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REF NO.: 241

SUBJECT: More than $1.3M in federal research support for Memorial University
DATE: July 21, 2011

New funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has pumped $1,318,771 into research projects at Memorial University for the current fiscal year. 
The funding falls under the NSERC’s 2011 Discovery Grant, Discovery Accelerator Supplements and Research Tools and Instruments programs and was announced in late June.
Discovery Grants support ongoing programs of research in every scientific and engineering discipline.
At Memorial, 35 researchers from earth sciences, engineering and applied science, biochemistry, mathematics and statistics, geography, the Ocean Sciences Centre, medicine, biology, chemistry, computer science, physics and physical oceanography and business administration received awards.
Of the Memorial researchers who received Discovery Grants, three received a Discovery Accelerator Supplement. The Accelerator Supplements are awarded to top-ranked researchers who show strong potential for becoming international leaders in their respective fields.
Dr. Rodolphe Devillers, Department of Geography, will be designing methods for evaluating and communicating the quality of open source maps. Just as Wikipedia uses a collaborative approach to an encyclopedia, open source mapping takes a collaborative approach that has the potential to be more up-to-date and accurate than traditional maps, which may only be updated every 25 years. Dr. Devillers hopes to link collaborative mapping to more traditional cartography so that users can have the best of both worlds.
Dr. Kurt Gamperl, Ocean Sciences Centre, received support to study environmental influences on fish heart health. The study will look at everything, from the fish as a whole to the minute details of its genome. The study will help researchers understand how fish deal with environmental stressors and will shed light on how changing environments will affect fish populations and fisheries.
Dr. Michiru Hirasawa, Faculty of Medicine, received funding to investigate nerve transmission in the brain. Nerve transmission (synaptic transmission) is essential to every function of the nervous system, and this research will investigate how a certain type of transmission is regulated within the brain. This will help researchers understand more about how the nervous system, and diseases that affect the nervous system, function.
The Accelerator Supplements Program was initiated in 2008, and these are the first three to be awarded to Memorial University faculty.
Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) at Memorial, said this federal funding speaks well of the work of Memorial researchers.
"These NSERC Discovery grants have been earned in an increasingly difficult and competitive environment. They are evidence of the research excellence we aspire to grow at Memorial and I extend sincere congratulations to all our researchers who were successful in this competition."
Dr. Loomis also noted the significance of the three Accelerator Supplements.
"These awards, which are a first for Memorial University, will enable Drs. Devillers, Gamperl and Hirasawa to better capitalize on the groundbreaking nature of their research. We are proud of the additional support they have secured and the manner in which they have distinguished themselves among their peers."
To see a full listing of the recipients, their departments and the titles of their projects, go to http://today.mun.ca/news.php?news_id=6531.

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