News Release

REF NO.: 81

SUBJECT: Memorial-led team receives $1.65 million to address problems in Canada's oceans and estuaries

DATE: July 11, 2019

A member of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University is leading an international team that has been awarded $1.65 million in federal funding to protect Canada’s oceans and estuaries by addressing emerging environmental problems.
Dr. Bing Chen’s training program in Persistent, Emerging and Oil PoLlution Mitigation in Cold Marine Environments (PEOPLE) is one of 18 research projects across Canada to receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program.

'Next generation of research leaders'
The announcement was made today by Kate Young, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Science and Sport, on behalf of Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and Sport.
“Our government is proud to invest in our next generation of innovators so our highly skilled workforce will continue to make new discoveries that will strengthen Canada’s research community and enhance our international competitiveness,” said Ms. Young.
“When young Canadians choose science, programs like CREATE provide the hands-on experiences they need to launch their careers,” said Minister Duncan. “This investment will provide this country’s brightest natural sciences and engineering students and post-doctoral fellows the support that our next generation of research leaders need to help ensure our health, environment, communities and economy thrive.”
First of its kind in Canada

The funding will enable Dr. Chen and his team to remain at the forefront of research and education in the field.

As the first of its kind in Canada, the CREATE program will form a cross-disciplinary training environment that will assemble world-class expertise and facilities targeting cold ocean environmental challenges.

It will develop solutions to address the growing pollution problems caused by persistent, emerging and organic pollutants (PEOPs).
“I am grateful to NSERC for this significant investment into our research on a very urgent and critical topic,” said Dr. Chen.
“The emerging environmental problems caused by PEOPs present new challenges. These occur not only due to a higher quantity and complexity of pollutants, but also due to the lack of knowledge, policies and mitigation solutions. The funding provides a timely and vital boost for our PEOPLE network to grow our collaborative, global consortium for leading-edge research and cross-disciplinary training in the environmental field.”

Ten institutions
Dr. Chen’s team, which includes leading researchers from more than 10 institutions, including Canada, the U.S. and China, will conduct innovative research related to PEOPs and train a new generation of professionals.

Together they will help address the pressing challenges in order to protect Canada’s oceans and coastal communities and improve scientific evidence-based policy-making and industrial practice.
Dr. Chen has made pioneering contributions to the quantitative understanding of PEOP pollution and their effects in harsh marine and freshwater environments. He has developed innovative engineering and managerial solutions by integrating environmental engineering with nano/biological technologies and coupling risk-simulation and optimization methods. 

'Cleaner, safer'
“Thank you to NSERC for today’s important investment in Dr. Chen’s training program in Persistent, Emerging and Oil PoLlution Mitigation in Cold Marine Environments,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), Memorial University.

"Memorial is proud to work with our federal partners to help create a cleaner, safer environment for all Canadians.”
Dr. Greg Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, also offered his congratulations.
“Dr. Chen is an internationally renowned leader in environmental engineering research," he said.

"He has made major research contributions to organic pollution mitigation in cold ocean environments and industry wastewater treatment. This CREATE program will align well with his other recent major initiatives on offshore oil spill response through Canada's Ocean Protection Plan.”

The NSERC CREATE program focuses on initiatives that raise the standards for best practices in the mentoring and training of new researchers. The program also helps researchers get hands-on experience working on new discoveries and solutions that will improve the lives of Canadians. Through internships and training opportunities with businesses and other potential employers, students will gain the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
Other CREATE grants support teams from coast to coast, working in a wide variety of research areas, including cybersecurity, blockchain technology, neurotechnology, medical diagnostics, industrial engineering and soil science to fight climate change.

- 30 -