Volume 95, Issue 94

Wednesday, April 3, 2002
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'Lots of guys are scared of him'

Teachers, students celebrated

Parking changes shaft students: Vavala

Western: rich kids and rich professors

JSU explores Mideast conflict

Feds to clog "brain drain" with cash

News Briefs

Feds to clog "brain drain" with cash

Draino will stay under sink

By Daren Lin
Gazette Staff

A federal program to stimulate "brain gain" named two more Western professors as Canada Research Chairs last week.

Norm Huner, a professor and chair of the department of plant sciences, was named Canada Research Chair in environmental stress biology. Huner is studying how plants detect and react to changes in the environment.

Mickie Bhatia, a researcher at Robarts Research Institute, was named Canada Research Chair in stem-cell biology and regenerative medicine. Bhatia heads a multi-disciplinary program to characterize and understand how human stem-cells are regulated.

The federal government established the Canada Research Chairs program in 2000, said the program's executive director Rene Durocher. The program will spend $900 million to establish 2,000 research chairs in Canadian universities by 2005, he said.

Western currently has 20 research chairs and expects to receive more than 70 by the time the program has been fully implemented, said Ted Hewitt, Western's associate VP-research.

Western has research chairs in history, archeology, literature, linguistics, as well as in medicine, science and engineering, Durocher said.

The Canadian Foundation of Innovation will also invest $250 million towards research infrastructure, such as lab equipment, which will be divided between research chairs in terms of need, he said.

Durocher said the government implemented this program to keep the country's best researchers and prevent "brain drain."

"We want to recruit expatriates and foreigners who will bring their skills and ideas. We want 'brain gain,'" he said.

Hewitt said the huge injection of funding has made a considerable impact in finding top researchers. "It's a tremendous way to recruit," he said.

Students also benefit by interacting with people conducting cutting edge research in their classrooms, Hewitt said.

The extra money not only helps to retain researchers by offering a higher salary, but also by providing researchers with the proper resources, he said.

Huner said his $1.4 million of funding over seven years will make it easier for him to stay at Western.

"Money is always the limiting factor," he said.

Sue Barnes (MP – London West) said if she had it her way, the money would always be there.

She said the federal government wants Canada to be one of the top five countries in research and development.

"R & D is key to the economic engine of our country," she said. "We want to send the message to students that Canada is the place to be after their degrees."

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