U of R science and engineering research receives more than $4.4 million

By Krista Baliko Posted: May 31, 2019 12:50 p.m.

NSERC award recipients with The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic); and Enikö Megyeri-Lawless, Director, Engineering and Life Sciences Division, NSERC
NSERC award recipients with The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic); and Enikö Megyeri-Lawless, Director, Engineering and Life Sciences Division, NSERC Photos: U of R Photography

University of Regina researchers are dedicated to improving the lives of people in Saskatchewan, Canada, and beyond. Their work is often bold and courageous. Today, the federal government highlighted $4,404,750 it provided to 32 of the University’s science and engineering researchers to support 33 research projects through the Canadian Government’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). 

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, was at the University to announce this substantial funding to a large crowd that included many of the NSERC award recipients. 

“Research and innovation drive progress in our society. Today, I am proud to announce a significant investment in the University of Regina’s researchers to make discoveries that have the potential to solve today’s challenges, from resource extraction to water filtration. Our government is pleased to support this world-class research coming out of the University of Regina,” said Goodale.

Dr. Vianne Timmons, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, said the NSERC awards acknowledge and support research projects that lead to compelling discoveries.

“NSERC awards celebrate the curiosity, commitment, and passion of our research community, but perhaps more importantly, they facilitate significant research that otherwise might not be able to take place. From working to combat antibiotic resistance and improving waste management, to better understanding environmental stressors in wildlife and conducting geological investigations in Madagascar, our researchers are making a difference here in Canada and around the world.  The support the federal government provides to them is crucial to that work.” 

Timmons added that while the research dollars that scholars receive are important, “it is the impact of their work on the lives of people and the health and sustainability of our planet that points to the true excellence of our endeavours.” 

The funding supports science and engineering researchers in many different areas, including engineering,

researchers
(l to r) Dr. Timmons; Nicole Lerminiaux, PhD candidate, Faculty of Science; Dr. Britt Hall, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science; Enikö Megyeri-Lawless; Minister Goodale; Dr. Chase

natural sciences, psychology, geology, mathematics, and computer science. The award recipients include both faculty and students.

One of the funded researchers who spoke at the event is biologist Dr. Britt Hall, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science. Her NSERC Discovery Grant will help support her research that looks at contaminants in the environment resulting from human impacts. She examines the environmental factors regulating mercury cycling in Prairie wetlands. 

“I am so pleased to receive federal funding supporting my scholarship on understanding the impact of climate change on neurotoxic mercury in our valuable Prairie wetlands. This NSERC Discovery Grant will also provide resources that will allow me to train our next generation of scientists, increasing our capacity for research that contributes to protecting these critical wildlife habitats," said Hall.

Doctoral student Nicole Lerminiaux, recipient of the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Scholarship, is conducting research centred on understanding and fighting antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organization calls one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.  

“NSERC support allows me to fully concentrate on my studies. As a result of being able to focus solely on my research, I’ve been able to contribute to multiple projects in bioinformatics, DNA sequencing, environmental sampling, and microscopy, as well as conduct research abroad,” says Lerminiaux. 

The Discovery Grants Program is delivering $4,036,400 of this funding, part of the unprecedented investment of more than $588 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada that Minister Duncan announced on May 21. This investment will go to more than 4,850 researchers and students across the country as they pursue their world-leading discovery work. It also includes support for nearly 500 early-career researchers who will bring a diversity of new voices and new insights to their fields.

The remaining funding is being awarded through Collaborative Research and Development Grants, Engage Grants, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, and Canada Graduate Scholarships–Master’s awards. These investments are part of Canada’s Science Vision and the Government of Canada’s commitment of more than $10 billion to science, which includes the largest ever increase in funding for fundamental research. 

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