Concordia is ready for CFI
Concordia is entitled to about 1 per cent of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funds, and Dean of Graduate Studies Claude Bédard reports that research proposals are not in short supply.
One category, called New Opportunities, is reserved for new faculty members, and the first round of applications are now in. "We have our four applications for the first lap, and they look like good ones," Bédard said. Two are in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and two in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.
All the categories are expected to be highly competitive. In the next round of New Opportunities, Bédard said, universities will be allowed to apply, leaving the name of the faculty member blank, because the researcher hasn't been hired yet.
The major category is called Institutional Innovations, and is broken into two sub-categories, one below and one above the value of $350,000. The deadline for this category is May 27. (For the projects over $350,000, only a summary of the full proposal is required by the deadline.)
While Bédard said it is premature to talk specifically about projects, "we will have two in the under-$350,000 category for sure, one from Arts and Science, and one from Engineering and Computer Science." He also revealed that Concordia is interested in participating in an inter-university project based at the Université du Québec à Montréal called RISQ, which would ensure a robust computer network among Quebec universities.
"The good thing about the CFI is that it's a fund-matching program," Bédard said. "The CFI will provide 40 per cent of the funding, leaving 60 per cent for the university to raise. But the province could provide 40 per cent of that, leaving only 20 per cent to be raised by the university itself."
In fact, Quebec has promised to do that, but only by reallocating money already budgeted for education, health and social services, or science and technology. "Quebec looks at it as expenditures they would have to make in any case, but they will get more mileage out of their money because of the CFI, and be able to spend more on universities."
Concordia's applications are being processed by a steering committee led by Bédard and comprising Provost and Vice-Rector Research Jack Lightstone, the four associate deans for research, Director of Research Services Erica Besso, Capital Campaign Executive Vice-Chair Donat Taddeo and Executive Secretary of the SGS Joanne Beaudoin.
The presence of the working head of the Capital Campaign ensures coordination with several major projects on the campaign's wish-list, including new academic buildings. Conceivably, the Capital Campaign could supply the University's share