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Governments fund $500,000 for academic research in Saskatchewan


Regina, SK March 27, 2003 Funding of more than $500,000 from the Government of Saskatchewan will help the University of Saskatchewan with eight research projects in areas such as soil sciences, biology, geography, engineering, agriculture and plant sciences.

“These projects all seek to create solutions that will contribute to strengthening Saskatchewan’s economy either through new expertise, increased employment, or more competitive products and practices,” says Industry and Resources Minister, Eric Cline. “Maximizing the innovative capacity of our province keeps us at the forefront of the knowledge-based marketplace.”

Provincial support comes from the Innovation and Science Fund and matches funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) under the New Opportunities Fund, a program to assist new faculty members in their first, full-time academic positions. Project funding includes:

– $64,000 to establish methods for predicting the movement of agricultural and industrial pollutants and their impact on soil, air, groundwater, and surface water quality. Research led by Bing Cheng Si, department of soil sciences;

– $64,000 to examine the adaptive behaviours of pest insects, thereby contributing to the development of biocontrol alternatives to pesticides. Research led by John Gray, department of biology;

– $40,000 to monitor subarctic watersheds for an improved ability to respond to environmental change in Northern ecosystems. Research led by Sean Carey, department of geography;

– $57,000 for fire science laboratory equipment to improve knowledge of materials subjected to high temperatures, and to also address a current shortage of fire science experts. Research led by David Torvi, department of mechanical engineering;

– $79,000 for equipment to research moisture properties of buildings and building materials, a leading cause of building failure and poor indoor air quality. Research led by Carey Simonson, department of mechanical engineering;

– $65,000 for field and lab equipment that will help lead to a method for calculating carbon credits and predicting carbon sequestration, a vital component of dealing with climate change issues. Research led by Xulin Guo, department of geography;

– $70,000 for equipment to study grassland plants and forage species with the aim of enhancing their sustainability given their important role in beef cattle production. Research led by Yuguang Bai, department of plant sciences; and

– $107,000 to enhance the natural ability of pulse crops (lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas) to fix their own nitrogen, thereby reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizer, which is escalating in price. Research led by Rosalind Ball, department of plant sciences.

“[This funding] will provide eight of our talented new faculty members with the tools they need to help solve challenges as diverse as environmental pollution, climate change, indoor energy consumption, fire protection and pest management,” says Bryan Harvey U of S acting vice-president of research.

The Innovation Science Fund provides support to Saskatchewan universities, colleges, and research institutes on projects receiving approval and funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.