CFI Invests $620,000 in U of G Research

April 02, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph Kemptville Campus is getting a state-of-the-art animal science laboratory, and the Ridgetown Campus will be home to a new soil fertility and plant nutrition facility, thanks to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The national agency is also investing in two U of G projects based at the Guelph campus: a digital audio production and performance studio in the School of Fine Art and Music and a wind research laboratory in the School of Engineering.

In total, the University received more than $620,000 as part of CFI's latest national funding allocation of $22.5 million to 31 Canadian universities. The U of G projects are being supported by CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund, designed to help launch the careers of new and talented faculty and to attract and retain exceptional scholars.

“Access to modern, cutting-edge equipment and facilities is imperative to research in the 21st century,” said Eliot Phillipson, CFI’s president and CEO. “Over the past decade, CFI has provided thousands of world-class researchers with the tools they need to do their work."

Infrastructure is exactly what Profs. Katrina Merkies and Trevor DeVries needed to jump start their complex at the Kemptville campus. Although they specialize in different areas (Merkies in equine reproduction and DeVries in dairy cattle behaviour), they share an interest in animal behaviour and a need for a specialized laboratory.

"We are excited because the CFI funds will allow us to create a multi-species, multi-use animal science research laboratory," DeVries said of the $248,367 grant. The lab will allow them to train high-quality personnel and produce research results relevant to their respective industries, he added.

Ridgetown professor Laura Van Eerd received $125,219 to establish a facility for novel horticultural research, including maximizing water-use efficiency. It will support her ongoing research aimed at developing and assessing approaches to optimizing nitrogen-use efficiency in horticultural production for the benefit of Canadian agriculture and the environment.

Back on the Guelph campus, music professor James Harley will use his $126,298 to set up a state-of-the-art digital audio facility to pursue creative research in multi-channel audio composition and production, along with interactive performance using the latest in digital technology.

"Receiving the CFI grant is fantastic news," Harley said. "As a composer and performer, I have been active in these areas for several years, but this award will enable us to take this work to a completely new level. The facility will be on a par with any in Canada and will support collaborative research with partners across Canada and beyond."

He added that the studio, along with the $2.5-million Improvisation, Community and Social Practice Project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, "really puts musical activity and research at Guelph on the map!"

Engineering professor David Lubitz will be setting up a wind engineering laboratory with his $121,197. "I'm really excited to receive this funding," he said. "It will allow us to convert our current wind tunnel to a state-of-the-art laboratory for wind energy, air quality and wind engineering problems. We can't wait to get the lab and field equipment in and start collecting data for our research projects."

Researchers have several projects on the go aimed at predicting site-specific performance of small wind turbines and developing tools to allow people interested in installing turbines at their home, farm or business to get an accurate prediction of performance.

"Now we'll have the state-of-the-art tools needed to directly measure different wind parameters at operating wind turbines, which is crucial for validating the accuracy of the tools we're developing," said Lubitz.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

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