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Vol 40  No 9
January 31, 2008


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Biology professor renewed as Canada
Research Chair
by Kelly Foss


Photo submitted

Dr. Paul Snelgrove, associate professor with the Department of Biology, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems, Tier 2.

The announcement was made by Jim Prentice, federal industry minister, as part of an investment of $109.7 million to fund appointments to, and renewals of, 109 Canada Research Chairs across the country.

“By investing in the Canada Research Chairs Program, we are helping universities recruit and retain the most brilliant and promising researchers, and contributing to enable these institutions to become leaders in the fields of advanced science and technology,” said Mr. Prentice.

The CRC program offers eligible Canadian universities the opportunity to nominate outstanding researchers for professorships in areas that will further overall research priorities and maximize their contributions as centres of research and research training. Tier 2 chairs are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each tier 2 chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years with the ability to renew the position for another five.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Dr. Snelgrove. “It basically gives you a licence to hunt. People have extra respect for what you’re doing. So when you go to them with a new proposal, they’re interested. They don’t ask who you are or why they should be involved.”

Memorial University has five CRCs focused on marine science which Dr. Snelgrove said enhances the university as a centre in this field and affirms a commitment to continued ocean research.

“Memorial University has been very supportive of the chair and continue to be so,” he said. “That makes my life easier because they make sure I have good space, good people, and good opportunities with grad students. Those are all key elements to successful research. In fact, the Ocean Sciences Centre, where I reside, is considered a cutting edge facility in cold ocean science.”

Dr. Snelgrove is currently in the process of creating a national initiative to bring together researchers to look into biodiversity in Canada’s oceans and better management of marine resources.

“One of the major objectives I’ve had in past first five years is to get this initiative funded,” he said. “Most of my research has been related to better ocean understanding and better ocean stewardship which is something we haven’t been very good at in the past.

“You can pop up a satellite image of the Amazon Forest and show that it’s being decimated, but you can’t do the same thing (to show what’s happening to) the sea floor because there’s just no technology to do that,” he added. “People used to think that the oceans were inexhaustible. Some well respected people said there was nothing we could do to the oceans. But now we certainly know that’s not the case.”

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