The University of Guelph will receive nearly $3.8 million through two new Canada Research Chairs (CRC) and two renewed chairs.

Kirsty Duncan, federal minister of science, made the announcement today at the University of British Columbia. In all, there are 305 new and renewed chairs at 53 institutions across Canada, an investment of $260  million.

Ottawa established the CRC program in 2000 to attract and retain outstanding faculty at Canadian universities.

“Our new and renewed chairs show the world-changing research capacity across the disciplines at U of G,” said Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research).

Guelph received a Tier 1 chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship to be held by Prof. Susan Brown, School of English and Theatre Studies, and a Tier 2 chair in Dairy Cattle Behaviour and Welfare held by animal biosciences professor Trevor DeVries.

Brown will create an innovative digital research centre called the Arts Research Collaboratory in U of G’s McLaughlin Library. She will work in digital humanities along with scholars in arts, computer science and other fields.

“It’s fabulous that Guelph’s active promotion of digital humanities scholarship has been recognized in this way,” Brown said.

She said the chair will allow researchers to explore scholarly collaborations, experiment with digital environments, and help make a “smarter” Web reflecting cultural diversity and difference.

DeVries will study feeding behaviour in dairy cattle and its effects on herd productivity and the nutritional quality of milk.

“It is a huge honour to be appointed as a Canada Research Chair,” he said. “This position will further enhance my research group’s ability to study behaviour in an effort to improve dairy cattle health and welfare.”

Renewed in today’s announcement is a Tier 1 chair in Molecular Biodiversity held since 2002 by Prof. Paul Hebert, Department of Integrative Biology. Campbell said Hebert’s third renewal “underscores the global importance of his DNA-based characterization of the planet’s biodiversity.”

Also renewed is a Tier 2 chair in Lipids, Metabolism and Human Health held since 2010 by Prof. David Wright, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, to study exercise and metabolism.