World leading vision research program receives Canada’s premiere grant

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.

Above: From left, Pat Clifford, director of research & innovation, Southlake Regional Health Centre; Professor Spiros Pagiatakis, associate dean of research, Lassonde School of Engineering; Piotr Jasiobedzki, staff scientist, MDA Corporation; Faculty of Health Professor Doug Crawford, scientific director, VISTA; Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament, Humber River – Black Creek; Robert Haché, York University vice-president research & innovation; and, Paul MacDonald, dean, Faculty of Health

Above: From left, Pat Clifford, director of research & innovation, Southlake Regional Health Centre; Professor Spiros Pagiatakis, associate dean of research, Lassonde School of Engineering; Piotr Jasiobedzki, staff scientist, MDA Corporation; Faculty of Health Professor Doug Crawford, scientific director, VISTA; Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament, Humber River – Black Creek; Robert Haché, York University vice-president research & innovation; Gary Brewer, York University vice-president finance & administration; and Paul MacDonald, dean, Faculty of Health

“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.”

Following the announcement MP Judy Sgro toured various demonstrations of equipment and research. Speaking to Sgro is Bob Hou, senior research assistant in the Centre for Vision Research. Looking on are York VPRI Robert Hache and VISTA Scientific Director Doug Crawford.

Following the announcement MP Judy Sgro toured various demonstrations of equipment and research. Speaking to Sgro is Bob Hou, senior research assistant in the Centre for Vision Research. Looking on are York VPRI Robert Haché and VISTA Scientific Director Doug Crawford.

“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.”

MP Judy Sgro speaks with a student researcher about a VISTA project

MP Judy Sgro speaks with a student researcher about a VISTA project

“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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