Volume 93, Issue 58

Thursday, January 13, 2000


VP-finance talks money

Davenport addresses USC

Western donates for safety

Western proves winner in latest round of NSERC funding

New area code connects with Torontonians

AOL, Time Warner join forces


Caught on Campus

Western proves winner in latest round of NSERC funding

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Five-hundred thousand dollars is proof Western was the grand champion of a competition run by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Announced in mid-December, NSERC awarded 30 grants nationwide as part of their first ever collaborative health research grants competition, said program officer Hanan Abdel-Akher. She added NSERC has set aside $2.5 million in this year's budget for the program. Five Western projects were chosen which accounts for the most of any school, Abdel-Akher said.

The 119 applicants who submitted grant requests were narrowed down after being analyzed by both an external and an internal panel, she said.

In total, Western researchers will receive just over $500,000 in funding in each of the next three years, said Western's VP-research Bill Bridger. "This is a relatively small program for NSERC, but the big thing is it is promotes inter-disciplinary research," he said.

Bridger added he was thrilled by the funding and said it is a great indication of how well Western's research is respected.

Christopher Mechefske, a professor of mechanical engineering at Western, said he was overjoyed upon hearing the news his project was one of the winners. "Hotdog," Mechefske said, adding the money will be used to employ up to five graduate and post-doctoral students in furthering research related to reducing the noise of Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines.

"The noise made by MRI machines is comparable to standing a metre away from a jackhammer," Mechefske said, adding he and his partner, Brian Rutt from the Robarts Research Institute, will benefit from $110,000 this year and funds totalling $243,000 over the next three years.

The team will look into ways to lower the vibration of the machine's gradient coils, thus improving the accuracy of the images produced and reducing noise, Mechefske said.

He added the research is important since many patients who undergo treatment on MRI machines and health care workers who operate them, are at risk of hearing problems stemming from their extended exposure to the noise. He said he was hopeful the team's work would provide both retrofit solutions to the machines as they stand, as well as design expertise to companies who make MRI machines.

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