April 8, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 100  

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New research chairs add to Western’s rep

By Angela Marie Denstedt
Gazette Staff

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.



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