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Toronto-based Visions of Science Network for Learning has received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Award for Science Promotion. This award recognizes the organization's work to promote science education and careers among disadvantaged youth. The $25,000 award was presented by Blair Dickerson, Vice-President of NSERC's External Relations and Communications Directorate, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the immense importance of work done by organizations like Visions of Science Network for Learning to foster and instill an early interest in science," said Minister Goodyear. "Their work to inspire more youth to pursue an education in science and engineering will contribute to the long-term prosperity of Canada."

Since 1991, Visions of Science Network for Learning has supported marginalized youth by helping to remove the barriers they face in pursuing careers in science and technology. By creating opportunities to take part in science activities, and providing mentors and role models, the Visions of Science Network of Learning is making science accessible to a diverse generation of aspiring scientists.

"The work done by Visions of Science Network for Learning in Toronto is important in introducing science to youth who might not otherwise be exposed to the possibility of a career in science," said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. "Through the work of this organization, disadvantaged youth are being given the opportunity to see science as an option for their future."

The NSERC Awards for Science Promotion honour individuals and groups who make an outstanding contribution to the promotion of science in Canada through activities encouraging popular interest in science or developing science abilities. Two recipients (one individual and one group) may be selected for the awards each year.

"We truly appreciate the $25,000 award that NSERC has given Visions of Science Network for Learning," said Francis Jeffers, the organization's founder. "The funding serves as a vote of confidence to continue our quality programming which inspires hundreds of young people to pursue their dream of a career in science and technology."

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

Backgrounder

NSERC Awards for Science Promotion

The NSERC Awards for Science Promotion honour individuals and groups who make an outstanding contribution to the promotion of science in Canada through activities encouraging popular interest in science or developing science abilities. The group award is valued at $25,000and the individual award at $10,000. Two recipients (one individual and one group) may be selected for the awards each year.

Profile of the 2011 winner

Category: Group

Visions of Science Network for Learning (Toronto)

Since 1991, Visions of Science Network for Learning has worked to remove barriers and increase possibilities for Toronto-area marginalized youth, many of African-Canadian descent, and youth in low-income communities. The group's flagship program offers students in Grades 4 to 8 a chance to participate in community science clubs. Drawing largely from residents in social housing neighbourhoods, the program brings volunteers together with students once a week to conduct experiments and take part in special activities, and provides mentors and role models. Partnerships with other organizations have helped Visions of Science Network for Learning's efforts to raise awareness of minority issues and build a grassroots science culture.