Dalhousie’s Michael Freund is the recipient of $1.6 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through its Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program.
The CREATE program is designed to improve the training and mentoring environment for the Canadian researchers of tomorrow by improving training in areas such as professional skills, communication and collaboration, as well as by providing mentoring and experience relevant to both academic and non-academic research environments.
Dr. Freund has more than 25 years of experience with major multi-investigator institutes in Canada and the United States. He helped establish the Manitoba Institute for Materials and served as Director during its building, bringing together facilities including a new electron microscopy suite and surface characterization instrumentation. He also served as the Director of the Molecular Materials Center in the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, where he established and ran independent, externally funded research programs. In addition to being a professor in Dal’s Department of Chemistry, he is also the Harry Shirreff Chair of Chemical Research, and director of the Clean Technologies Research Institute.
“Dalhousie University has long been recognized as an international leader in energy storage in the form of lithium-ion batteries and energy conversion in the form of organic and perovskite photovoltaics,” says Dr. Freund. “It has been exciting to join the growing group of researchers focusing on sustainable energy research and to bring together researchers in Science, Engineering, Management, and Social Sciences to create a program that will dramatically enhance the training of our graduate students.”
“With the emergence of new energy storage and conversion technologies that will be integrated with established renewables, it is essential that young scientists and engineers have detailed, practical knowledge of the rapidly evolving energy landscape and the social, environmental and economic factors driving it,” says Alice Aiken, Dal’s vice president research and innovation. “We’re very proud of Dr. Freund and this innovative program, which will play an important role in producing the next generation of leaders to power the sustainable energy revolution.”
Co-applicants for this project include Michelle Adams; Jeff Dahn; Karen Foster; Ian Hill; Erin Johnson; Ghada Koleilat; Michael Metzger; and Lukas Swan.
Leading the way
Renewable energy is expected to provide almost 50% of the world’s electricity by 2050 and will require investments exceeding $10 trillion to produce the required expansion.
Dr. Freund’s project, the Leaders in Energy Sustainability training program, will produce highly qualified energy and sustainability professionals ready to ensure Canada’s role as a global leader in the emerging energy revolution.
Trainees will gain a unique set of credentials that combine technical expertise, industry insight, research and communication skills, as well as professional and business skills that will enable them to navigate the societal, business, and regulatory environments linked to renewable energy development and its successful deployment. The combination of these skills, knowledge, and experience will prepare them to move into high-level decision making and management roles in a range of industrial, government, and academic sectors.
The program will provide a range of paths for trainees to explore cutting-edge research and professional environments, all while providing a solid foundation of research and communication skills required to be successful in a fast-paced energy future as CEOs, CTOs, deputy ministers, chief engineers, regulators, and policy analysts (to name a few).
“The faculty involved in this program have built strong relationships with industry and have recently secured major infrastructure grants that will provide a world-class research environment for our trainees,” says Dr. Freund. “It is clear that Dalhousie University continues to lead in the global effort to develop new technologies for a sustainable energy future.”
For more information on the CREATE program, visit the NSERC website.
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