Five top researchers at Memorial University have received a total of $2.5 million in funding from the federal government’s Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program.
The announcement was made by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology), while speaking at the University of Guelph.
“Our government is investing in the people and ideas that will keep Canada at the forefront of the global economy,” said Minister Goodyear. “The Canada Research Chairs are helping to develop, attract and retain the world’s top researchers here in our country.”
Drs. Valerie Booth, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Matthew Rise, Gerard Van Herk and Susan Ziegler were each renewed as tier two chairs. Memorial University will receive $100,000 annually for five years for a total of $500,000 for each chair. Tier two CRC awards recognize exceptional researchers who have been acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.
Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) of Memorial University, said the investment builds on Memorial’s growing reputation for research excellence.
“The Canada Research Chair program helps Memorial University recruit and retain emerging and internationally recognized leaders in research," he said. “It provides them with dedicated time to advance their innovative programs of research and to train the next generation of highly-qualified individuals on whom the future success and well-being of this province and country will depend. These results are a clear and tangible illustration of the world-class research that takes place every day at Memorial.”
Dr. Valerie Booth, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in proteomics. Her research into the structure of proteins is assisting those suffering from respiratory distress and immune diseases and contributing to the Canadian biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, professor in the Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in natural resource sustainability and community development. Her research, focused primarily on fisheries and coastal issues, is helping to develop an appropriate governance system for resource management that corresponds with the values, principles and viewpoints of all relevant stakeholders, including local fishers, community members and policy makers.
Dr. Matthew Rise, assistant professor at the Ocean Sciences Centre, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in marine biotechnology. Dr. Rise uses genomic tools, such as DNA microarrays, or gene chips, for studies related to fish diseases and aquaculture. His research on Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod is leading to new products and methods to benefit the health of farmed and wild marine animals.
Dr. Gerard Van Herk, associate professor in the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in regional language and oral text. His research is shedding light on language change in the province and will help document, preserve and analyze linguistic diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Susan Ziegler, associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, has been renewed as the Canada Research Chair in Environmental science. Dr. Ziegler is studying the impacts of climate change on natural organic matter in boreal forest landscapes and associated aquatic ecosystems. This research aims to improve our understanding of the impact of climate change in these areas and inform forestry industry and water quality policy.
The investment in Memorial was part of a Canada-wide announcement of 253 newly-awarded or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 56 Canadian post-secondary institutions. In total, the Government of Canada invested $203.9 million to undertake new research.
Memorial is home to 21 Canada Research Chairs in a variety of disciplines, including archaeology, traditional music/ethnomusicology, healthy aging and ocean technology. More information about Memorial’s Canada Research Chairs can be found online at www.mun.ca/research/chairs.