Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

November 27, 2006

U of G Projects Get $14.5 Million from CFI

Three world-class research collaborations headed by University of Guelph scientists have received more than $14.5 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The announcement was made today in Waterloo by CFI president and CEO Eliot Phillipson. CFI covers 40 per cent of the cost of a project, with the remaining money coming from matching provincial funds and other partners.

The Guelph projects are headed by physics professors Stefan Kycia and Paul Garrett and chemistry professor Jacek Lipkowski, and will position the University and Canada at the forefront of X-ray diffraction, nuclear physics and life sciences and bioelectrochemistry, said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research).

“Today’s announcement underscores the national recognition that University of Guelph researchers have achieved,” Wildeman said. “All of the proposals submitted from across campus in this last competition were cutting edge, and having three of them now selected for funding is a great outcome. All three of the lead investigators and their colleagues at Guelph and across Canada should be very proud of their success.”

Kycia received more than $11 million to establish the Brockhouse X-ray Diffraction and Scattering Sector, which will be housed at the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s national synchrotron research facility at the University of Saskatchewan. It will support a wide spectrum of materials research in academic and industrial sectors in Ontario and Canada, and has applications such as advanced alloys and polymers, novel batteries, food science and petroleum products. Some 28 Canadian researchers spanning the disciplines of physics, chemistry, geology, biology, engineering and environmental science are involved.

“I'm extremely pleased,” Kycia said, adding he is getting ready "for a great deal of hard work and responsibilities for the years to come. Canada will now have one of the best X-ray facilities in the world for studying the structure of many types of new materials. It will likely enable discovery and open the doorway for revolutionary technologies that are currently unforeseen. This will lead to significant opportunities for Canadian materials researchers in both academia and industry.”

Lipkowski will use his $2.7-million grant to enhance infrastructure in Guelph laboratories that conduct leading-edge life science and soft materials research involving biomolecules, cells and bacteria. The project includes 24 investigators at U of G and more than 100 post-doctoral researchers and students and fosters collaborations among Guelph’s College of Biological Science, College of Physical and Engineering Science, and Ontario Agricultural College.

“This is tremendous news for interdisciplinary research at the University of Guelph,” Lipkowski said. “It brings electrochemistry and physics to biology, and biology to electrochemistry and physics. Because of the availability of the infrastructure, we will be able to offer challenging, innovative research projects that will attract the best and most motivated individuals. Last but not least, this award recognizes and builds upon the substantial achievements of the Centre for Food and Soft Materials Science and the Electrochemical Technology Centre.”

Garrett is heading a neutron detector array that involves 11 researchers from across Canada. The $656,000 grant they received from CFI will be used to construct a “world-unique” device that allows for the detection of neutrons in such a way that scientists will be able to perform measurements on the particles much more directly. “This will enable us to perform experiments that we could not do otherwise, providing us a tool to probe such questions as the origin of the elements in the universe and the nature of matter under extreme conditions,” he said.

The equipment will be built at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver. “It will form one of the cornerstones of my own research program, as well as that of other Guelph and Canadian scientists,” Garrett said. He added that CFI was a major factor in his decision to return to Canada in 2004 from a permanent position at a U.S. national laboratory. “The possibility of funding capital equipment through CFI was a very attractive incentive for me and makes Canadian universities competitive with our U.S. counterparts.”

CFI is an independent not-for-profit corporation established by the Canadian government 1997 to address an urgent need of Canada’s research community. Support for these projects came from CFI’s Leading Edge and New Initiatives funds.

“I am very pleased about this investment,” said Brenda Chamberlain, MP for Guelph-Wellington. “It’s a testament to the hard work of so many people to make the University a leader in research and development. The Government of Canada must continue to make these investments to ensure that our universities are not only national leaders but also international leaders.”

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

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