August 8, 2007
To: University Presidents, Vice-Presidents Research and Research Grants Officers
From: Mario Lamarca, Director, Life Sciences and Special Research Opportunities
Subject: Discontinuation and replacement of the University Faculty Awards (UFA) program following the 2008 competition.
Following the UFA program evaluation, completed last year, and subsequent informal consultations, NSERC has decided to realign programs aimed at addressing the under-representation of women and Aboriginal people in the natural sciences and engineering.
The women’s component of the UFA program, which began in 1999, focused on recruiting women to faculty positions in the natural sciences and engineering by identifying and supporting exceptional emerging researchers in Canada’s universities. Since then, the pool of female faculty in these institutions has approximately doubled.
In order to build on itssuccesses, NSERC has now identified the retention of female researchers as a key means of ensuring a long-term balance in faculty numbers. We will therefore turn our attention to developing a new program, which will replace the UFA program, aimed at the retention and career progression of female researchers within the natural sciences and engineering. To help inform the development process NSERC will, in the coming months, consult with universities on the specific needs of their research community.
Please note that NSERC will discontinue t he existing UFA program after the 2008 competition to devote future resources to the new program, while maintaining existing award commitments. The deadline for the final call for nominations is November 1, 2007.
A new program designed to address the under-representation of Aboriginal persons in the natural sciences and engineering is also being developed and will be announced shortly.