Ten researchers from the University of Waterloo received more than $15.6 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to fund two networks and eight projects that will further research efforts through academic and industry collaborations.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced the Strategic Partnerships Grants at Promation in Oakville Ontario; one of the industry partners Waterloo is currently working with to further additive manufacturing. These grants help bring together expertise from academia, Canadian-based companies, government institutions, and international entities to collaborate on innovative research with commercialization potential.

Photo of Ehsan Toyserkani

Professor Ehsan Toyserkani

Of these grants, two networks have been funded to explore timely research. These include: professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering Ehsan Toyserkani’s “Network for Holistic Innovation in Additive Manufacturing,” and professor of civil and environmental engineering Monica Emelko’s “Network for Forested Drinking Water Source Protection Technologies.” Both Professor Toyserkani and Emelko have demonstrated leadership by bringing together like-minded organizations to further their research and to consequently enhance Canada’s role on the international scale.

Professor Toyserkani’s network is quite promising as it is the first national academic additive manufacturing (AM) initiative in Canada. The creation of this network is well-timed considering the global market for AM is set to quintuple by 2020. This network will draw on the collective power of over 50 corporate, academic and government partners, and Professor Toyserkani’s eighteen-year background in AM research, and role as Canada Research Chair in Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing.  The overall goal of this network is to tackle the foremost challenges preventing industry from adopting AM applications, and to ensure Canada is a leader in the AM sector.

Professor Emelko is leading the “forWater” network in identifying new source water protection technologies for climate change adaptation. To ensure secure community water systems, this network will focus on forested source watersheds, because that is where the drinking water for most urban, rural and Indigenous communities originates. With the delivery of safe drinking water being a national strategic priority, Professor Emelko’s network, co-led by Uldis Silinis from the University of Alberta, is pivotal to climate change adaptation and global water security.

Photo of Monica Emelko

Professor Monica Emelko

In addition to these two networks, eight projects were awarded Strategic Partnership Grants. They include:
  • Professor Michael Power (Biology): Functional, structural and biodiversity studies of Arctic freshwater watersheds: validating protocols for monitoring and cumulative impacts assessment;
  • Professor Trevor Charles (Biology): Biodegradation of the most commonly used herbicide on earth;
  • Professor Jeffrey Gostick (Chemical Engineering): Grid-scale energy storage using zinc-air fuel cells with nanostructured electrode;
  • Professor Siva Sivoththaman (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Quantum dot-enabled micro LEDs displays for future virtual-reality and flexible devices;
  • Professor Michael Tam (Chemical Engineering): Development of magnetic nanoparticles for enhanced detection and removal of contaminants in waste and drinking water systems,  and a second project grant for sustainable conductive inks for printable electronic applications;
  • Professor Soo Jeon (Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering): MOST - Task-relevant perception and control for human-oriented operation of mobile manipulators in semi-structured environments;
  • Professor Juewen Liu (Chemistry): DNA-gated stimuli-responsive nanostructures for metal sensing and smart remediation.