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Canada Foundation for Innovation announces funding for 12 Dal research projects

Announcement made at the Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building opening

- June 5, 2013

Gilles Patry making the national CFI funding announcement at the grand opening of the Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building. (Nick Pearce photo)
Gilles Patry making the national CFI funding announcement at the grand opening of the Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building. (Nick Pearce photo)

At the grand opening of the Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building on Wednesday, Gilles Patry, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), announced $47.7 million in funding across the country, including $2.4 million for 12 projects at Dalhousie.

“At CFI, we believe that research builds communities,” said Dr. Patry. “A robust innovation system translates into jobs and new entrpises. But innovation also leads to things like better health, cleaner environments and ultimately to vibrant communities.”

In total, CFI’s latest round of awards support 234 projects across the country. The CFI awarded $36.7 million through its Leaders Opportunity Fund, which helps universities attract and retain top research talent, and $11 million through its Infrastructure Operating Fund, which provides operating and maintenance support for the funded infrastructure.

Doug Wallace, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ocean Science and Technology and chief tenant of the new Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building, was awarded nearly $800,000 to support equipment for his new laboratory, which will include five innovative “plug and play” container labs that can move easily from ship to shore.

Dr. Wallace says this feature will allow his team to integrate research at sea and on land in a way that’s entirely novel.

"It will be a fantastic, excellent laboratory which will allow us to house a large amount of sophisticated analytical instrumentation,” explains Dr. Wallace. “By having these container labs as an integral part of the building, right next to the home laboratory, they become an integral part of how we work. That gives you a lot more flexibility, in terms of how you can use them, and it's more efficient in terms of operations."

Read also: Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building opens its doors

In addition to Dr. Wallace, researchers in four other Dalhousie faculties received CFI funding in Wednesday’s announcement, including six researchers in the Faculty of Agriculture. These included projects focusing on biomass production, insect management, marine bioproducts and more.

“I work with various insects that are pests or beneficial to agriculture,” says Chris Cutler of Agriculture’s Department of Environmental Sciences. “Support from CFI ensures that I have environmental chambers and laboratory equipment that is necessary to carry out experiments that we hope will help improve insect management programs for growers.”  

David Burton received $154,000 to advance his advanced study of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production systems and waste management.

“In particular we will be able to examine the processes producing nitrous oxide during the freezing and thawing of soil, which accounts for over 50 per cent of total production,” explains Dr. Burton, also of the Department of Environmental Sciences. “We will be working with Nova Scotia-based companies to develop innovative approaches to measuring these environmental gas fluxes.”

Here are the 12 Dalhousie projects awarded CFI funding in Wednesday's announcement:

Faculty of Agriculture


David Burton
Infrastructure to support advanced study of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production systems and waste management. ($154,076)

Christopher Cutler
Integrated agricultural entomology: A whole-system approach to improve insect management. ($49,845)

James Duston
Broodstock Finfish Freshwater Research Facility. ($59,455)

Tri Nguyen-Quang
Field and laboratory facilities for verification and validation of simulation-based approach to microalgae growth dynamics applied for photobioreactors designing and biomass production monitoring. ($23,441)

Balakrishnan Prithiviraj
Microscope and microplate reader for root-microbe interaction and marine bioproducts research. ($73,433)

Chibuike Udenigwe
Infrastructure for the Health and Bioproducts Research Program. ($111,396)

Faculty of Medicine


Thomas Pulinikunnil
A new laboratory aimed at establishing a cardiac metabolism and function phenotyping program at the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick Cardiovascular Research Centre. ($124,729)

Keith Brunt
A new laboratory to create innovative experimental therapeutics and establish regenerative medicine capacity for cardiovascular disease in New Brunswick. ($125,000)

Faculty of Engineering


Adam Donaldson
Construction of pilot-scale, mini-fluidic systems for multi-phase reactor and separator development, and characterization of dynamic interfacial phenomena in complex geometries. ($124,999)

Christian Schlegel
FPGA and VLSI implementation of enabling technologies for wireless, radio, and acoustic digital communications systems. ($123,636)

Faculty of Science


Doug Wallace
Assessment and prediction of chemical and ecological changes in the ocean. ($797,232)

Faculty of Health Professions


Scott Grandy
Establishment of an innovative translational research laboratory to identify mechanisms underlying age-related cardiovascular disease and to develop evidence-based therapeutic exercise interventions. ($125,000)

Matching funds were also provided by The Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT).  NSRIT supports research infrastructure in Nova Scotia by matching national funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and benefits researchers in areas such as: Ocean Studies; Advanced Materials and Clean Technology; Health and Wellness; Governance, Society and Culture; Information Science and Communication; Agriculture and Food Technologies; and, Energy and the Environment.


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