Minister Holder Announces Investment in Quantum Research for Revolutionary Changes in Information Processing and Advanced Materials

Université de Sherbrooke awarded major grant from Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition

July 30, 2015—Sherbrooke, Québec—Tri-Agency Institutional Programs

Canadians could soon see faster information processing capabilities and advanced materials used to create everything from improved wireless devices to new magnetic imaging tools thanks to an investment by the Government of the Canada into a new, world-leading quantum research program at the Université de Sherbrooke. This investment will benefit manufacturers while creating high-value Canadian jobs and helping to grow the quantum materials industry in Canada.

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) made the announcement as part of the government’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which supports world-leading research at Canada’s universities and colleges.

The $33.5 million federal investment for the “From Quantum Science to Quantum Technology” project draws on the strengths of Canada’s top computer technology and advanced manufacturing research institutions, businesses and organizations, including partners such as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), IBM, the Microsoft Corporation, the Lockheed Martin Corporation and Google. This investment will have lasting and tangible benefits in areas including health, information technology, manufacturing and energy.

From Quantum Science to Quantum Technology will strengthen Canada’s position as a global leader in the field of quantum technology. Already a recognized global force in areas such as quantum materials, design and fabrication, the Université de Sherbrooke will further cement its leadership role as this project aims to use quantum materials to develop MRI scanners the size of a small laptop and electricity grids that are vastly more efficient.

Today’s announcement follows an open and competitive selection process among Canadian post-secondary institutions. The competition was judged by a panel of Canadian and international scientific experts.

Quick facts

  • Launched in December 2014 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will invest $1.5 billion over seven years to propel Canadian colleges and universities to excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canadians.
  • Today’s award is part of the Fund’s first $350 million competition.
  • The Fund is administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) on behalf of the three granting agencies: the SSHRC, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
  • As set out in Economic Action Plan 2015 and the renewed science, technology and innovation strategy, the Government is committed to supporting world-class research talent and infrastructure that is essential to advanced discoveries in both the public and private sectors.


“Our government is investing in research and innovation to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians. The Université de Sherbrooke’s Quantum Science to Quantum Technology program will harness Canada’s strengths in quantum science to further advance Canadian healthcare, information technology, manufacturing and energy while creating new opportunities and jobs for Canadians.”

—Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

“The Canada First Research Excellence Fund has provided Canadian post-secondary institutions with an unparalleled opportunity to take their leading-edge research and make it the best in the world. This will set them on course to make the ground-breaking discoveries that will enhance prosperity and change the lives of Canadians and millions around the world forever.”

—Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and Chair, Canada First Research Excellence Fund Steering Committee

“This major initiative sits at the interface between quantum materials and the science of quantum computing. The research at the junction of these two themes has enormous potential for discovery and innovation as a result of cross-fertilization: new materials offering a much greater information processing potential will help in the discovery of new methods for studying and testing quantum materials. Our research program aims to create a synergy between these themes while benefitting from the engineering know-how (particularly in micro- and nano-fabrication) of the researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke. Our partnerships with high technology companies and established research centres, which are pushing the boundaries of quantum-based research, will put the Université de Sherbrooke in an excellent position on the world stage.”

—Alexandre Blais, principal investigator, Université de Sherbrooke

“Seeing the work of our quantum physics specialists being thus recognized within the context of the first inaugural Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition is an immense source of pride. This illustrates the excellence of our research teams, as well as our ability to work in partnership, fostering innovation by businesses and accelerating the transfer of knowledge towards consumer products.”

—Luce Samoisette, rector, Université de Sherbrooke

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Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Honourable Ed Holder
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
Tel.: 343-291-2700

Michael Adams
Communications Advisor
Canada First Research Excellence Fund
Tel.: 613-944-1758
Cell: 613-219-7523

Judith Lavallée Media Relations
Université de Sherbrooke
Tel.: 819-821-8000 ext. 65472
Cell: 819-578-9976