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Concordia receives $9.5M for groundbreaking natural sciences and engineering research

Support from national council distributed among 53 researchers and 19 graduate students for a broad array of topics
October 12, 2018

On October 9, the federal government announced major new funding for a wide variety of groundbreaking research projects at Concordia in the areas of natural sciences and engineering.

The support comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, largely through their Discovery, Research Tools and Instruments, and Ship Time grant programs. Fifty-three of the university’s researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science will receive a total of $8,929,129 in the next five years. Additionally, 19 graduate students will be awarded a total of $594,000.

“These NSERC awards and scholarships provide important core funding that researchers can use to pursue their most promising ideas and breakthrough discoveries,” says Christophe Guy, Concordia’s vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies.

“This significant support enhances Concordia's research expertise and helps provide a stimulating environment for research training in a range of disciplines. I congratulate my colleagues from the various departments across the university who received awards.”

3 researchers receive $50,000+ annually for 5 years

Of note, three Concordians will receive $50,000 or more per year, for a five-year-period, in Discovery Grant funding, which supports creativity and innovation in research initiatives.

Ann English is a distinguished professor emerita from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Honorary Concordia University Research Chair in Bioinorganic Chemistry. She will look at ways to improve our biochemical understanding of aging and aging-related diseases by exploring how cells coordinate their responses to oxidative stress. Computational aspects of this work also have received generous support from Compute Canada.

Michael Hallett is a professor in the Department of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics Algorithms. He will develop new ways to create synthetic organisms, which will ultimately support the production of biofuels and pharmaceuticals.

Yves Gélinas, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Concordia University Research Chair in Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry and Biochemistry, will examine organic carbon cycling and preservation in aquatic environments using bulk, molecular and isotopic methods. Gélinas also received funding for this particular project through NSERC’s Ship Time Program, which offers researchers access to vessels in support of their research programs.

Research tools and instruments

Also included in the $8.9M are three Concordia researchers who were awarded approximately $409,000, over one year, from NSERC’s Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program:

  • Pragasen Pillay, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to support the development of a dynamometer for electric vehicles, micro-grids and renewable energy applications;

  • Wei-Ping Zhu, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, to purchase intelligent signal processing equipment for use on 5G networks; and

  • Muthukumaran Packirisamy, professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering, for an intra-cellular plasmonic system for neurons, exosomes and cellular studies.

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