University of Regina Scientists Awarded $2.35 Million in Research Grant Funding

News Release Release Date: June 5, 2013 9:10 a.m.

University of Regina researchers have been awarded more than $2.35 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

“The significant level of support that our researchers have received this year from NSERC speaks to the high calibre of scientific research taking place at the University of Regina,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University. “We are proud of our NSERC funding recipients and the research they conduct – research that will help improve the quality of life for people in Saskatchewan and beyond.”

Most of the funding is in the form of five-year Discovery Grants, which support ongoing programs of research with long-term goals and recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances.

Among the researchers awarded NSERC grants is David Sauchyn, professor of geography and researcher with the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, whose project examining changes in water and climate in western North America received $165,000. His project looks closely at the impacts of climate change on levels of water on the prairies between seasons, years and watersheds.

“By studying western Canada’s hydroclimate over the past millennium (using tree rings) and into the near future (using models), we can better understand the recent trends in water supply, as well as the risks that climate change and variability pose to natural and human water systems,” says Sauchyn.

Sauchyn explains that his research helps scientists to identify how much of the variability in water climate—floods, droughts and storms—is caused by human activities, “especially in regions like ours, where there are such great changes in precipitation from year to year.”

Climate change is a topic that is top-of-mind for another University of Regina researcher. Bjoern Wissel, adjunct professor of biology and associate director of the Institute of Environmental Change and Society, received $110,000 in support of his research into how climate change and land-use patterns in the northern Great Plains affect lakes and their food webs.

“My expectation is that drought, flooding and temperature increases during the summer months will  heavily stress lake ecosystems, while milder winters should reduce the risk of winterkill,” says Wissel. His research could have implications for wildlife and land-use management and policy in the prairies.

The research undertaken at the University affects policy creation and has an impact on the lives of people living and working in Saskatchewan and beyond. Wissel explains that research is important because it provides us with a better understanding of our world and builds “educated decision-making tools.” Sauchyn adds that research is critical to his work as a teacher because it allows him “to create new knowledge and share it with students and the public.”

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. It promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

For more information on NSERC and the exciting work of other University of Regina grant recipients, visit


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