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REF NO.: 182

SUBJECT: Memorial University receives $10 million research boost from the Canada Foundation for Innovation

DATE: March 9

Memorial University researchers will lead an elite group of major players in computation-based research in Canada with the announcement of $9.9 million for an Atlantic Canadian high performance computing (HPC) network.

Atlantic Canada is home to a vibrant community of researchers whose work demands high performance computing and visualization. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has now awarded $9,934,611 to Memorial University to establish ACEnet, the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network (ACEnet).

Memorial University is the lead institution for this network, with six partner institutions: St. Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary's University, the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University, the University of Prince Edward Island and Dalhousie University.

ACEnet will transform dispersed, institution-based researchers into fully interacting, regional research communities, equipped with the tools to stay at the forefront of international research. ACEnet will focus on fields that require high performance computing infrastructure and expertise, and in which there are existing regional strengths and a commonality of interests.

ACEnet will create a world-class HPC infrastructure, complemented by emphasis on attracting highly qualified personnel at all levels, and forging collaborations and linkages at both the researcher and institutional level.

Other CFI awards to Memorial

In addition to the ACEnet award, CFI awarded $531,988 to Dr. Gary Paterno, Faculty of Medicine, for a QStar tandem mass spectrometer for the analysis of molecular structures and interactions.

The tandem mass spectrometer will profoundly enhance the research capabilities of Memorial University's researchers to perform innovative research, which will impact the health, welfare, economic development and quality of life of Canadians and the global population. The tandem mass spectrometer is an instrument that is used in many diverse research fields to identify and characterize molecules with exquisite accuracy and from small amounts of material. This field is now beginning to exploit the tremendous advances and information in the area of genomics, including the complete DNA sequence of humans and many other organisms to address many problems in biology, biochemistry, health and disease.

Dr. Kristin Poduska, Physics and Physical Oceanography and Dr. Erika Merschrod, Chemistry were awarded $322,296 under CFI's New Opportunities Fund, for a specialized facility for in-fluid preparation and characterization of inorganic and biological materials. This unique facility will provide equipment that is essential to two emerging research programs, one developing hierarchically-structured bio-inorganic materials (based in the Department of Chemistry), and the other creating novel electro-deposited materials (based in the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography). The infrastructure encompasses a powerful suite of instruments for the preparation and study of biological and inorganic materials in aqueous environments. The new materials developed through this research will find use in a number of technological applications, from electronic circuit miniaturization to biomedical implants.

The total investment from CFI to support the three projects was almost $11 million.

"This is the largest total award ever received by Memorial University from the CFI," said Dr. Chris Loomis, vice-president (research) at Memorial. "This funding, and the money it leverages, will add new world-class infrastructure to Memorial University, furthering our growth and reputation in research."

"ACEnet, which is being led by Dr. Mark Whitmore, is especially significant. It will provide transformative high performance computing capability in support of research excellence throughout Atlantic Canada."

"We can say with conviction that Canada is becoming a place where world-class researchers want to be," said Dr. David Strangway, president and CEO of CFI. "This investment will further develop Canada's global reputation as a place where outstanding research and training is being conducted."

Prime Minister Paul Martin joined Dr. Strangway in Ottawa on March 8, to announce a total of $585.9 million to support 126 projects at 57 Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and other non-profit research institutions. These investments were approved by the CFI board of directors and are awarded through two funds: $450.7 million under the Innovation Fund, enabling institutions to strengthen their research infrastructure in all areas of research, including the social sciences and humanities; and $135.2 million under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, which assists universities with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.

A complete list of Innovation Fund projects by university can be found at

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created in 1997 by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the ability of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other non-profit institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that will benefit Canadians.

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