Volume 96, Issue 84
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

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Western gets cold, hard cash

Jillian Van Acker
Gazette Staff

Money can't buy you love, but it can certainly spruce-up your apartment, your sex life and your fancy research project.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation recently announced they will be awarding $499,180 from their New Opportunities Fund to three Western research projects.

"We identified a need for infrastructure for new members at universities," said Douglas Lauriault, director of public affairs at CFI. "Infrastructure is the equipment needed for people to conduct their research and this is the purpose of the funding."

"The advantages of [NOF] are it attracts and retains bright researchers, while the next generation of researchers are being trained by the best and brightest of today," Lauriault explained, noting, over the last six years, 1,600 researchers have either returned to Canada or decided to stay and work.

"The program set up by CFI is [there] to fund young researchers [who are] new to their universities," said Ted Hewitt, associate VP-research at Western. "All the people [who received funds] are all new to Western."

"It's a tremendous program and [we are] happy to congratulate the researchers who received the funding," Hewitt said.

Jody Culham, a Western professor of psychology, received $78,255 for her research of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of human actions.

"This is a really fabulous boost for my research," Culham said. "It's going toward state of the art computing systems."

Culham explained the funding will help her towards her goal of mapping the human brain, and examining how brain functions, such as looking at objects, are localized.

"[This program] is very beneficial to other young researchers," Culham said. "It is completely essential and helps fight brain drain. The opportunities provided by these programs are great, otherwise it's very tempting to leave."

Other Western researchers receiving funding from CFI are John McCormick and Jana Joss, professors in the department of microbiology and immunology, for their research on bacterial pathogenesis and Yi-Fen Yen and Atsushi Takahashi, professors in the department of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine, for their research, diagnosis and treatment of acute cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

The funding is a great vehicle for attracting faculty from other countries to Canada, Hewitt added.

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2002 THE GAZETTE