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Government of Canada Celebrates Latest Recipients of Prestigious Graduate Scholarships

KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire -08/30/12)- Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today highlighted the recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Canada's most prestigious scholarships for doctoral students, while touring a laboratory at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

"This announcement demonstrates the Harper Government's ongoing commitment to attracting and retaining the world's best researchers," said Parliamentary Secretary Leitch. "Our Government's investment in graduate students is helping build a culture of innovation and achievement, which strengthens our economy and reinforces Canada as the destination of choice for cutting-edge research."

Jay Jantz from Queen's University, a recipient in today's announcement, is conducting research aimed at removing obstacles to treating Parkinson's disease, an incurable degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, which affects more than 6.3 million people worldwide.

"I am extremely grateful to the Government of Canada for awarding me the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship," said Jay Jantz. "There is so much fantastic research going on in this country, and so many deserving students, that I feel tremendously honoured to be selected. Receiving the Vanier Scholarship will give me new opportunities to expand my research and career aspirations, and I very much hope that my contributions will in some way repay this."

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, introduced by the Government of Canada in Budget 2008, aim to attract and retain world-class scholars and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. This year, 156 Vanier scholars from 29 universities were announced, including graduate students from the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa who are studying in Canada. This announcement brings the total number of scholarships awarded since the inception of the program to 660.

The scholarships announced today are valued at $23.4 million. The total Government of Canada investment in the program to date is $98.4 million. Vanier scholars receive $50,000 annually for up to three years, and each is selected based on his or her demonstrated leadership skills, research potential and high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering or health sciences.

Vanier scholars are selected through a competitive process. Nominations are evaluated by selection committees established by Canada's three research granting agencies: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

"The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program provides world-leading doctoral candidates with the support they need to undertake outstanding research," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, president of NSERC. "Canada has positioned itself as a centre of research excellence, and the investment is enabling Canadian universities to attract the best research talent from around the world."

"These Vanier scholars will become the next generation of leaders across all sectors of society-leaders who are among the world's top doctoral students and whose pursuit of excellence in their chosen field of study will drive quality of life and innovation into the future," said Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. "We are privileged to have these scholars in Canada, and through this program we are saying loud and clear that Canada is a major competitor for intellectual talent on the world stage."

"The recipients of these Vanier scholarships will be at the forefront of discoveries that will benefit Canadians and the world," said Alain Beaudet, president of CIHR. "For the next three years, their funding will enable them to advance knowledge in health sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and natural sciences. Their contributions will help enhance Canada's stature as a global centre of excellence in research, innovation and higher education."

A complete list of the 2012 Vanier scholarship recipients is available online at www.vanier.gc.ca.