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Innovative automotive research saluted in competition


Windsor, ON July 31, 2003 The AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence has recognized four university teams for outstanding automotive research presentations. As part of its annual conference, AUTO21 awarded the highest honours and prizes to teams from the Universit de Sherbrooke, the University of Waterloo and the University of Windsor.

AUTO21 is a federal Network of Centres of Excellence that focuses on automotive research and the development of highly qualified people for future work in the automotive sector.

“The competition was open to the 220 professors and 250 student researchers from universities across Canada who participate in AUTO21’s 28 research projects,” says Dr Peter Frise, AUTO21 program leader. “Each of the competing teams prepared excellent representations of their research, however the four winning teams exemplified the degree of excellence that is critical to enhancing Canada’s reputation as a leading source for automotive research and development.”

AUTO21 awarded the prize for the best overall research presentation to a research team lead by the Universit de Sherbrooke. The team provided a comprehensive overview of their research on active noise control in vehicles. By using a novel approach to reducing radiator fan noise, the researchers have achieved a noise decrease of 10 decibels. Dr Patrice Masson and Dr Alain Berry of the electrical engineering department at the university lead the team. Together, they coordinate the work of 11 researchers at three other universities across Canada. The research team received $4,500 to assist with the on-going research.

Three prizes were also awarded to student research teams from the University of Waterloo and the University of Windsor. “The student researchers did an excellent job providing overviews and oral defences of their work,” says Dr Jan Miller Polgar, a professor at the University of Western Ontario and member of the AUTO21 board of directors. “The evaluation committee was impressed with the knowledge and poise of the young researchers.”

A team from the University of Waterloo was awarded first-place in the competition. Focusing on new methods of hydroforming high-strength steel, the four-person team received $3,500 to assist with their project. Dr Michael Worswick of the University of Waterloo leads the project.

Second place was awarded to a team from the University of Windsor. The three students participate in a comprehensive study of industrial health and safety in the auto industry, and focus primarily on how repetitive motion contributes to the common lost-time injuries suffered by autoworkers. The team received a $2,500 award. Dr David Andrews supervises the graduate work of the students.

The third-place prize was awarded to a team from the University of Waterloo also contributing to the study of industrial health and safety in the auto industry. The six students received an award of $1,500 to assist with the study.

In 2001, the federal government awarded the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence an initial four-year grant of $23 million in 2001 to help it enhance Canada’s position as a world leader in automotive research and development.

Researchers at 32 Canadian universities are currently working on innovative auto-related projects in the areas of health, safety and injury prevention; societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains, fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors. In addition to the federal grant, AUTO21 is supported by industry, government and institutional contributions of $11 million.