Campus News

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

News Release

June 02, 2003

U of G receives close to $20 million in NSERC discovery grants

The University of Guelph has received an investment of $19.45 million over five years from the federal government's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to advance 104 research projects in science and engineering.

The funding was announced today by Secretary of State Rey Pagtakhan on behalf of Allan Rock, minister of industry. The Guelph discovery grants are among 2,752 new grants worth $325 million over five years to university professors in 67 Canadian post-secondary institutions.

"These grants are a tribute to our outstanding faculty and reflect the University of Guelph's dedication to innovative research and scientific discovery," said U of G president Mordechai Rozanski. "It is with sincere thanks that I recognize Minister Rock and the Government of Canada for this funding and for their support in helping Guelph fulfill our research and teaching objectives."
Added Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research): "These investments enable our researchers to continue to excel in their disciplines and to deliver high-level research training to our students."

Rock said Ottawa wants Canada to be one of the top five countries in the world for research and development. "NSERC-funded researchers are the bright minds who are making the discoveries that drive tomorrow's innovations."

The 104 projects funded will ultimately involve more than 200 faculty and graduate students from a variety of campus departments and disciplines and will involve research in areas that include biomedical sciences, engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, botany, computing and information science, microbiology, zoology and plant agriculture. One of the projects, headed by Guelph zoology professor Moira Ferguson, will explore the evolutionary genetics of fishes. The funding will allow Ferguson to look at the significance of different parts of the genome in natural fish populations, exploring what genes are key to fish survival and reproduction in the wild. "This is one of the first instances where genomic methods will be applied to natural populations of fishes," she said. The NSERC funding, $51,000 for five years, will allow her to conduct her research in Iceland and Cape Race, Nfld.

Guelph chemistry and biochemistry professor John Goddard has received $51,300 for four years for his research in computational chemistry on radicals, biradicals and excited states. "NSERC funding will support the graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in my research group," said Goddard. One area of his research focuses on modeling the key enzymes by which fireflies generate light. The applications of his theoretical research into bioluminescence could be used in areas such as environmental control and biotechnology.

U of G professors will dedicate a large portion of their grant funds to training undergraduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers. "The NSERC awards allow university professors to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers, who will be essential to Canada's success in the knowledge-based global economy," said Secretary of State Pagtakhan.

NSERC is a key federal agency investing in people, discovery and innovation. The council supports both basic university research through research grants and project research through partnerships among universities, governments and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people.

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

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