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Western rich in research
By Kelly Marcella
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council recently announced a $12.2 million infusion into the science and engineering faculties at Western as a result of their annual research grants competition.
"I am pleased to announce $361 million over five years. It's a big investment in the future," said Maurizio Bevilacqua, the Canadian secretary of state for science, research and development.
The money will be given to 62 post-secondary institutions across Canada, Bevilacqua said, noting the finances will fund 2,914 new research grants.
The NSERC research grants are awarded on the basis of excellence, said Nigel Lloyd, NSERC's executive-VP, noting thousands of professors across the country apply for research and equipment grants each year.
"The University of Western Ontario [is] prominent in the research grants competition," Lloyd explained. The NSERC money will fund 106 projects in dozens of fields at Western, including physics, biology and chemical engineering, he added.
"[The $12.2 million] will move Western from 14th place to one of the top five [universities] in [terms of] research and development," Bevilacqua added.
"This funding allows almost 3,000 professors across Canada to continue their work," Lloyd said of the federal contribution overall.
Western computer science professor Lila Kari and plant sciences professor Norman Huner were among this year's NSERC grant recipients.
"I'd like to express my gratitude for heading [our] vision and funding this research," said Kari, a Canada research chair in biocomputing, following a brief description of her research in DNA computing now funded by NSERC.
"This funding has allowed us to develop new areas of research," said
Huner, a Canada research chair in environmental stress biology, explaining his research on the photosynthetic apparatus in plants.
"These changes have been possible by more funding," said Western's VP-research Nils Petersen, adding that if London is not yet first in research in development, this funding will improve Western's standing.
Other projects receiving funding at Western include studies on the mitigation of global warming, motion of the human wrist and the effect of alcohol on human vision.