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Nov. 14, 2002, Gazette

Feds announce 123 new Canada Research Chairs
Four for MUN

The federal government announced an investment of $130.1 million to support the creation of 123 new Canada Research Chairs during a press conference at Memorial University on Nov. 12. The announcement was made by Gerry Byrne, minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), who pointed out that 43 of these new chairs are external recruits of outstanding calibre.

Dr. Thormod Johansen
Dr. Thormod Johansen

“The brain gain is gaining momentum,” said Mr. Byrne. “Researchers from the United States to Japan are attracted by the prestige of the Canada Research Chairs Program and the international reputations of our universities.”

Memorial University will be home to four new CRC chairs, including Dr. Thormod Johansen, who is coming to Canada from Norway where he worked as an advisor and senior engineer for a number of petroleum companies, and specialized in developing simulation software. As Canada Research Chair in Petroleum Reservoir Engineering and Characterization at Memorial University, he will work on the development of new simulation methodologies and tools that apply to the entire lifecycle of an oil or gas field, from discovery to abandonment.

Dr. Robert Bertolo
Dr. Robert Bertolo

Memorial’s other new Canada Research Chairs announced Nov. 12 were Robert F. P. Bertolo, Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition; William R. Driedzic, Canada Research Chair in Marine Bioscience; and Paul V. R. Snelgrove, Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems.

The investment announced Nov. 12 includes $116.4 million from the Canada Research Chairs Program and $13.7 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to provide infrastructure support to Canada Research Chairholders.

“An innovative society rests on innovative people,” said Dr. David Strangway, president and CEO of the CFI. “We must continue to ensure that top-notch researchers, such as those honoured here today, have the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment they need to carry out world-class research.”

Dr. William Driedzic
Dr. William Driedzic

As the Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Nutrition, Dr. Bertolo’s focus will be to improve understanding of the role of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in whole body amino acid metabolism.

As one of Canada’s leading fish physiologists, Dr. Driedzic has been the prime proponent of the fish heart model for studies of the control of energy metabolism and biochemical adaptations. He studies fish hearts not because the tissue is singularly important, but because it provides a vehicle for investigating the full range of levels of organization from whole animal to molecular biology.

Dr. Paul Snelgrove
Dr. Paul Snelgrove

Dr. Johansen’s long-range goal is to develop new simulation methodologies and tools that are applicable to the entire lifecycle of an oil or gas field, from discovery to abandonment.

Within the marine environment, our understanding of the processes that regulate and maintain biodiversity is very limited, and even less is known about cold ocean ecosystems. Dr. Snelgrove’s research will attempt to address this shortcoming by focusing on early life history stages and the processes that influence success, failure and the subsequent pattern of biodiversity. Budget 2000 allocated $900 million to the Canada Research Chairs Program to help Canadian universities attract and retain the best researchers and achieve research excellence in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, and social sciences and humanities.

For more information on Memorial’s new Canada Research Chairs, or on the chairs program, see www.chairs.gc.ca/.