Canada Excellence Research Chairs

The Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program supports world-renowned researchers and their teams in establishing ambitious research initiatives in Canadian universities.

About the program

Launched in 2008, the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program supports Canadian universities in their efforts to build on Canada's growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation.

The program offers universities award values of either $8 million or $4 million over eight years to support their researchers. These awards are among the most prestigious and generous awards available globally.

The CERC program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It is administered by the Tri-agency Institutional Programs Secretariat (TIPS), which is housed within SSHRC.

Nominations are carefully reviewed by external experts and a multidisciplinary selection board composed of distinguished Canadian and international research experts. Funding decisions are approved by the CERC steering committee.

University of Ottawa Chairholder

Zenghu Chang

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Attosecond X-ray Photonics (2024 – 2031)

Attosecond X-ray pulses are the shortest bursts of light that scientists can create and control. To give you an idea of how short they are, one attosecond is equivalent to one quintillionth of a second, which is like comparing one second to the entire age of the universe (14 billion years). Attosecond X-ray photonics is a field that observes the movements of electrons inside atoms and molecules in real time, similar to capturing slow-motion footage of athletes performing on ice. Dr. Zenghu Chang is leading a program at the University of Ottawa to develop the world's first compact attosecond source that produces X-rays with a broad range of wavelengths, allowing scientists to study every element on the periodic table using attosecond X-ray spectroscopy in university laboratories. Such a breakthrough will enable researchers to explore and control incredibly fast processes involved in solar cells and quantum materials, advancing our understanding of physical chemistry at its core.

Consult the researcher profile
Zenghu Chang
Professor Zenghu Chang, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Attosecond X-ray Photonics

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