Lab Canada

Funds earmarked for researching collaboration technologies at universities

Toronto, ON – A $4.5 million contribution has been made by the federal government to the network for effective collaboration technologies through advanced research (NECTAR). In addition, partners from the public and private sectors will contribute nearly $1.2 million to the project.

The network is a new Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC) research network that will develop technologies to make virtual collaboration at a distance as productive and efficient as working face to face. Its work will be carried out by 11 researchers at six institutions: the universities of Toronto, British Columbia, Calgary, and Saskatchewan, as well as Dalhousie and Queen’s. The public and private sector partners will also contribute expertise and resources to ensure that the results are disseminated widely. The network plans to provide training to graduate and undergraduate students as well as to two postdoctoral fellows each year.

Dr Ronald Baecker, the network’s scientific director, is a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto and the founder and chief scientist of the Knowledge Media Design Institute. He also is an active researcher, lecturer, and consultant. “Our work should be of particular interest to the many research networks of scientists being funded by Industry Canada, NSERC, SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) and CIHR (Canadian Institutes for Health Research),” he says.

Dr Saul Greenberg of the University of Calgary and Dr Carl Gutwin of the University of Saskatchewan will act as team leaders for the network along with Dr Baecker. Dr Kellogg Booth of the University of British Columbia will take on the position of associate director for NECTAR.