Researchers, Students Get $11.5 Million from NSERC

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The University of Guelph has received nearly $11.5 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to support the work of 80 faculty, researchers and students.

The awards were announced in Oshawa, Ont., by Ed Holder, federal minister of state (science and technology). Across Canada, the government will provide $443 million to support 3,800 engineers, scientists and students.

Today’s announcement includes NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Research Tools and Instruments Grants, and Major Resources Support programs. U of G received funding for 58 researchers spanning six colleges and numerous departments. Most projects are supported for five years.

U of G also received 22 graduate scholarship and fellowship awards, worth a total of more than $2 million.

“This investment is a wonderful endorsement of U of G’s research strengths and reputation,” said Malcom Campbell, vice-president (research).

“This funding will enable U of G faculty members at all career stages to leverage their discoveries into new knowledge and applications. It also helps us foster the next generation of researchers and scholars through fellowships and scholarships.”

U of G’s largest allocation went to food science professor Alejandro Marangoni, who received $450,000 to continue groundbreaking research on healthy fats and oils.

“I am honoured and grateful for the opportunity to continue carrying out NSERC-funded research,” he said.

Marangoni’s research might lead to new food processing methods and new value-added products.

“NSERC Discovery Grants allow scientists to develop their own ideas from the ground up,” he said. “It’s one of the most inspired funding programs that foster creativity, scientific depth and rigour, and knowledge translation under one umbrella.”

Engineering professor Emily Yi Wai Chiang, who joined U of G last spring, received a $125,000 grant.

“Funding support from NSERC is particularly important for me as an early career researcher to attract highly qualified personnel and industrial and academic partnerships,” she said.

She’s looking for ways to make industrial and mining waste safe for use in new products.

“Management of corrosive and toxic waste is an ongoing issue for mining and metallurgical industries in Canada and globally,” she said.

Ontario Veterinary College professor Nicole Nemeth also received a $125,000 Discovery grant. “It will allow me to lay the groundwork for establishing a research program in the evolving field of arthropod-borne viruses.”

Initially, she will focus on the Powassan virus. Related to West Nile virus, this rare virus can spread to wildlife and humans through tick bites. In humans, it can cause encephalitis, or brain inflammation, and be fatal.

Nemeth, Department of Pathobiology, will study pertinent tick species, viral prevalence in mammals and ticks, and effects of changing land use and climate. She hopes to help improve disease surveillance and control.