CMC will manage the grant on behalf of its more than 85 members. Cash and in-kind contributions from industry and other sources are expected to match NSERC funds, for a total program of over $120 million to be delivered over five years. According to CMC president and CEO Brian Barge, the grant will add approximately $2 billion to the Canadian economy by 2010.
"This grant ensures Canada will have the highest quality human capital to provide to industry," said Barge, announcing the grant at the annual CMC symposium in October.
According to Janet Walden, NSERC vice-president of research partnerships, the grant gives Canadian researchers an advantage over their international counterparts.
"Canadian graduates will have a two-year head-start on others in the field of technology," Walden said, adding the grant represents "a world-class venture we need to build on."
The Network will advance world-class multidisciplinary microsystems research, enable the development of graduates with the microsystems expertise required by industry, and narrow the gap between research and product development to achieve greater economic and social benefits for Canadians.
NSERC is a federal agency that invests in people, discovery and innovation. With an annual budget of more than $860 million, the agency supports more than 22,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 10,000 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 600 Canadian companies to participate and invest in university research projects.
Scientists such as Dr. Karan Kaler of the University of Calgary and Dr. Mohamad Sawan of École Polytechnique de Montréal will be among the Canadian researchers who will benefit from this new investment.
Kaler relies on tools and technologies provided through the NDN that would otherwise be beyond the reach of university researchers.
"The evolution of the NDN into microsystems is critical to my research," said Kaler. "We could not develop diagnostic tools to investigate, quantify and better understand unhealthy cells in the human body without CMC."