U of G Gets $5.2 Million From Canada Research Chairs Program

October 12, 2011 - News Release

At the University of Guelph today, the federal government announced it will invest nearly $204 million in university research and innovation through its prestigious Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. Ottawa will fund 253 new or renewed CRCs across the country, including five at U of G worth $5.2 million.

Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology), made the national announcement in Guelph’s science complex. The event was attended by Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, who sits on the CRC program steering committee.

U of G received three new Tier 1 chairs and one Tier 2 chair, and had one Tier 2 chair renewed. Tier 1 chairholders are considered leaders in their field and receive $200,000 annually for seven years. Tier 2 chairs for potential leaders are worth $100,000 a year for five years.

“At Guelph, we pride ourselves in ensuring that our scientific quests and discoveries have tangible impacts,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

“The research being undertaken by this talented CRC cohort will create healthier foods, provide new understanding about climate change and multiple sclerosis, and help prevent childhood injuries. They’re great examples of U of G research that is generating ideas and knowledge that will benefit people’s lives, here and around the world.”

Today’s event at U of G featured psychology professor Barbara Morrongiello, who was named a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Injury Prevention. Morrongiello identifies, through scientific research, the factors that heighten the risk of injury in children and adolescents, helping to prevent unintentional injury. She will use her CRC to create a one-of-a-kind virtual reality facility to study children’s behaviour under realistic yet safe conditions.

Tier 1 chairs also went to Prof. George Harauz, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Prof. Alejandro Marangoni, Department of Food Science. Harauz studies neurodegenerative diseases, especially the role of myelin basic protein in multiple sclerosis. Marangoni, a Tier 2 CRC since 2001, studies fats and oils to help improve consumer health.

Prof. Merritt Turetsky, Department of Integrative Biology, received a Tier 2 chair to study impacts of past and current climatic changes on plant trait diversification.

A Tier 2 chair was renewed for Prof. Milena Corredig, Department of Food Science, who is developing ways to include health-enhancing ingredients in food products.

Begun in 2000, the CRC program helps Canadian universities to attract and retain excellent faculty. The program’s 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.

“Our government is investing in the people and ideas that will keep Canada at the forefront of the global economy,” Goodyear said. “The Canada Research Chairs are helping to develop, attract and retain the world’s top researchers here in our country.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, shiona@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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