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Concordia researchers receive close to $1 million in strategic partnership grants

Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council lends its support to two new projects at the university
February 15, 2017
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By Renée Dunk

trout edit Dylan Fraser, associate professor of biology, has received a "highly-competitive" NSERC strategic partnership grant for his ecosystem functioning and fisheries productivity research.

Two Concordia professors – Dylan Fraser, an associate professor of biology in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and Muthukumaran Packirisamy, Concordia University Research Chair in Optical Bio Microsystems and a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering – have been awarded close to a combined $1 million in research funding from the Government of Canada.

On February 15, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) announced a total of $920,340 over three years for two strategic partnership grants to support Fraser’s research in population genomics, ecosystem functioning and fisheries productivity, and Packirisamy’s work in photonics integrated microsystems.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal minister of science, said that connecting Canada's scientists and engineers with companies and government organizations is vital for creating new jobs and sustainable growth that support a clean, innovative society.

“Our government's support for such partnerships strengthens talent in key research areas where Canada can be a world leader while simultaneously focusing on fundamental societal and economic issues that will benefit all Canadians and support a stronger middle class.”

Research projects in support of sustainability

Dylan Fraser | Photo by David Ward Dylan Fraser | Photo by David Ward

For biology professor Dylan Fraser, granted $579,840 over a three-year period, the funding will allow him to assess the degree to which eco-evolutionary changes generated by common harvesting approaches affect fisheries productivity.

As principal investigator on the project, he has put together a multidisciplinary team of individuals from Fisheries and Oceans, Parks Canada Agency, Alberta Environment and Parks, as well as researchers from the University of Calgary and UQAM. With the funding, they will conduct a large -scale experiment across a series of closed, natural trout populations. Through an interdisciplinary approach that combines evolution, ecology and genomics, the research has the potential to generate a breakthrough for the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries.

Muthukumaran Packirisamy | Photo by David Ward Muthukumaran Packirisamy | Photo by David Ward

Engineering professor Muthukumaran Packirisamy, who received $340,500 over three years, will work with industry partner AEPONYX to use photonics integrated microsystems technologies to reduce the size and improve the performance of optical network components, making them smaller, lighter and cheaper. Ultimately, the research has the potential to increase data traffic and security, while reducing the space and cost that networks usually require.

Justin Powlowski, Concordia’s interim vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, applauded Fraser and Packirisamy, noting that partnership grants can often accelerate research and increase its impact.

“The purpose of this funding, awarded through NSERC's Strategic Partnership Grants program, is to stimulate collaboration between university, industry or government researchers on projects of strategic importance to the country. I congratulate Dylan and Muthu on receiving these highly-competitive grants, which will no doubt enhance Concordia’s research and training profile as we strive to ‘Double our research’.”

Learn about other NSERC-funded projects at Concordia.

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