Memorial University receives more than $825,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation

Nov 19th, 2012

Meaghan Whelan

Memorial University receives more than $825,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation

Nine researchers at Memorial University have received a combined investment of $827,954 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support their innovative research programs. The overall value of these research projects is more than $2 million.

The funding was awarded through the CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund, a program designed to help universities attract and retain the very best researchers at a time of intense international competition. Awards are made to researchers who are recognized leaders in their field, or those with a clear promise of becoming future leaders and who require specialized infrastructure.

“Our new Research Strategy Framework calls on Memorial University to support an environment of research excellence,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), Memorial University of Newfoundland. “That means attracting and retaining the very best scholars, and helping them acquire the specialized tools they need for their research. The CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund, and the requisite matching funds generously provided to us by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, continue to be one of the important ways we achieve this goal.”

Researchers from the Faculties of Arts, Engineering and Applied Science, Science, Medicine and Grenfell Campus received funding under this program. The funding is also creating valuable opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration as illustrated by the following examples.

Dr. Penny Morrill, assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, and co-investigator Dr. Vaughan Grimes, assistant professor in the Department of Archeology, Faculty of Arts, were jointly awarded $110,106 from the CFI for research tools that will advance research across many themes at Memorial University, including natural resources, culture and heritage, energy and the environment.

Housed in The Earth Resources Research and Analysis facility under the auspices of Memorial’s Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training (CREAIT) network, this new equipment is critical to Dr. Morrill’s research on sources of methane and other hydrocarbons on Earth and other planets. Similarly, it will enable Dr. Grimes to investigate the diets and movement patterns of human ancestors through analysis of archaeological and forensic tissues such as bone, teeth and hair. It will also support research at Memorial University related to ecosystem and environmental change (Dr. Susan Ziegler), mineral resources (Dr. Steve Piercey) and culture (Dr. Kristin Poduska).

Dr. Barbara Neis, University Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and co-director of the SafetyNet Centre for Research in Occupational Health and Safety, received $104,498 for her project On the Move: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context. Combined with a recent operating grant of $2.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, this will be the first comprehensive study of employment-related geographical mobility in Canada.

Researchers will track the changing distribution (regional, sectoral, social) since 1980, investigate the policies that drive and influence it, examine the impact of extended daily and long distance travel on employees and their families, employers, home and host communities and explore strategies for addressing these impacts. The CFI award will specifically support research collaborations, research training, knowledge mobilization and other activities at Memorial, the University of Northern British Columbia and 22 other partner universities.

“CFI investments equip researchers with the tools they need to think big and turn discoveries into innovative products and processes that benefit their communities,” said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Projects are eligible to receive up to 40 per cent of the total project cost from CFI under the Leader’s Opportunity Fund.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit

Funded projects

Dr. Kelly Hawboldt, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; co-applicants – Dr. Robert Helleur, Department of Chemistry and Dr. Lesley James, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Maximizing energy efficiency - Analytical Fuel Research for Enhanced Oil Recovery and Second Generation Biofuels; $100,000.

Dr. Ronald Haynes, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science; co-applicant – Dr. Colin Farquharson, Department of Earth Sciences; GPU-based high performance computer for geophysical applications; $63,597.

Dr. Mani Larijani, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and Oncology, Faculty of Medicine; Mechanisms of genome mutators governing adaptive immunity and lymphomagenesis; $72,598.

Dr. Iain McGaw, Ocean Sciences Centre, Faculty of Science; Development of a crustacean biology laboratory; $97,475.

Dr. Penny Morrill, Faculty of Science and Dr. Vaughan Grimes, Faculty of Arts; Compositional and isotopic characterization of complex organic samples for the study of origin and preservation of hydrocarbons and biological tissues; $110,106.

Dr. Barbara Neis, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and co-director of the SafetyNet Centre for Research in Occupational Health and Safety; On the move: employment-related geographical mobility in the Canadian context; $104,498.

Dr. Kapil Tahlan, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science; co-applicant – Dr. Dawn Bignell, Department of Biology; Molecular and biochemical research laboratory for studying pathogenic and industrially relevant microorganisms; $79,680.

Dr. Lev Tarasov, Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modelling, Faculty of Science; High performance scientific computing infrastructure for Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modelling; $100,000.

Dr. Jianghua Wu, Sustainable Resource Management, Grenfell Campus; Impacts of agricultural drainage and climate change on greenhouse gas emissions from northern peatlands; $100,000.