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Chairs in green chemistry and engineering awarded in Ontario


Toronto, ON – The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has announced the outcome of a competition for three research chairs in environmental science, funded by Ontario’s provincial government.

The Ontario Research Chair in renewable energy technologies and health has been awarded to the University of Waterloo and its candidate, Dr Siva Sivoththaman. Two Ontario Research Chairs in green chemistry and engineering have been awarded to Queen’s University and its candidate, Dr Michael Cunningham, and to Trent University and its candidate, Dr Suresh Narine.

“We reviewed 13 proposals for these competitions and were very impressed by the quality of the work underway at Ontario’s universities,” says David Strangway, chair of the Selection Panel. “It was difficult to make a decision among the excellent proposals, but we believe that these three universities and outstanding researchers will truly enhance Ontario’s capacity in renewable energy technologies and health and green chemistry and engineering.”

Dr Sivoththaman will bring focus to multi-disciplinary activities in renewable energy technologies and health, ensuring that health and safety are top priorities in the induction of new technologies. His research program will develop new technical approaches and will provide guidelines in setting standards to ensure health and safety in the manufacturing, use, and end-of-life phases of renewable energy technologies. He is a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering.

Dr Cunningham’s research interests are in polymer science, with a focus on replacing environmentally harmful processes that employ organic solvents with more environmentally benign water-based processes that do not use solvents. His research will exploit newly discovered materials that can “switch” their properties and the latest chemistry techniques to control polymer product properties, using manufacturing methods that minimize environmental impact. He is a member of the Chemical Engineering Department at Queen’s.

Dr Narine studies the use of natural oils to develop new high-value, high-performance and toxic free/neutral chemicals, materials and polymers. He is a member of both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Trent University, the Director of Trent’s Biomaterials Research Program, and a researcher in the university’s Centre of Knowledge in the Environment.

Funding for the program is being provided by the Ministry of the Environment and includes $1.25 million in total funding over a five-year term for each of the chairs in green chemistry and engineering, and $1.5 million in total funding over a five-year term for the chair in renewable energy technologies and health.