New research chairs add to Western’s rep
By Angela Marie Denstedt
Six million dollars and seven new research chairs are on their
way to Western.
“The importance of the Canada Research Chairs program
is that we, as Canadians, want to retain and recruit the finest
researchers in the world,” said René Durocher,
executive director for the CRC program.
“The chairs program started in 2000 and was part of
a government plan to improve Canadian researching,” he
explained, adding specific criteria must be met before a candidate
can be considered for a CRC.
“The objective of the program is to train the next generation
of researchers,” Durocher said. “[Western] is doing
very well, and they are making excellent use of chairs because
they have the right priorities and the right people.”
Nils Petersen, Western’s VP-research, agreed Western
is doing well. “I am extremely pleased with our Chairs,
and I am excited about our most recently appointed [CRCs].”
“Research activities that these people do will increase
the reputation of the university, and in turn will allow us
to attract brighter students,” he explained. “The
program is [also] intended to attract the brightest and best
to our faculty.”
Petersen noted summer research opportunities for undergraduate
students with some of the Chairs will improve, adding this
is an “invaluable opportunity.”
“Some of the money goes towards paying professors, so
that they can teach less and research more, which is very important
in order to promote researching excellence internationally,” explained
Danièle Bélanger, a Western sociology professor
and CRC recipient.
Zhen Zhong, a specialist in transplantation and experimental
surgery, received another CRC. “My research is in a highly
competitive field and this money is essential to the development
of my program,” he said.
“I am very happy and I feel that [the Chair] is very
important to the program and the university,” said Bin
Ma, a biochemistry and computer science professor who received
a CRC, adding Western’s worldwide recognition for research
will improve as a result.