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Dalhousie researchers receive funding to further their cutting edge research

Posted by Dalhousie Research Services on June 22, 2015 in News

Monday, June 22, 2015 (Halifax, NS) - Fifty-four researchers from across five faculties at Dalhousie were recognized today for their creative and innovative research. Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced the recipients of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ontario.

“The Discovery Grants Program assists in promoting excellence in research and trianing,” said Dr. John Newhook, Associate Vice-President Research and Professor, Faculty of Engineering. “Dalhousie’s researchers have always been leaders in discovery and innovation, this funding will allow them to continue their research programs with the flexibility to pursue promising ideas as they emerge.”

Today’s funded researchers are making scientific discoveries in the areas of ocean studies, advanced materials and clean technology, health and wellness, information science and communication, agriculture and food technologies, and energy and the environment.

Highlights of successfully funded Dalhousie research

Understanding our movements when we make rapid decisions

Dr. Heather Neyedli, Assistant Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance, studies the planning and execution of movements in the context of positive and negative consequences, known as visuomotor decision making. A rapid visuomotor decision in daily life can include the decision of when to quickly switch lanes or to answer a ringing phone without knocking a cup of coffee over the keyboard.

To make these visuomotor decisions people rely on information from the surrounding environment and experience to produce what is hopefully the best reaction. However, through her research, Heather has found that people do not make the best visuomotor decisions. Heather’s research looks to understand where optimal performance breaks down and how training and experience can promote more optimal visuomotor decision making. The research will also look at how attention is directed in the context of balancing positive and negative outcomes.

The results of Heather’s research will provide a better understanding of how behave when making a quick decision and increase knowledge of the visuomotor system.

Exploring new battery materials

Dr. Mark Obrovac’s, associate professor of Chemistry and Physics and NSERC / 3M Canada Limited Industrial Research Chair, research has the potential to change the battery industry. Mark’s research focuses on using low-cost and abundant raw materials, such as magnesium to develop new practical metal-ion battery chemistries.

Theoretically, magnesium batteries could store more energy than traditional battery materials. The use of low cost magnesium metal in the cell could also reduce materials cost. Mark’s research will continue to explore the development of low-cost batteries, such as the magnesium battery. The batteries could potentially be used in applications such as cell phones, electrical grid storage or electric vehicles. However, currently magnesium batteries cannot be charged or discharged quickly at room temperature. Mark's research will also explore magnesium battery function at high temperatures, where they could operate more efficiently and may be used for other applications, such as in medical devices, drilling exploration and satellites.

Dalhousie’s successful funded applicants

For a complete list of Dalhousie’s successfully funded Discover Grants Program applicants, please visit NSERC’s website.

In addition to the Discovery Grants Program, successful applicants for NSERC’s Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grants and Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships were also announced. Nine researchers were awarded RTI funding and 13 students were recipients of graduate and postdoctoral scholarships / fellowships.


Media Contact
Alana Milner
Senior Communications Advisor, Dalhousie Research Services
Dalhousie University
(902) 494-4148 / (902) 430-8772 (m)


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