Minister Holder Announces Investment in Quantum Materials Research and Future Technologies

The University of British Columbia awarded major grant from Canada First Research Excellence Fund competition

July 30, 2015—Vancouver, British Columbia—Tri-Agency Institutional Programs

Canada could be propelled to the forefront of quantum materials research thanks to a legacy investment by the government into a new research initiative at the University of British Columbia. The Quantum Matter Institute, which is already acknowledged as a global leader in its field, will use the funds to explore and develop high-tech quantum materials that could lead to pioneering technology in Canada in computing and electronic devices.

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 universities and colleges.

The $66.5-million federal investment in UBC’s “Quantum Materials and Future Technologies” initiative builds on the strengths of Canada’s top physics institutes and computer technology organizations, including TRIUMF Lab, the Canadian Light Source, and the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy. The initiative will also expand new and existing international partnerships, including especially the prestigious Max Planck—UBC Centre for Quantum Materials.

Quantum materials have a wide range of electronic and magnetic properties, and further research into these materials could lead to pioneering technology in Canada. The more efficient and powerful computing and electronic devices set to stem from the Institute include high-performance batteries and supercapacitors, ultra-low-power but high-speed transistors, and ultrasensitive biosensors.

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.
  • Since 2006, the Government has invested more than $13 billion in new resources to support basic and applied research, talent development, research infrastructure, and innovative activities in the private sector.
  • 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. UBC’s Quantum Matter Institute will push Canada to become a world leader in quantum research, develop new industries around this revolutionary field, and create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians.”

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

“The Canada First Research Excellence Fund has provided Canadian universities 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 groundbreaking 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

“We are thrilled with the federal government’s vision to invest $66.5 million to help establish UBC as a global centre for high-tech quantum materials research. The groundbreaking scientific discoveries in this field have the potential to create practical applications that could spur new industries and employment here and abroad and provide significant public benefits in areas like health and the environment.”

—Arvind Gupta, President and Vice-chancellor, University of British Columbia

UBC’s quantum matter community is extremely excited about today’s funding announcement. Support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will propel our Quantum Matter Institute (QMI) to the very forefront of the field internationally. By enabling us to fully exploit QMI’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and further strengthening our international partnerships, especially with the Max Planck Society of Germany, this Fund will advance Canada’s position as a global leader in quantum materials and future technologies.”

—Andrea Damascelli, Director, Quantum Matter Institute, University of British Columbia

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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

Heather Amos
UBC Public Affairs
Tel.: 604-822-3213
Cell: 604-828-3867