B.C. gains 2 world-renowned scientists as part of new federal hiring initiative

The federal government has announced the hiring of four scientists — including two for B.C. — as part of the Canada 150 research program meant to increase Canada's academic reputation.

$117.6 million one-time federal investment aims to enhance Canada's academic reputation

The four new Canada research chairs (from left to right) Miguel Ramalho-Santos, Margo Seltzer, Donna Rose Addis, and Caroline Colijn, pose with Science Minister Kristin Duncan (centre). (@sciencemin/Instagram)

The federal government announced the hiring of four world-renowned scientists as part of its Canada 150 Research Chair program — including two accomplished researchers for B.C.

The federal government created the Canada 150 Research program with a one-time investment of $117.6 million. It is meant to attract international talent to Canada.

Kirsty Duncan, the minister of science, announced the appointments in a ceremony in Ottawa today.

In a statement, she congratulated the four scientists and said the federal government would "continue [to] encourage our country's brain gain by promoting our openness, diversity and willingness to welcome the scientists and strivers of the world." 

The University of Toronto will receive two new researchers: neuroscience researcher Donna Rose Addis and genetics researcher Miguel Ramalho-Santos.

B.C. will also welcome two new researchers: infectious disease specialist Caroline Colijn from Imperial College London will be going to Simon Fraser University and computer scientist Margo Seltzer from Harvard will be going to the University of British Columbia.

'Planets are aligning'

Seltzer spoke with CBC's The Early Editionhost Rick Cluff Wednesday morning, saying though it would be hard to leave Harvard where she had spent the past 25 years, this was the perfect opportunity.

"We're seeing an influx of really high tech companies into Vancouver in the area of computer systems in particular," she said.

"In many ways, the planets are aligning that a milestone in my life happens to come at a time when Vancouver is about to emerge as a leader in many ways and the Canada 150 Research Chair kind of made it all happen and possible."

Seltzer, who will receive $1 million per year for seven years to fund her research proposal, says she'll be starting a computer systems laboratory to support undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate researchers on the University of British Columbia campus.

"I'm hoping this will be really attractive and help us recruit the best young faculty that is available," she said.

Seltzer will be joining the faculty next September.

At least 25 researchers have been selected for the Canada Research Chair program.

With files from The Early Edition