U of G Receives $14 Million from NSERC

May 23, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph has received nearly $14 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for research ranging from rare isotopes to the workings of the human mind.

The awards were announced today in Toronto by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology), and Suzanne Fortier, NSERC president. Across Canada, the government will invest $410 million to support 3,750 research projects.

Today’s announcement includes the 2012 competition results for NSERC programs, including Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, and graduate and post-doctoral awards. Most research projects are supported for five years.

Guelph’s 46 projects span five colleges and numerous departments. U of G also received 35 graduate scholarships and a post-doctoral fellowship.

“This NSERC support will provide the stipends for the next generation of researchers and problem-solvers, and the equipment, technology and other resources that are vital to our researchers’ ability to leverage their work into new knowledge and applications,” said Kevin Hall, vice-president (research).

“Not only do we want to make discoveries, but we also want to put those discoveries to use finding solutions to challenging issues.”

Nearly half of U of G’s funding went to a project headed by physics professor Carl Svensson. His research team received more than $6 million for studies in the emerging field of rare isotopes. The project involves state-of-the-art research facilities across the country, including TRIUMF, the national subatomic physics laboratory in Vancouver. Svensson leads a team of scientists building advanced detector systems at TRIUMF to probe nuclear structures and processes.

"We are deeply appreciative of the research support received through the NSERC grants programs,” Svensson said. “These programs are crucial to Canada's fundamental discovery research enterprise across all fields of natural science and engineering.”

He added that the NSERC support will enable groundbreaking research and ensure that undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers continue to receive research training at the forefront of their field internationally.

The U of G-based International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project received $300,000 in NSERC funding for continued work on DNA barcoding. Directed by integrative biology professor Paul Hebert, iBOL is the world’s largest biodiversity genomics initiative using DNA barcoding to create a digital ID system for all life on Earth.

Food scientist Rickey Yada received more than $250,000 for continued research on more efficient use, control and design of food-related proteins with desired functions.

How skin receptors control posture and help in standing and walking is the goal of work by Prof. Leah Bent, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, who received more than $125,000 for continued research into balance control problems.

Prof. Paul McNicholas, Mathematics and Statistics, will use a $125,000 grant to develop novel approaches for grouping data intended to allow varied researchers to better interpret statistical results.

Psychology professor Naseem Al-Aidroos will use a $150,000 grant to study “attentional mechanisms” in the brain to focus attention and filter out distractions. He will look at how aging affects this process and how to overcome challenges.

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

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1