Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Report gets council's consent

Cigarette warning labels get graphic

Millennium money worries student group

Hockey funds score harsh critique

Mayor gives positive prognosis

Networks gain $13 million from feds

The flu blues


Bass Ackwards

Networks gain $13 million from feds

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The federal government has announced plans to invest $13 million into a competition for new Networks of Centres of Excellence.

Marie-Reina Cluniat, public affairs officer for the NCE, a public and private research partnership program, said applications will be focused on four areas including automobiles of the 21st Century, child development, genomic technologies and the environment. Applicants must be researchers from the public or private sectors.

"Through collaboration, the network creates opportunities that would be harder to reach individually. The goal is to come up with a product from the research that can be commercialized," said Miguel Valvano, chair of the microbiology and immunology graduate studies committee at Western and an associate member of the Canadian Bacterial Disease Network, part of the NCE.

Cluniat said researchers collaborate across these networks, pooling information and resources, therefore making their potential discoveries beneficial to Canada as a nation.

Greg Moran, Western's VP-academic, said he was excited about the networks. "My own area is child psychology," he explained. "Child development is key to the social and economic future of Canada. The government's interest in this area was a long time in coming."

Cluniat said applicants for the new networks would be judged by expert panels, composed of figures from the government, the public and the private sector. She explained the panels would narrow down the field of applicants by October of this year and the new networks should be up and running in 2001.

Valvano said he had some concerns, as some of the networks created in the past have failed.

Cluniat said the failure was due to a rigid review process. She explained network grants last for seven years, but are subject to a midterm review. The review determines if a network is meeting its goals and deserves continued financial support. "These are public funds," Cluniat said. "They must be accounted for."

Moran said he would be surprised if Western researchers did not get involved in the new research networks. "The collaboration of research from different areas enhances [the NCE's] strength and the networks provide an excellent partnership between universities and the private and public sector."

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