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REF NO.: 71

SUBJECT: Memorial researchers receive funding for equipment to study music performance, SARS and more

DATE: Oct. 21

Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research) of Memorial University welcomed the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) total investment of $696,850 for four newly recruited faculty members.

“These awards represent a strategic boost to Memorial’s research capabilities,” said Dr. Loomis. “These projects were selected following a thorough assessment process and will help ensure that researchers and graduate students at Memorial have access to a world-class facility and training environment.”

“These awards will enable researchers to perform their cutting-edge work right here in Newfoundlandand Labrador,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. “Today’s announcement represents what the CFI is all about: providing the tools to institutions and researchers so that they can do the leading edge research that will benefit all Canadians.”

The four projects awarded CFI funding are:

  • $64,012 was awarded to Dr. Daniel Bourgault, Physics and Physical Oceanography for A Microstructure Profiling System for Measuring Turbulent Mixing in Coastal Seas. The acquisition of a microstructure profiling system will enable the creation of a research program at Memorial University dedicated to the study of coastal mixing, with special emphasis on the role of high-frequency internal waves. The microstructure profiler will be central to this research program and its use has the potential to lead to major discoveries on coastal and ocean mixing, an area of oceanography that remains largely undiscovered despite the important ongoing international research effort.

  • Dr. Vlastimil Masek, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science was awarded $159,269 in funding from CFI for the Development of a Micro-Mechatronics Laboratory. This infrastructure will support research in the area of smart sensors and sensor systems using Micro-Mechatronics concepts. In the application area of process industries, the proposed research aims at developing a multiphase flow characterization and flow rate measurement. The primary focus will be on the offshore oil and gas industry that has large economic potential for applying real-time multiphase meters.

  • Dr. Kensuke Hirasawa, Faculty of Medicine was awarded $138,950 in support of infrastructure for his project titled, In Vitro and In Vivo Studies for Virus Infection and Cellular Signaling Pathways. Despite great advances in medicine over the last few decades, virus infection still remains a growing problem for public health and brings about significant economic losses. The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Canadain 2003 resulted in 44 deaths and a significant economic loss (approximately $ 1.5 billion). The renewed threat of West Nilevirus comes every spring in Canada. In 2002, there were 325 confirmed infections of West Nilevirus, with 18 deaths. New strategies for development of antiviral drugs targeting common properties of viruses still need to be studied. Dr. Hirasawa’s research will explore the development of novel antiviral therapies.

  • Dr. Vernon Regehr received $334,619 in CFI funding for a Musical Performance Analysis Facility. The infrastructure will support technologically enhanced analysis and research capability of musical performance. His research will examine the relationship between the physiological, aural and human interactive components of performance of music and explore collaborative performance projects, using the medium of the Internet and related technologies, in order to form new creative partnerships and broaden the scope of the artistic community.

The Honourable Peter Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, on behalf of the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Industry, joined Dr. Phillips on in Ottawa today, to announce $23.7 million under the CFI’s New Opportunities Fund (NOF) to 32 universities in every region in the country.

These investments, approved by the CFI Board of Directors on October 18, 2004, were made under the New Opportunities Fund, providing $18.2 million for infrastructure support to newly recruited academic staff, and the Infrastructure Operating Fund providing $5.5 million to help with operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.

“Today’s investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure will help support the development of world-class expertise in communities across the country and help to attract the best research minds in the world to Canada,” said Mr. Adams.

A complete list of New Opportunities Fund projects, by university, can be found at:

The CFI’s New Opportunities Fund enables eligible universities to provide research infrastructure for newly-recruited faculty members, in their first full-time academic appointment in Canadian degree-granting institutions, so that these researchers can undertake leading-edge research. The fund also enables institutions to recruit new faculty members in the areas of research identified as priorities in their strategic research plans.

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 non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that will benefit Canadians.

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For more information, contact, Deborah Inkpen, communications co-ordinator (research), Memorial University of Newfoundland, at 737-4073 or Valérie Poulin, co-ordinator, Media Relations, Canada Foundation for Innovation at (613) 996-3160 or Cell: (613) 447-1723.


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