Students and researchers meet with Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne at one of VIDO's Level 2 laboratories. (Credit: USask/ David Stobbe)
Students and researchers meet with Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne at one of VIDO's Level 2 laboratories. (Photo: USask/ David Stobbe)

Minister Champagne highlights USask’s VIDO in post-budget tour

SASKATOON — The Government of Canada’s commitment to invest in research innovation, talent development and pandemic preparedness was celebrated this morning during Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne’s visit to the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO).

The visit follows last week’s federal budget announcement, which proposes to provide $30 million to VIDO to complete critical infrastructure that establishes the organization as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research—including a new animal housing facility and upgrades to containment Level 4. This investment will enable the study of priority pathogens (including high-risk pathogens with pandemic potential) to support vaccine and therapeutic development, a key pillar in Canada’s Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy.

The minister, alongside members of VIDO’s and USask’s leadership team, toured VIDO’s secure research and biomanufacturing facilities and animal-housing facility construction site.

Students, post-doctoral fellows, and researchers were in attendance to present their research and highlight how these important investments support innovation and the development of the next generation of talent.

USask officials applauded the 2024 federal budget’s strong support for key areas of post-secondary education and research. In addition to VIDO, the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at USask will receive a three-year, $83.5-million operating funding extension. As Canada’s only synchrotron light source and an invaluable tool for innovative science in advanced materials, agriculture, environment, and health, this funding ensures that the CLS is supported to stay on the leading edge of research.

Of significance to the Canadian post-secondary sector and to USask is the government’s $825 million commitment over five years to increase the value and number of federal master’s and doctoral scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships. This support will greatly support USask’s community of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. This group advances innovative research, artistic, and scholarly work, and supports teaching and learning at the university. Currently, USask has 160 students receiving federal graduate and post-doctoral scholarships.

Research innovation will also be supported by the government’s investment in Canadian research granting agencies — Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). These agencies will receive $1.8 billion over five years towards core research grant funding. This increase supports USask’s global competitiveness and advances Canada’s research enterprise, which includes development of highly qualified future leaders.


“Today’s research is tomorrow’s economy. That’s why our government is proud to support Canadian researchers, innovators, and students, at USask and across the country, who are at the forefront of discovery. These Budget 2024 investments reflect the ambition and vision of our next generation of researchers as they continue to position Canada as a global leader in science research.”

  • The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This support from the federal government signals a strong commitment to, among other priorities, enhance Canada’s capacity to protect the health of Canadians and strengthen Canada’s agriculture sector. Through government support, VIDO is expanding its capabilities to become Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research, a facility that will have some of the most advanced high-containment research and development capacity in the world, ensuring we are prepared for emerging infectious diseases.”

  • Peter Stoicheff, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Saskatchewan

“USask researchers need world-class infrastructure to ensure a rapid response to the next pandemic.  Thus, federal government's strong commitment to support the creation of the Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research is greatly appreciated and will enhance our efforts of being what the world needs.”

  • Baljit Singh, Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan

“The investments made by the Government of Canada are instrumental to VIDO’s evolution as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research—supporting the development of the next generation of scientific talent and advancing the creation of vaccines that will benefit the world.”

  • Volker Gerdts, Director and CEO, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization


 For more information, contact:

Daniel Hallen
USask Media Relations


Trenna Brusky
VIDO Communications Specialist


About USask’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization:

USask’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is internationally recognized for its role in vaccine development and is one of Canada’s national science facilities. VIDO has conducted infectious disease research and vaccine development for almost half a century—eight of its vaccines have been sold commercially, and six have been described as world-firsts. The >175-member organization operates using an ISO9001 certified management system in one of the largest and most advanced containment facilities in the world. To strengthen the preparedness for emerging infectious diseases VIDO is expanding to become Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research, which includes GMP CL3 capable vaccine manufacturing and containment Level 4 capacity. VIDO receives operating support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation Major Science Initiatives fund and the Government of Saskatchewan through Innovation Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Agriculture.