U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities

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U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities
Legal statusAssociation of Canadian-based universities
HeadquartersOttawa, Ontario
Region served
Official language
English, French
Meric Gertler[1]

The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities (commonly shortened to U15; French: U15 Regroupement des universités de recherche du Canada) is an association of 15 Canadian public research universities. It is headquartered in Ottawa and was established in 1991 to represent its members' interests, primarily to provincial and federal governments, concerning the research enterprise and government programs supporting research and development.

Its member institutions undertake 80 percent of all competitive university research in Canada, and represent a research enterprise valued at more than $5 billion annually.[2] Together, they contribute upwards of C$36 billion to the Canadian economy every year, and produce more than 70 percent of all doctorates awarded in Canada.[2]


The core of the U15 began when executive heads of five universities in Ontario—McMaster University, Queen's University at Kingston, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario—began to meet informally to consider mutual interests. This group of five Ontario-based universities formed an association in the mid-1980s to advance the interests of their research-intensive institutions.[3] By 1989, vice-presidents from other Canadian universities had joined the initial group. After a meeting at the University of British Columbia, they agreed to meet twice annually to share common concerns. In 1991, the universities formed a Group of Ten, made up of the original five Ontario universities, along with McGill University, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Université de Montréal, and Université Laval.[3]

The group has since expanded twice, once in 2006, and again in 2011. In 2006, the group expanded to include Dalhousie University, University of Calgary, and the University of Ottawa, becoming the Group of Thirteen.[3] In 2011, the group grew to its current size and membership with the addition of the University of Manitoba and the University of Saskatchewan. The group was reorganized and renamed as the U15.[3] In 2012, the executive heads created a U15 Directorate and appointed the organization's first executive director.[4]


The executive heads of the member universities govern the U15, supported by their respective chief academic officers and vice-presidents of research.[1] The executive organ of the group is the Executive Committee, made up of the Chair and two Vice-Chairs. Through a process of peer nomination, the U15 appoints a Chair to lead the governing body. The committee is charged with acting on behalf of the U15 concerning operational matters related to the Secretariat.[1] The current Chair is Feridun Hamdullahpur, who also serves as the president of the University of Waterloo.[1]

In addition, the U15's Executive Committee operates a number of sub-committees that assist the administration in its operations. The Academic Affairs Committee advances collaborative initiatives and attempts to maximize cooperation among the member institutions.[1] The Research Committee attempts to advance the research agenda of its member institutions.[1] The Data Exchange Steering Committee is charged with setting the priorities and recommending annual work plans for research data specialists at member universities.[1]


The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities currently has 15 members, of which six are from Ontario, three from Quebec, two from Alberta, and one from British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Seven of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada are represented in the group. Three of the six Ontario-based U15 universities are located within the Greater Golden Horseshoe, while two of the three Quebec-based universities are located within Montreal.

Collectively, the members of U15 represent 47 percent of all university students in Canada, 71 percent of all full-time doctoral students in the country,[5] 87 percent of all contracted private-sector research in Canada, and 80 percent of all patents and start-ups in Canada.[5] As a group, the U15 universities attract C$5.3 billion in annual research income, notably holding 80 percent of all competitively allocated research funding in Canada.[5]

Institution[6] City Province Total students[note 1] Established[note 2] Year joined Sponsored research income (thousands)[note 3]
University of Alberta Edmonton Alberta 38,820 1908 1991 $513,313
University of British Columbia Vancouver British Columbia 60,560 1908 1991 $577,190
University of Calgary Calgary Alberta 32,710 1966 2006 $380,388
Dalhousie University Halifax Nova Scotia 18,940 1818 2006 $150,038
Université Laval Quebec City Quebec 43,560 1663 1991 $356,675
University of Manitoba Winnipeg Manitoba 28,870[note 4] 1877 2011 $187,444
McGill University Montreal Quebec 38,580 1821 1991 $515,302
McMaster University Hamilton Ontario 32,600 1887 1991 $379,959
Université de Montréal Montreal Quebec 48,330 1878 1991 $536,238
University of Ottawa Ottawa Ontario 42,200 1848 2006 $325,969
Queen's University at Kingston Kingston Ontario 28,140 1841 1991 $207,034
University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon Saskatchewan 21,420[note 4] 1907 2011 $186,261
University of Toronto Toronto Ontario 89,540[note 5] 1827 1991 $1,147,584
University of Waterloo Waterloo Ontario 39,200[note 4] 1956 1991 $189,333
University of Western Ontario London Ontario 32,500[note 6] 1878 1991 $249,669

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Based on the AUCC's 2017 full-time and part-time enrolment figures.[7]
  2. ^ Established date is given as the year in which the institution was founded, not when degree-granting powers were granted.
  3. ^ For the 2017 fiscal year. Figures are in Canadian dollars. Data was obtained from Statistics Canada through Research Infosource[8]
  4. ^ a b c Figure includes students from affiliated colleges and institutions.
  5. ^ Figure includes students from constituent colleges, and satellite campuses (University of Toronto Mississauga, and the University of Toronto Scarborough).
  6. ^ Figure excludes students from affiliated colleges and institutions.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Governance & Administration". U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Who We Are". U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "History & Milestones". U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  4. ^ Berkowitz, Peggy (26 March 2012). "Suzanne Corbeil appointed to U-15 group of universities". University Affairs. Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Our Impact". U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Our Members". U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  7. ^ "2017 full-time and part-time fall enrolment at Canadian universities". Universities Canada. Universities Canada. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Canada's Top 50 Research Universities List 2017". RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.

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