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York University’s world class expertise in vision research is being recognized by the government of Canada with the nation’s most prestigious research grant. A $33.3 million Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) grant will support the Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) program. The investment funds research across a wide range of applications of vision science, from basic visual function, to computer vision and object recognition, and more.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, Judy Sgro, MP, Humber River-Black Creek, was joined by York University’s Vice-President of Research & Innovation, Rob Haché, and York’s VISTA program scientific director and Faculty of Health neuroscience Professor Doug Crawford, to announce the $33.3 million boost.

“The Liberal government is committed to science based policy because we know that good science informs good policy and good policy delivers positive results for all Canadians,” said Sgro, “Today is a real world example of what that commitment means right here at home. This funding will advance Canada’s global leadership in vision research and in doing so promises long-term economic benefits for all of us.”

“We are delighted that the federal government has selected York’s VISTA project for support through the CFREF,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “Our Centre for Vision Research is an international leader in the field, and an excellent example of the kind of innovation that can be achieved through high-level collaboration across many disciplines. This investment will allow our globally renowned researchers to continue their important work in advancing discovery in vision technologies and biological and computational vision.”

York’s VISTA program will contribute to the next generation of industry-ready highly qualified personnel for Canada, supporting 226 additional graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

“Today’s investment builds on York’s existing global leadership in vision research, and will help take us to the next frontier in vision science at the interface between humans and technology,” said Haché, “This research builds on two of York’s major intersecting pillars of research excellence – biological and computational vision – and will lead to human-centred computer vision applications that seamlessly interact with the real world to improve health, safety, productivity and quality of life.”

“I am thrilled by the Canadian government’s announcement of funding for York’s VISTA program,” said Crawford, “We have grown to rank in the top 5 in the world, and offer uniquely integrated strengths in both biological and computational vision. I look forward with great enthusiasm to reaching new heights of discovery and application for Canadian vision research.”

When fully realized, VISTA will include more than 50 partner organizations, 30 Canada Research Chairs and equivalents, 11 additional core faculty members and 48 associated faculty members.  The investments for VISTA, including York University and partner funding, will total more than $120 million.

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