Dr. Fran Kerton of the Department of Chemistry has recently accepted an appointment to a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) committee.
She was approached by the organization in late 2012 and asked to consider serving on the manufacturing panel for NSERC’s Strategic Project Grants (SPG). The objective of the SPG is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly influence Canada’s economy, society or environment within the next 10 years.
“Specifically I’ve been asked to review materials systems and sustainable manufacturing proposals and comment on them,” she explained. “These can be regarding anything from polymers and plastics to materials that might be used in computers. It’s a good fit because sustainable development is an area I’m very interested in.”
Dr. Kerton says the SPGs are quite different from the discovery grants she is already used to applying for.
“The success rate on discovery grants, although it has gone down recently, is much better than these strategic project grants. Those are massively oversubscribed so the chance of funding is only around 25 per cent. However, there is a lot more money available.”
Dr. Kerton believes serving on the committee that will help decides who will receive NSERC grants will be a learning experience for her that may lead to improved opportunities for Memorial researchers.
“It will certainly give me some insight as to how NSERC and the federal government is moving forward, because I’ll be interacting with all of the NSERC panels and committees,” she said. “It will allow me to find out what goes into a winning application, so hopefully we can target that in the future and I can also pass on some of that knowledge I’ve gained to other researchers in the faculty.”
Dr. Kerton will serve on the committee for three years. She has previously sat on the NSERC scholarships and fellowships committee.