Guelph Team Short-Listed in CIFAR Call for Ideas

September 18, 2013 - News Release

A project led by University of Guelph researchers Paul Hebert and Kevin McCann is one of seven funding proposals short-listed in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Global Call for Ideas.

Guelph’s proposed Planetary Biodiversity Project would use DNA barcoding developed at U of G to transform biodiversity science and support evidence-based conservation for a sustainable, global bioeconomy.

The seven finalists were among 280 original submissions from around the world to CIFAR’s call for proposed research networks in complex, global problems.

Hebert and McCann are joined by a leadership team that also includes University of Edinburgh professor David Castle, University of Birmingham professor John Colbourne, and professsor Daniel Janzen from the University of Pennsylvania.

Final applications are due Feb. 28, 2014.

“We have a strong international team, and I believe we also made a compelling argument that recent technological progress in DNA sequencing and informatics is poised to transform biodiversity science,” said Hebert.

“This is not going to be an easy competition to win, as all the finalists have strong records of achievement.”

Proposals from eight countries on five continents involved social sciences, medicine, health, biological and physical sciences, humanities, policy and engineering.

“We were very pleased by the many compelling ideas that we received,” said Alan Bernstein, CIFAR president and CEO.

“The high level of the response has provided CIFAR with an excellent overview of areas of Canadian research strength and many research questions of importance to the world.”

Two to four new global networks are expected to be created, with CIFAR funding costs of program interaction.
Successful programs are supported for 10 to 15 years on average.

“CIFAR’s recognition would help biodiversity science gain a level of funding and scientific impact that has previously been lacking,” said Hebert.

“Biodiversity science has a critical role to play in ensuring the well-being of our planet. Our application is all about mobilizing a scientific community to address a global threat – a looming mass extinction.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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