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The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is a major funding initiative of the Canadian Government, designed to upgrade the research capability of Canada's universities, colleges and research hospitals. Setting up the CFI was part of the Government's announced goal to help bring Canadian research and development capacity up from the 15th place to one of the top 5 in the relative ranking of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). At the request of the CFI, an International Panel was appointed by the Royal Society of Canada (in consultation with CAE and CIAM) to evaluate the impact of the CFI programs to date. The Panel members were given written information of the various programs of CFI, including many examples of submissions by various types of Canadian institutions. They were also given information on the programs set up in parallel, in particular the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Initiative.

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