Profs to Help Celebrate Research Chairs Program

November 19, 2010 - News Release

Two University of Guelph professors have been invited to take part in a 10th-anniversary celebration of the Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) program. Geography professor Barry Smit and Scott Weese, a pathobiologist in the Ontario Veterinary College, will participate in a conference Nov. 24 and 25 designed to showcase chairholders’ achievements.

“This is well-deserved recognition for Barry and Scott and reflects the quality and importance of the work they have done as CRCs,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research). “They have distinguished themselves not only as excellent, innovative researchers but also as scientists who are committed to sharing their discoveries and knowledge.”

As a Tier 1 CRC in Global Environmental Change, Smit examines social and economic implications of climate change and how to manage associated risks and opportunities. Tier 1 chairs recognize researchers considered world leaders in their field and are worth $200,000 annually for seven years. Smit’s chair was renewed this past spring.

Weese was named in 2009 as a Tier 2 CRC in Zoonotic Diseases, diseases that can spread from animals to humans. Zoonoses are responsible for more than 70 per cent of new infectious diseases. Tier 2 chairs are considered to be potential world leaders in their fields and receive $100,000 a year for five years.

The conference, “Thinking Ahead for a Strong Future,” will highlight CRC advancements and how the program can help deal with new challenges through research and innovation.

The event is being sponsored by the federal government, the Public Policy Forum, Tourism Toronto and the Council of Ontario Universities. It will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and will attract government, education, policy and research leaders from across the country.

Smit will take part in a discussion on “Economy and the Environment,” and Weese will discuss “Healthy Living.”

Smit said his CRC “has facilitated research of a breadth that would not otherwise have been possible. It has also provided a powerful motivation to explore challenging questions involving the interaction of natural and social sciences as they play out in the complex issue of global climate change.”

He said the chair has allowed him to involve stakeholders, engage in public debate, influence policy and mentor outstanding young researchers.

There are more than 700 CRCs in Ontario, including 30 at U of G. New chairs, including new Guelph CRCs, will be announced at this month’s conference.

The CRC program was established in 2000 to help universities attract and retain excellent faculty. The program steering committee consists of the presidents of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as well as the deputy minister of Industry Canada.

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