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‘Vast depth’

More than $3 million in federal funding to propel science and research

By Jeff Green

Significant funding from the Government of Canada is ensuring Memorial researchers remain at the forefront of discovery and insightful studies.

On June 15, François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced investments supporting Canadian innovators.

Here at Memorial, researchers successfully secured a total of $3,283,862 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Multidisciplinary studies

The funding supports projects ranging from developing ecosystem-based approaches to address fisheries and climate change impacts for Newfoundland and Labrador marine ecosystems to evaluating the economic contribution of immigrants to Atlantic Canada.

Researchers in the faculties of Engineering and Applied Science; Humanities and Social Sciences; Science; the Marine Institute; and the School of Science and the Environment at Grenfell Campus are among those benefitting from the support.

The funding comes from programs such as NSERC’s Discovery GrantsResearch Tools and Instruments Grants, as well as SSHRC’s Insight Grants and Partnership Development Grants.

Innovative research

“This is a tremendous investment by the Government of Canada and a major boost for our teams of multidisciplinary researchers,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), who is leading a project that is receiving funding.

“Memorial is committed to strengthening innovative research and these latest results, secured from highly competitive NSERC and SSHRC competitions, demonstrates the vast depth of the expertise of our research teams. I congratulate our recipients and wish them luck as they undertake their critical studies to better understand our world and address challenges facing our communities.”

Support for CRCs

The funding was announced as part of a larger research announcement that also included support for new and renewed Canada Research Chairs.

Drs. Alex Bihlo and John Jamieson, both based in the Faculty of Science, were renewed as tier 2 CRCs.

Tier 2 chairs are five-year awards for $100,000 each year. (note: insert link to separate Gazette news story).

‘Cutting-edge research’

Dr. Jin Gao
Dr. Jin Gao
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Jin Gao, research scientist, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Marine Institute, is receiving $140,000 in NSERC funding for the project, Improving the Sustainability of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries via Predictive Modelling.

Dr. Gao develops and applies modern statistical methods to improve stock assessment.

She’s examining major commercial fish populations in the North Atlantic and wants to improve forecasts of population dynamics for management decisions.

She also notes that accurate and adaptive predictive models are vital to successful management.

“We can obviously be better prepared with more accurate predictions with proper analysis of the big data. I want to produce the most accurate estimate of the status and forecasts of our natural resources to give Canadians long-lasting sustainable fisheries.”

Dr. Gao says the federal investment provides five years of support, allowing her to build a cutting-edge research framework of quantitative fisheries and to hire four graduate students as part of her research program.

Immigration study

Dr. Tony Fang, Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Economic and Cultural Transformation, Department of Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, secured $199,712 in SSHRC funding for the project, Evaluating the Economic Contribution of Immigrants to Atlantic Canada.

Dr. Tony Fang is pictured in a dark suit and white shirt in front of a white board.
Dr. Tony Fang
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Fang notes the COVID-19 pandemic has “resulted in a severe deterioration to economic and fiscal circumstances,” across Canada.

“Achieving strong economic growth, of which immigration is a key driver, may be especially necessary to deal with large deficits and debts and the erosion in tax bases across the country,” he said.

He says Atlantic Canada has experienced “significant” demographic deficits and that increased immigration can potentially help grow the population and economy.

“It is important to understand how Canada may be impacted by a large increase in immigration and how Atlantic Canada, with the lowest immigrant rate among economic regions, would stand to benefit from these large immigrant intakes.”

Dr. Fang and his team are conducting focus group discussions and online surveys with a cross selection of stakeholders, including the business community, non-governmental organizations and government agencies.

He adds the group wants to explore “the best possible immigration policies and practices in all sectors of our economy.”

Below is a listing of Memorial applicants and co-applicants who are receiving NSERC’s Discovery Grants and Research Tools and Instruments Grants; as well as SSHRC’s Insight Grants and Partnership Development Grants.

NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program Recipients

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Joseph Daraio, Department of Civil Engineering, Standardized Storm Water Infrastructure Design and Planning Protocols for Capacity Limited Communities and Climate Change Uncertainty, $130,000
  • Xili Duan, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Multiphase Flow and Phase Change Heat Transfer with Innovative Functional Surfaces, $230,000
  • Neil Bose, Department of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering, Advancing Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Capability for Assessment of Marine Pollution, $135,000

Total: $495,000

Faculty of Science

  • Abir Igamberdiev, Department of Biology, Nitric oxide metabolism and its interaction with reactive oxygen species during the adaptation of plants to abiotic stress, $165,000
  • Kathleen Hourihan, Department of Psychology, Purposeful memory: Influences on how we remember and forget, $140,000
  • Danny Dyer, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Time and motion in graphs, $90,000
  • Sarah Lehnert, Department of Ocean Sciences, Quantifying mechanisms of rapid adaptation to predict responses to climate change, $165,000
  • Patrick Gagnon, Department of Ocean Sciences, Structuring mechanisms and transformative potential of cold marine benthic ecosystems, $140,000
  • Heloise Therien-Aubin, Department of Chemistry, Controlling and harnessing the effects of nanoconfinement in colloidal polymers and polymer-colloid hybrids, $145,000
  • Zhaozhi Fan, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Quantile Regression with Multivariate Failure Time Data, $90,000

Total: $935,000

Marine Institute

  • Shannon Bayse, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Using quantitative behavioural approaches to develop sustainable fisheries, $140,000
  • Jin Gao, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Improving the sustainability of Northwest Atlantic fisheries via predictive modelling, $140,000
  • Tyler Eddy, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Developing ecosystem-based approaches to address fisheries and climate change impacts for Newfoundland & Labrador marine ecosystems, $165,000

Total: $445,000

Grenfell Campus

  • Nguyen Lam, School of Science and the Environment, Functional, geometric and matrix inequalities and applications, $115,000
  • Mumtaz Cheema, School of Science and the Environment, Assessing cover cropping options for improved forage yield, quality and soil health in a boreal climate, $165,000

Total: $280,000

NSERC’s Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program

Faculty of Science

  • Francesca Kerton, Department of Chemistry, Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer for Fundamental and Applied Materials Research, $147,799. Co-applicant: Christopher Kozak.
  • Yuming Zhao, Department of Chemistry, Spectrofluorometer, $144,081. Co-applicants: Bing Chen; Baiyu Zhang; Yan Zhang.

Total: $291,880

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Mohammad Al Janaideh, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Multi-Axis Laser Interferometer for Position Measurements and Motion Feedback Control, $148,680. Co-applicant: Lihong Zhang.
  • Oscar De Silva, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Multi-Sensory UAV Navigation Research Testbed, $73,939

Total: $222,619

SSHRC’s Insight grants

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Lincoln Addison, Department of Anthropology, Zimbabwean women’s work in South African horticulture: does it increase their access to land at home? $94,138
  • Nicholas A. Lynch, Department of Geography, After Church: Investigating the transformation of worship spaces in an era of change, $222,528. Co-applicant: Barry Stephenson.

Total: $316,666

Grenfell Campus

  • Gabriela L. Sabau, School of Science and the Environment, Assessing the Potential for Agroecological Transition in Newfoundland and Labrador Agriculture: A Transdisciplinary Approach, $97,985

Total: $97,985

SSHRC’s Partnership Development Grants

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Tony Fang, Department of Economics, Evaluating economic contribution of immigrants to Atlantic Canada, $199,712

Total: $199,172

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