Waterloo Science researchers awarded $17 million in funding

Thursday, March 4, 2021

From the smallest of nanomaterials to the edges of our known galaxy, and every water droplet in between, researchers in the Faculty of Science are pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

This ground-breaking research has been recognized by the Canada Foundation for Innovation in their latest Innovation Fund grant awards, with five projects in Science and one project led by the Faculty of Engineering, but involving Science researchers, receiving a total of $17,272,134.

David Blowes and Carol Ptacek
Professors David Blowes and Carol Ptacek from the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have been awarded $3,313,077 for their project Developing Innovative Technologies for Predicting and Remediating Environmental Contamination.

This project focuses on developing new strategies for cleaning existing contamination, and protecting water resources from future contamination due to resource extraction work, industrial and municipal waste disposal systems. This research will lead to improved environmental management and protection of ecosystem and human health, enhanced environmental sustainability, and result in opportunities for commercialization of new technologies.

Brian Dixon and Paul Craig
Professors Brian Dixon and Paul Craig from the department of Biology have received $780,000 for the creation of a new Waterloo Aquatic Threats Environmental Research (WATER) Facility.

Research from the WATER Facility will improve management and protection of Canada's threatened waters and ecosystems resulting from multiple and cumulative stressors. Strategies for managing Canada's wild fish populations and fisheries will be improved using the knowledge derived from WATER Facility research on the impact of climate change, environmental chemicals and pathogens.

Michel Fich
Professor Michel Fich from the department of Physics and Astronomy has received $4,900,000 for a revolutionary telescope in Chile, known as the CCAT-prime submillimeter wavelength survey telescope.

Fich is the Canadian lead for the international partnership building this telescope, which will be located at the best “submillimeter site” in the world, allowing these small wavelengths of light to be measured without any atmospheric interference. The telescope will enable Canadian scientists to continue their leading role in discoveries in topics such as Dark Energy, Dark Matter, neutrino mass, and gravitational - wave physics.

Tong Leung
Professor Tong Leung from the department of Chemistry, along with collaborator Professor Mayram Ebrahimi from Lakehead University, have been awarded $2,667,473 for their project Advanced Materials Ontario: Harnessing the power of multifunctional materials for new technologies.

Developing advanced multifunctional materials may offer tremendous benefits to many of Canada's key industries, from chemical and biosensors and human health monitors to clean technologies for hydrogen fuel cells and solar cells to environmental remediation technologies for clean air and water.

Linda Nazar
Professor Linda Nazar from the department of Chemistry, alongside Professor Zhongwei Chen from Chemical Engineering were awarded $2,088,832 to establish an Ontario Centre for Battery and Electrochemical Research.

This centre will provide the tools necessary to take the next step forward in next generation energy storage technologies. Step-changes in understanding these technologies, and optimizing the next generation of batteries will be achieved using unique and state-of-the-art characterization facilities capable of directly monitoring changes within working batteries, coupled with battery manufacturing.

Kirsten Muller
A sixth project, led by Professor Monica Emelko from the Faculty of Engineering, alongside Professor Kirsten Müller from the department of Biology were awarded $3,522,752 for a project named forWater AID: Advanced Infrastructure Development for forested drinking water source protection technologies in Canada.

This project will enable the state-of-the-art analysis of known and emerging water quality threats to drinking water treatability, as well as the year-round access to and instrumentation of Canada's world class watershed observatories. This will allow researchers to identify threats to Canadian water supplies and develop forest management-based technologies to ensure Canadian drinking water security now and in the future.

“Canada's researchers and scientists are some of the brightest and most skilled in the world," says The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. "Today’s investments will ensure that they have what they need to help us build a Canada that is healthier, cleaner, and more competitive.”

This grant was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and supported by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry on March 3, 2021. Across the country, a total of $518 million was invested to support projects allowing Canada to remain at the forefront of exploration and knowledge generation.