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Summer & Winter Schools

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Idea factories.

These intense, multi-day sessions are built for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to learn skills, build networks, and spur new thinking. CIFAR programs may elect to hold a summer or winter school.

Interdisciplinary interactions

Pursuing the most exciting and important research questions requires scholars who can move beyond their own research areas to take a fresh look at a problem. CIFAR helps early-career researchers think and work outside their silos by facilitating dialogue between diverse disciplines and immersing them in our research programs for a truly enriching experience.

Leadership development

Excellent management and communication skills will be key to success in the demanding and competitive world of research. Through annual meetings of CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars from across CIFAR’s research programs, and additional learning experiences supported by the Love Family Leadership Development Fund, CIFAR designs one-on-one and peer-group training opportunities on themes related to the leadership development needs of Global Scholars.

Engagement in global communities

Tomorrow’s research leaders must understand how to engage with key stakeholders in their communities around the world, with government, industry, or the general public. CIFAR provides early-career researchers opportunities to refine the skills they develop, interacting with leaders both within and outside of academia.

Idea factories

Deep Learning Reinforcement Learning Summer School (DLRLSS)

With two decades of incubating the best ideas in AI, this week-long intensive is produced jointly through the CIFAR Learning in Machines & Brains program and the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy.

The DLRLSS is held annually and rotates between the three national AI Institutes: AmiiMila, and the Vector Institute.

Coming: Summer 2020, Montreal

Quantum Materials Summer School

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows discuss the latest topics in quantum materials in this annual three-day event. Trainees must be in the labs of researchers associated with the CIFAR Quantum Materials program or affiliated with partner organizations.

Coming: Summer 2020

The CIFAR Neuroscience of Consciousness Winter School

A unique, four-day event where tomorrow’s neuroscience leaders work closely with world-class researchers studying the neuroscience of consciousness.

Coming: December 2020

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada

Man working at an Open Scope Laboratory
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Reimagining the world

CIFAR supports early-career researchers to accelerate discovery and cultivate the next generation of research leaders.

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OUR programs

In 2020/2021, the CIFAR research programs eligible to accept applications are:

Azreli foundation logo

This program is generously supported by the Azrieli Foundation and the Love Family Leadership Development Fund.

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada

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OUR NAME and founding principles

Originally founded as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, we were known as CIAR until 2007, when we adopted the acronym CIFAR, to invoke long-term thinking (see far) and to reflect our increasingly global outlook.

As first articulated by John Leyerle, CIFAR would serve to “foster basic, conceptual research of high quality at an advanced level across the full spectrum of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and life sciences.”

Now we are based at the MaRS Discovery District, in the heart of Canada's innovation corridor. The building pictured, at 434 University Avenue, was our first home.

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our research programs

Extraordinary minds, working together

Throughout the years, our research programs have convened over 1,000 of the world's top researchers to address important questions.

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada

Summer & Winter Schools

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Long-term interdisciplinary collaboration.

CIFAR’s research programs bring together international, interdisciplinary teams over a sustained period of time to work on complex questions.

Programs are led by a director or co-directors, engage approximately 20-40 fellows, associate fellows, and advisors from around the world, and two or three CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars.

CIFAR research programs provide long-term opportunities for collaboration and the freedom to explore new questions. Programs are funded on a 5-year renewable basis and meet twice annually. Some programs run for decades.

For more on how programs are selected, read about our Global Call for Ideas.

For more on our funding mechanism for short-term research endeavours within our programs, read about our Catalyst Funds.

 

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Our research program

CIFAR's research programs address critical questions across four theme areas:

Life & Health

2014, 2020

Humans & the Microbiome

How do microbes that live in and on us affect our health, development and even behaviour?

2019

Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities

What might we uncover in an unknown biosphere?

2014

Molecular Architecture of Life

How does life originate and what are the processes that make life possible?

Individuals & Society

2014, 2020

Brain, Mind & Consciousness

What are the origins and mechanisms of consciousness?

2019

Boundaries, Membership & Belonging

Is it possible to have a world without “us” and “them”?

2003, 2007, 2012, 2019

Child & Brain Development

How do childhood experiences affect lifelong health?

2019

Innovation, Equity & The Future of Prosperity

How can innovation be beneficial to all?

Information & Matter

2014, 2020

Bio-inspired Solar Energy

How can we learn from nature to harvest energy from the sun?

2004, 2008, 2014, 2019

Learning in Machines & Brains

How do we understand intelligence and build intelligent machines?

2002, 2007, 2012, 2019

Quantum Information Science

How do we harness the power of quantum mechanics to improve information processing?

1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2019

Quantum Materials

How could quantum materials transform our society?

Earth & Space

2019

Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration

How do we understand the life, groundwater and environment deep below the surface of a planet?

1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016

Gravity & the Extreme Universe

What is extreme gravity, and how can it help us understand the origin of the universe?

The following programs are concluding activities in the fiscal year 2019-2020:

2005, 2010, 2016

Genetic Networks

How do the interactions among genes influence health and development?

2004, 2008, 2014

Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Why are some countries rich and others poor?

Anil Seth portrait
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Extraordinary minds

CIFAR’s community of fellows includes 20 Nobel laureates and more than 400 researchers from 22 countries.

CIFAR fellows are collaborative researchers at the top of their fields who are interested in pursuing advances across disciplines. Fellows are selected for academic and communication excellence, and for how their expertise fits into the goals of a program.

Research News

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CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

AI in biodiversity research crucial to our survival

Canada CIFAR AI Chair Graham Taylor is using computer vision to better understand and protect our planet’s biodiversit...

Event Brief

A Culture of Ethical AI

Fostering a culture of ethical AI will be critical to translating ethics frameworks into actionable decisions.

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

When the Universe calls, Raffaella Margutti answers

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar makes quick decisions to catch the Universe’s most extreme events.

Event Brief

Canadian Neutron Initiative Roundtable: Towards a National Neutron Strategy

Canada needs to develop a strategy to maintain access to this indispensable tool for studying materials.

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Ave., Suite 505
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1 Canada

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Partners

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