. The new scientific discoveries and technology developments will transform ocean sciences, lead to new commercialization opportunities, and enhance public policy and education.”

NSERC (http://nserc.ca/) is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The University of Victoria (www.uvic.ca) is a leading Canadian research university, with a reputation as a centre of innovative and interdisciplinary research.