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$30M scientific partnership to focus on water science, infrastructure


Vancouver, BC – Scientists from the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Toronto and 11 institutions in India are joining forces to tackle urgent issues in both countries with a $30-million partnership.

Supported by the Canadian government and state and industry partners in India, the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability, or IC-IMPACTS, will focus on water safety, disease prevention and treatment, and the development of safe and sustainable civil infrastructure. It will also support new technology spinoffs and the training of more than 700 students and researchers.

Through the development, deployment and commercialization of new technologies, and the training and exchange of students and researchers, IC-IMPACTS is expected to generate economic benefits for both nations while building research capacity and solving issues of importance to both countries.

The partnership was formally launched last week in New Delhi by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was joined by UBC President Stephen Toope, U of T President David Naylor and U of A Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk.

Hosted at UBC with the full partnership of U of T and U of A, IC-IMPACTS’s research programs will be led by three world-renowned Canadian scientists. Partner communities in India and Canada are being identified as collaborators and early adopters of new technologies. The three interconnected research programs are:

  • The Sustainable and Safe Infrastructure research program, led by IC-IMPACTS Scientific Director and UBC Civil Engineering Prof. Nemy Banthia, will develop new tools to assess the condition of aging concrete structures and develop low-cost, cement-based building materials reinforced with fibre from agricultural waste.
  • The Integrated Water Management research program, led by U of A Mechanical Engineering Prof. Sushanta Mitra, will develop, test and implement new technologies to monitor water quality and treat potable and waste water.
  • The Public Health Disease Prevention and Treatment research program, led by U of T Pharmacy Prof. Lakshmi Kotra, will monitor drug resistance to malaria and fungal infections, and develop new treatments to control the spread of resistance in infectious diseases.

The $30-million IC-IMPACTS is supported by a $13.8-million grant from the Canadian government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program. The Canadian universities will invest $3.75 million, the Indian institutions will invest nearly $4 million and the Indian State of Gujarat is contributing $3 million towards the partnership. The remainder consists of cash and in-kind contributions come from Public Health Ontario, the Public Health Foundation of India, and other non-profit and industry partners.